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Power BI: How to Add A Slicer - Simplified Guide

Power BI: How to Add A Slicer - Simplified Guide


When working on Power BI, Slicers are one of the most valuable tools at your disposal. They are a type of interactive filter that is actively seen on the report, enabling the user to quickly choose which values they want to filter the data by. Knowing what is a slicer in Power BI and why they are used is a great starting point. In this quick guide, though, we’ll focus on how to add a slicer in Power BI so that your business and individual users can get more out of its reports.

Adding a Slicer in Power BI

Slicers can be used in a variety of ways, but the first thing you must do is know how to insert a slicer in Power BI. if you are a part of the growing Power BI community, which now includes over 5 million subscribers, here’s how you can insert a new slicer in four easy steps;

  • Open the appropriate Power BI report,
  • Choose the chart or table you want to add the slicer to,
  • Under the ‘Visualizations’ window, click ‘Slicer’,
  • Drag the desired field from the ‘Fields’ window to the ‘Slicer’ window and into ‘Values’,

Now you know how to create slicers in Power BI, you should know that you can customize and format them to match the overall appearance of the report.

Types of Slicers in Power BI

While slicers can be used in a variety of ways, they are primarily categorized as one of two solutions;

  • Standard slicers - the default slicer, which is used to filter data using text or numeric fields.
  • Timeline slicers - a second type of slicer in Power BI that filters data using date and time fields.

Standard slicers are often used for creating dynamic visuals but only filter data by one column, which prevents them from completing complex filtering where multiple criteria are selected. Timeline slicers are limited to time-based filtering but will allow users to filter data by selecting multiple criteria while different time frames can be compared too.

Changing Slicer Type in Power BI

When you insert a slicer in Power BI, the default solution is a standard slicer. However, changing the slicer type in Power BI is pretty easy, meaning you can have a timeline slicer in seconds.

To do this, simply select the slicer and then navigate to the ‘Format’ window. Then, select ‘Visual’, ‘Slicer Settings’, ‘Options’ and change the ‘Style’ to ‘Relative Time’. From here you will be able to;

  • Set the filter time period as ‘Last’, ‘Next’ or ‘This’,
  • Set the time window to either ‘Minutes’ or ‘Hours’.

Formatting a Slicer in Power BI

Learning how to format a slicer in Power BI may not necessarily change the capabilities of this tool, but it has a huge impact on the look of your report canvas.

Formatting a slicer in Power BI is fairly straightforward. You can navigate to the ‘Visualizations’ window and subsequently change a range of aesthetic attributes, such as;

  • Background color,
  • Border color,
  • Font size,
  • Selection display,
  • Slicer orientation,
  • Slicer shape,
  • Style.

The slicer can also be formatted by changing its size on the canvas. When you subsequently add slicers to additional pages, they will be formatted in the same way as the original. However, it is possible to format these individually as required.

Using Slicers in Power BI

Knowing how to add slicers in Power BI is one thing but knowing when and how to use slicers in Power BI reports to their full effect is another. When considering adding a slicer to a Power BI report, you will probably consider filters too.

Filters can be applied as visual level filters on a specific chart, page filters, or filters for all pages. Filters are great when you want to hide the data value selections that you’ve filtered from the end user. However, when opting for a user-centric approach that gives them the power to select what values are filtered, slicers are the best solution.

When used correctly, slicers add value to the report because the important filters can be accessed easier while also avoiding the need to open a drop-down list.

Connecting a Slicer to a Visual in Power BI

Once you have confirmed how to add slicer to Power BI reports, you need to know that it will connect to the intended visual. This will most likely be a graph or chart that appears on your canvas.

If you have set up the slicer as per above, it should naturally connect to the chart or graph that you desire. If a problem occurs, though, the ‘Edit Interactions’ in the ‘Format’ window. As well as confirming that the connection to the visual is in place, you can remove connections to other visuals by selecting ‘None’ next to those icons.

Another possible issue you could encounter is that the visual is already filtered by another slicer or filter. You can check (and rectify) this by navigating to the ‘Filters’ window.

Applying a Slicer to All Pages in Power BI

When considering how to add slicer in Power BI, you don’t only need to think about how it connects to a specific visual. You want to create a better user experience that is underpinned by consistency. With this in mind, applying a slicer to all pages in Power BI is a key feature.

To do this, you must first create a master page and add all the filters that you wish to apply the slicer to. Then, on the target page, you will need to;

  • Select the filter that needs to be synced,
  • Navigate to ‘Visualizations’, then ‘Slicer’.
  • Add the slicer visuals to the target page.
  • Head to ‘Format’, ‘General’, ‘Sync Slicers’.

You can repeat the above steps on all other pages. Following this, changes made to a filter on one page will be reflected on all of them.

Creating a Responsive Slicer in Power BI

Another big question you need to ask is “What is a responsive slicer in Power BI?”. ultimately, it is one that allows the user to resize them to different sizes and shapes in a way that forces the slicer to automatically rearrange itself to provide optimal visualization.

It can be very useful when using Power BI mobile too. To create a responsive slider, you must first head to the ‘Visualizations’ window and select the ‘Format’ tab. Then, you’ll hit ‘Slicer Settings’ and change the ‘Style’ to ‘Tile’.

After this, you can head back to the ‘Format’ tab and look under ‘Properties’ where you will see an ‘Advanced Options’ box. Simply check ‘Responsive’ to ‘On’ and you’ll be ready to go. Now, the slicer will look and perform as expected in all cases.

Optimizing Slicers to Filter and Schedule Reports

Slicers are a powerful feature in Power BI that allow you to filter and interact with your data in various ways. You can use slicers to create dynamic reports that show only the information you need. However, slicers can also affect the performance and refresh time of your reports, especially if you have many of them or if they are connected to large datasets. Therefore, it is important to optimize your slicers and use them wisely when scheduling your Power BI reports in PBRS.

One way to optimize your slicers is to use the Sync slicers option, which lets you apply the same filter to multiple pages in your report. This way, you can avoid creating duplicate slicers for each page, which can reduce the size and complexity of your report. To use the Sync slicers option, go to the View tab and select Sync slicers. Then, select the slicers you want to sync and choose which pages they should apply to.

Another way to optimize your slicers is to use the Selection controls option, which lets you customize how users can interact with your slicers. For example, you can enable or disable the Select all option, which allows users to select or clear all the values in a slicer. You can also enable or disable the Single select option, which allows users to select only one value at a time in a slicer. To use the Selection controls option, select a slicer and go to the Format tab. Then, expand the Selection controls section and toggle the options you want.

By using these options, you can improve the performance and usability of your slicers when scheduling your Power BI reports in PBRS. 


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