Bookmarks are a feature within Power BI that allows users to capture a specific state of a report page. This ability is extremely useful in enhancing the user experience of navigating a report or opening opportunities to add more depth to a report.
Some of the ways one can utilize bookmarks are:
- Navigation menus
- Filter resets
- Swapping visuals and context
- Page overlays
Even though there are a plethora of ways in which bookmarks can be used, the basic principles remain the same. This guide will cover these basic concepts of bookmarks as well as the components relevant to building them.
- Creating a Bookmark
- Modifying a Bookmark
- The Selection Pane
- Navigation of Bookmarks
Creating a Bookmark
Setting up a bookmark is extremely simple. Like the other panes in Power BI, this can be found under the view category within the top ribbon (1). From here, selecting the bookmarks option (2) will bring up the pane to the right of the Report page (3). As described earlier, a bookmark will save the current state of the report page. This means that any visuals with a filter context applied will be saved in that state.
Having the report framed exactly the way the user wants it to be displayed is crucial. Multiple bookmarks can be added from any report page, and they will be displayed in the order in which they were added even if they are not currently shown.
Modifying a Bookmark
Once a bookmark is added there are a few options that its behaviour can be modified. By right-clicking the bookmark, we are given a context menu where these options can be found. The first four options are the most basic and frequently used.
Update –Overwrites the saved state of the bookmark created with the state of the currently selected page. This can be important when visuals are changed around or when additions need to be made within the bookmark. This is the most common modification.
Rename – Allows the bookmark to be renamed. Organization is very important when dealing with many bookmarks and naming conventions can help to prevent some of those headaches down the line.
Delete – Deletes the bookmark. This field shouldn’t need to be used very often with the ability to update bookmarks. This option is not permanent when used and can be undone if there was a mistake made in deleting.
Group – Allows bookmarks to be compiled together for an extra level of organization. Works like other grouping features within Power BI bookmarks can be dragged in and out of groups. A simple way to group bookmarks is by the pages that they are linked to.
The middle section of options is less commonly used but changes the actual behavior of the bookmarks. They are applied by default when a Bookmark is created.
Data – Applies the data properties like filters and slicers to the selected bookmark. This means if there is a slicer with a selected date, it will apply that selection every time the bookmark is opened.
Display – Determines whether the bookmark will carry over visual properties. This means if a visual is spotlighted within the bookmark when we create the bookmark, it will be active every time we open the bookmark.
Current Page – By default current page is selected meaning that activating the bookmark will take the user to the page that the bookmark was set on. Without this, there is no page navigation on the bookmark, but it will still make the changes to its page.
The last section of this menu is an option of either All visuals or selected visuals that allows only a selection of one.
All Visuals/Selected Visuals – The difference between these is whether the bookmark considers only the visuals that have been selected when it was created or all visuals on the page. This will change whether the visuals within the bookmark will need to be adjusted on a bookmark basis or a page basis.
The Selection Pane
Bookmarks can be used and created solely through the bookmark pane, but the selection pane provides a great accompaniment for manipulating the page and its contents.
The selection pane provides us with a list of the visuals on the page ordered by their layer on the page. From this list of visuals, we can choose to hide or unhide them. Hiding will keep all the characteristics and positions and just make it unable to be selected or seen on the page. This is important when dealing with bookmarks as in many cases when switching between the bookmarks some visuals will want to be shown in place of others.
Navigation of Bookmarks
The simplest way to interact with bookmarks is through the bookmarks pane. By clicking a bookmark in this section, it will activate said bookmark. In a lot of cases, this may be the primary way they are triggered. As an example, when setting up a sales type report, bookmarks can be saved for different date tracking. One bookmark could be used for YTD while another may cover the entirety of sales. When in the report the developer can easily have these personal bookmarks to follow and track. Overall, this method is less for consumer reports, although they may be used in them, and more for personal or internal reporting.
When building reports for users and read only reports, buttons are necessary for bookmark interaction. Connecting the button to the bookmark is the same as with any other action: it can be found in formatting and after the bookmark type is selected the different bookmarks will show. Once it is connected, there are not many other options for the interaction between either of them. It is very simple in this respect. Clicking the button will activate the bookmark. The same as the case with bookmarks, buttons all come down to how they are implemented within the report.
A simple example of a button and bookmark combo that can be used in most reports is a filter reset. A filter reset can be used on pages with slicers so that users can reset the slicer options back to specified settings.
This can be especially useful when there are multiple slicers that a user may be changing and wanting to switch between. All that needs to be done is to have a bookmark that has the current page with no slicers affecting the visuals. Connecting this button to a bookmark will then just trigger this bookmark reverting any changes to the visuals back to how they were when the bookmark was set.
There are several limitations when it comes to bookmarks that can cause some hesitation when using them. The most prominent one is managing them. Managing bookmarks can quickly become unwieldy.
When more bookmarks are added, each one requires considerations that need to be made, such as the context of it and surrounding visuals. When multiple is on the same page they can also end up having some unintended interactions.
Along with this, adding new visuals and making changes to the present page will also mean that previously created bookmarks will need to be modified and updated. There are not many workarounds for this issue other than making sure that they are organized as best as possible.
Another limitation of bookmarks is their inability to change the characteristics of objects. This means that text, visuals, and buttons cannot be changed based on a bookmark.
The size of text cannot be adjusted between bookmarks, they will stay with the properties they currently have. This is more of an annoyance than anything as there are several workarounds, however, they do require some more to be done.
The main workaround for this is to have additional objects within the separate bookmarks. For example, if there’s a button that would need separate actions based on the context of the bookmark like to open or close a page.
Instead, an additional button can be added over the previous one to give the appearance to the user that the same button is being used. This example can apply to any of these given changes that want to be made to the properties of an object.
Bookmarks can take a report to the next level, improving the user experience and general feel of the report. Hopefully, this guide can help to give a solid foundation for meaningfully implementing bookmarks within a report as all examples of bookmarks can be created with this foundational knowledge.