Top Power BI Interview Questions You Must Prepare In 2023
Power BI was launched in 2013. Microsoft rolled out a new, independent tool that combined several Excel add-ons into one. Since its inception, Power BI has played a leading role in Microsoft’s growth in the Business Intelligence and Data Visualisation space.

Power BI Interview Questions and Answers [Most Frequently Asked]

Here are the most frequently asked Power BI interview questions you should be prepared for before reaching the venue. These Power BI Interview Questions and their answers are prepared by industry experts who have more than 8–15 years of experience in Power BI.
Let's Start !!!

Q1. What’s Power BI?

It’s a business analytics tool that Microsoft developed to help professionals to turn individual sources of data into interactive insights that add value. This could be a cloud-based or on-premises hybrid data warehouse. It could also be represented as an insightful Excel sheet. These insights can easily be exported and shared with anyone else. 

Q2. What are the benefits of Power BI?

  • Building interactive data visualization capabilities within data centres
  • Enabling the transformation of data into visuals with easy shareability
  • Establishing connections for Excel queries for quicker analysis
  • Providing fast, accurate solutions
  • Enabling users to execute report queries with simple English

Q3. What are some limitations of Power BI?

  • Files larger than 1GB are not accepted, and imported data accessed from real-time connections doesn’t mix.
  • The sources enabling real-time connections with reports and Power BI dashboards are few.
  • Only users who are logged in with their synchronised email addresses can access the reports and dashboards.
  • The Power BI dashboards don’t accept user, account, or any other parameters

Q4. List some differences between Power BI Desktop and Power Pivot for Excel with regard to data modelling.

There is one primary difference between Power Pivot for Excel and Power BI Desktop. Power Pivot supports single-directional relationships, one import mode, and calculated columns. On the other hand, Power BI Desktop supports bi-directional filtering relationships, calculated tables, multiple import options and security.

Q5. What are the different connectivity modes of Power BI?

  1. SQL Server Import: This is the most common connectivity mode as well as the default type that Power BI uses. You can use Power BI Desktop’s maximum capabilities in this mode.
  2. Direct Query: This type only becomes available when connected to specific data sources. Only the metadata gets stored in Power BI, not the actual data.
  3. Live Connection: This type of connectivity doesn’t store data within the Power BI model. Any interaction with reports that uses a Live Connection directly queries the Analysis Services model in use at the time. 

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Q6. What are Power BI’s refresh options?

There are four refresh options.
  • Package refresh: The syncs your Power BI/ Excel file with the Power BI service and either SharePoint Online or OneDrive.
  • Model refresh or data refresh: The dataset in the service is refreshed with data from the source.
  • Tile refresh: The cache for your tile visuals are updated at 15-minute intervals once the data changes.
  • Visual container refresh: Once your data changes, this refresh option updates the cached report visuals as well as the visual container.

Q7. To which data sources can Power BI connect?

The data sources that Power BI can connect with can be clubbed into three main categories.
These are - 
  • Files: .xlsm and .xlsx files (Excel), .pbix files (Power BI), and .csv files (Comma Separated Values) are sources from where you can import data.
  • Content packs: This is a collection of related files and documents stored together. There are two main content pack types:
  1. Packs from Google Analytics, Marketo, and other service providers
  2. Packs that users from your network create and share
  • Connectors: A connector helps you to connect your datasets and databases with cloud-based services, apps, and data.

Q8. What is a Power BI dashboard?

A single presentation sheet with several visualisations reports forms a dashboard in Power BI.
Its main features are:
  • It enables you to go through pages, bookmarks and selection panes, URL integration, and the creation of new tiles.
  • It allows you to get a mobile view of your report layout.

Q9. How does Power BI define relationships?

There are two ways to define table relationships.
  • Manual: These relationships are defined via primary or foreign keys.
  • Automatic: Once enabled, this feature identifies relationships between tables and data and automatically creates them.

Q10. Can a Power Pivot data model have more than one relationship between tables?

There can only be one active relationship between tables in Power Pivot, while several inactive relationships can continue to exist. Straight lines represent relationships that are active, while inactive relationships are shown via dotted lines.

Q11. Can a table exist without any relationship with the others in the model?

Having a disconnected table is possible. Two reasons make this possible.
  • It is a placeholder for metrics within the interface of Power BI.
  • It is being used for presenting parameter values to the user that need to be selected and exposed in slicers.

Q12. In DAX, what is CALCULATE as a function?

CALCULATE is a function that gives you the total sum of the Sales table in the Sales Amount column. It is the only function that lets you modify the filter context of tables or measures.

Q13. In Power BI, where does data get stored?

Fact tables and dimension tables are used to store data in Power BI.
  • Fact tables are the central tables within a data warehouse’s star schema. A fact table stores quantitative data for analysis.
  • Dimension tables are among the many tables within a data warehouse’s star schema. Attributes and dimensions describing objects within a fact table are stored in dimension tables.

Q14. Which views does Power BI Desktop offer?

On Power BI, you get three different views. Each view has a unique purpose to fulfill:
  • Report view: The report view allows you to add additional pages to the report along with new visualisations. You can also publish this report on the report portal.
  • Data view: This view allows users to perform data shaping with the help of Query Editor tools.
  • Relationship view: This view allows users to manage datasets and the relationships between them.

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Q15. What are the different Power BI formats available?

There are three versions of Power BI, and all of them can be used together.
  • Power BI Desktop - this is specifically for desktop systems 
  • Power BI Service - this is an online SaaS (Software as a Service) offering
  • Mobile Power BI apps - these are designed for Android and iOS devices
You can use your desktop to create a report, then share it on the portal online, so that users on mobile devices and other desktops can access and see it.

Q16. What are the fundamental features of Power BI?

  • Visualisations: This refers to visual representations of data. This could be in the form of charts, graphs, pie charts, etc.
  • Datasets: This is a group of data that is analysed to create a visualisation. Sales figures are one example of datasets. These can be sourced and filtered across various sources with built-in connectors.
  • Reports: A report refers to several visualisations grouped on one or several pages to provide a holistic picture and valuable insights.
  • Dashboard: Dashboards help you to share a single-page visualisation with other users in your network. It also allows users to interact with your report by acting as an interface.
  • Tiles: The visualisation of your data on your report or the dashboard is known as a tile. A creator can move the tile around and make changes to it. 

Q17. What are the fundamental components of Power BI and their functions?

  • Power Query: Discovery, access and consolidation of data from various sources
  • Power Pivot: A tool for data modelling
  • Power View: A tool to create charts and other visualisations for presentations
  • Power Map: Creation of geospatial data representations
  • Power Q&A: Usage of simple English words to find answers.

Q18. Define a content pack and state its primary purpose.

A content pack can be defined as a predefined, ready-made collection of reports and visualisations that use your preferred service, Salesforce, for example. Users require content packs when they want to get a head start rather than creating a report from the ground up.

Q19. What are the fundamental DAX concepts?

There are three main concepts of DAX.
  • Syntax: This refers to the format in which the formula should be written to function and includes all the required elements, such as SUM and other functions. If your syntax is incorrect, you will get a message showing you an error.
  • Functions: This refers to formulas that use ‘arguments’ or specific values in a predefined order so that calculations can be carried out. It is similar to the Excel functions. There are several function categories like time intelligence, date, time, mathematical, logical, information, statistical, etc.
  • Context: Context can be of two types - filter context and row context. Row context is used when a formula includes a function that is trying to identify a specific row in your table. While trying to determine a value or result using more than one filter into a calculation, filter context is at the fore.

Q20. Why should businesses use Power BI?

Power BI has a simple installation and setup process for connecting, transforming and visualising raw data from various sources. It ensures that even users without a technical background can understand the information and extract insights from it. Power BI also offers secure cloud services that allow users to view dashboards and reports and share them across other platforms with stakeholders in real time. 

Power BI also offers AI-driven features such as Power Q&A and Power Query. Power Q&A enables businesses to analyse their data using voice commands, while Query creates dashboards by typing the required visuals and columns into the platform. For small and medium businesses, Power BI Desktop is a powerful tool for data visualisation without costing too much time or money for maintenance or analysis.

Q21. What is the difference between Managed Enterprise BI and Self-service BI?

Managed enterprise BI was inherently limited in many ways. This is what led to the rise of self-service BI. Therefore, managed enterprise BI and self-service BI differ significantly in many ways. 

Managed Enterprise BI Self-service BI
Data flows in from multiple sources, resulting in a disorganised structure of data ingestion and data source management. Self-service BI allows you to ingest raw data from multiple sources seamlessly. Therefore, you can accept data from multiple diverse sources in multiple formats.
You cannot conduct business operations efficiently using managed enterprise BI as the scope for data reporting, analysis and collaboration is limited. Due to organised data ingestion, organisations can process data and carry out business operations smoothly using self-service BI.
Data and time are constrained when you try to analyse data. Data analysis is easier and implicitly executed. Therefore, all time constraints stand minimised.
Third-party partners or vendors help you optimise your data sources and get the most from them. This results in additional costs and reduced productivity. You no longer need to use a third-party vendor, eliminating all constraints of managed enterprise BI.
Businesses require complex programming skills to generate reports. Users can generate actionable dashboards instantly without the need for complex coding.

Q22. What is self-service BI?

Self-service business intelligence of SSBI is a unique approach to data analysis, visualisation and reporting that allows businesses to create intuitive, actionable and easy-to-understand dashboards instantly. 

One of the most prominent features of SSBI is that it doesn't require technical expertise from users for proper data reporting. It allows users to implement data manipulation techniques and filtering options to influence data according to unique business requirements and create business reports. 

Q23. What are the most important Power BI features?

Some of the most important features of Microsoft Power BI are as follows:

  • Power BI allows simple data transformation from raw data to visuals and facilitates easy sharing with coworkers and stakeholders. 
  • It helps users with analysing and exploring data from multiple sources in an omnichannel platform.
  • It helps you scale across organisations with in-built features for security and governance. 
  • Once any form of output gets generated, the user can display it across any device compatible with Power BI.
  • Microsoft Power BI has NLP (natural language processing) and Power Q&A features that allow you to perform queries using easy English in reports.

Q24. Is Microsoft Power BI free for users?

Businesses can use multiple Power BI features for free. However, there are several additional benefits of Power BI that users can avail of through a Power BI Pro subscription. You can purchase this subscription through a Microsoft store. With a Power BI subscription, you can access an enhanced version of multiple free features. Most leading businesses opt for a paid account since it provides greater data processing and transformation feature access. 

Q25. What is Power BI Desktop?

Power BI Desktop is a desktop-based Windows application that can be used on personal computers. It primarily designs, generates and publishes reports to the cloud and functions as an on-premise Power BI system. Power BI Desktop is designed to run on personal computers and provide all of the functions of Power BI even when a system might not have an internet connection. As a user, you need to connect the system to the internet only before you wish to publish a report to the cloud or if you are trying to share it with other stakeholders. 

Q26. What are the major components that make up Power BI?

Power BI has five key components. These are:

  • Power Pivot: It accesses and cleans existing data and helps load to Power Query.
  • Power Query: It operates using the newly loaded data.
  • Power Q&A: It helps users to engage with reports in simple English without complex code.
  • Power View: It allows users to create data visualisations using interactive graphs, maps and charts.
  • Power Map: It allows users to process accurate geographic locations given in their datasets.

Q27. How do you filter data in Power BI?

In Power BI, you can filter data using a wide range of filters. These filters can be categorised into three large groups. 

  • Drillthrough Filters: Drillthrough filters in your Power BI Desktop can help you create pages in reports that focus specifically on entities like customers, manufacturers and suppliers. 
  • Page-level Filters: These filters help in filtering charts and graphs present on an individual page.
  • Report-level filters: These filters help in filtering charts and visualisations present on every page in a given report.

Q28. How is Power BI different from the rest of the business intelligence tools in the market?

Power BI by Microsoft offers better tools for data manipulation and more advanced features than other business intelligence solutions in the market such as Tableau. Users can connect with several data sources without needing any technical experience such as data analytics or coding. As a leading Microsoft product, Power BI can integrate with Office 365, Bing and other Microsoft solutions and tools. 

Q29. What are the differences between MSBI and Power BI?

The SSRS approach in MSBI integrates all programming interfaces and processing components for testing and sharing reports across devices. Power BI combines a wide range of BI techniques, tools and functions which allow users to build dashboards and actionable reports through the transformation of raw data into interactive maps, graphs and charts.
MSBI doesn’t allow users to access cloud data. Power BI can access data stored in both cloud and on-premise servers.
MSBI is designed to deal with large datasets without stressing the computer system. Power BI handles datasets with up to 33,000 rows or takes up to 10MB of data storage. Users must run direct queries should the data cross these limits.
The SSRS approach only helps in creating reports and visualisations. Power BI helps create data reports, models and dashboards that help in accessing and sharing through web browsers and Power BI apps.

Q30. Differentiate between Microsoft Power BI and Tableau.

Some of the most striking differences between Power BI and Tableau are as follows:

Power BI Tableau
It can handle a limited volume of datasets in one go. It can handle large datasets without compromising on system or data performance.
Both technical and non-technical users can use Microsoft Power BI. Only experienced professionals with a specific skill set can use Tableau for data analytics.
Its interface is easy to use and learn, allowing users to easily visualise data and compose reports. It has a relatively complex interface that non-technical users will struggle to learn and use.
It offers a simple way for users to embed reports into various platforms. Embedding reports in real-time is one of the largest challenges in Tableau.
It uses DAX or Data Analysis Expression to create formulas and expressions to measure each column. It uses MDX or Multidimensional Expressions for complex calculations and to measure dimensions and columns.


Q31. What are the leading applications of Power BI?

The following departments and professionals benefit most from Power BI:

  • Project Management Office: Power BI is essential for project managers working on identifying several business units. It allows them to view the team’s performance overall and helps in tracking the progress of several projects.
  • Business and Data Analysis: A business analyst uses Power BI for analysing raw business data more efficiently and in less time. They can prepare data by cleaning it and transforming it according to unique requirements and also prepare live reports that express raw data as visual actionable insights. 
  • Database Administrators: Database administrators use Microsoft 265 or PowerShell to increase the capacity of the embedded Power BI while assigning roles and tasks to each team member. Power BI helps database administrators to set user-specific passwords and decide who should access Power BI dashboards and reports. 
  • IT Professionals: An IT professional generally uses Power BI and creates captivating data visualisations and dashboards that help track performance and with visualising multiple log files for their meetings. Power BI also allows them to identify areas of improvement for various team members and facilitates growth and betterment.
  • Consumer reports: Power BI helps businesses to create customised reports and add them to multiple applications that focus on the customer’s perspective. 

These questions are not all the questions you can expect, nor will all these questions come in your interview. However, they should give you a strong idea of the topics to prepare and how to frame your answers. To get a more holistic picture of what to expect from your interview, enrol in a training course with Koenig for Power BI. You will prepare and train using curated materials and expert guidance from industry experts. This will give you an edge over your competitors and increases your chances of securing a job.

If you are prepared with answers to these 31 questions, your interview will get much easier to clear. To know more about Power BI, enroll in a power bi training today.
Armin Vans
Avni Singh has a PhD in Machine Learning and is an Artificial Intelligence developer, researcher, practitioner, and educator as well as an Open Source Software developer, with over 7 years in the industry.



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