With the October 2020 release of Power BI Desktop, Microsoft has incorporated a sample dataset directly into the product. While there are a few commonly used training and demo datasets already, there are benefits to having a basic starter Financials dataset included.
This data can accelerate the learning experience for new users, particularly those who may only need to focus on authoring reports on existing datasets at their organization and don’t need to immediately know much about data modeling.
At 700 rows and 16 diverse columns, it’s not a large dataset. For new users or for people looking to build a quick demo to showcase some features, it may fit the right niche when first creating content with Power BI Desktop.
There are a few discrete or categorical attributes:
- Discount Band
There are some date-related fields:
- Month Number
- Month Name
Oddly, the data ranges from 2013-2014. I know it’s a sample dataset, but I’m envisioning product demos where initial impressions of this modern BI tool in 2020 and beyond include sample data that appears stale. Perhaps it could be a good Power Query training exercise to update these dates in lieu of having it centrally updated…
Finally, some numeric fields:
- Units Sold
- Manufacturing Price
- Sale Price
- Gross Sales
The inclusion of the Financial dataset comes alongside a few other noticeable additions for newer users that are difficult to miss.
Instead of an empty white canvas or blank Fields area, Power BI Desktop now includes helpful prompts to get started. These include canvas watermarks, in-visual hints, and more.
Think back on your first experience with Power BI Desktop, or talk to new users. Was Power BI intuitive? Would you know that you should Get Data in the ribbon? These prompts may not be as useful for experienced users but accelerate learning and provide a much better look for the app than a large blank canvas.
Selecting the option to Try a sample dataset and then choosing Load data provides access to the new sample dataset.
The Financial Sample.xlsx file included with Power BI Desktop has a simple financials table. Users can load as-is or choose to transform prior to loading.
What do you think? Are these new features going to be helpful for learning Power BI? Will you plan to use the new sample data?