When working with date-related data, it is crucial to ensure accurate sorting, especially when dealing with months. Incorrect sorting can lead to misleading insights and hinder effective data analysis.
Sorting months properly in Power BI is crucial for accurate data analysis, cohesive visualizations, and enhanced user experience. When months are sorted correctly, it allows for logical and meaningful data interpretation, enabling informed decision-making.
Consistency in month sorting across visuals ensures a cohesive user experience, while accurate sorting facilitates drill-down and navigation functionalities. Additionally, sorting months correctly enhances the interactivity of Power BI dashboards, empowering users to explore data dynamically.
In this post, you learn the step-by-step process that ensures the month values in your Power BI visuals are properly sorted.
Step 1: Extract the Month Names and Numbers from the Date Column in Power Query
Power Query is a data transformation and data preparation engine available in Power BI and Microsoft Excel. It is useful for data cleaning, reshaping and transformation. Data imported into Power BI would normally go through Power Query where it’s cleaned and reshaped for use in Power BI.
The process of sorting months properly begins in Power Query.
For this process to work as intended, you must have a dedicated date query or table like the one in the image above. From the Date column in the date table, you will then extract the month name and month number.
To do this, follow these steps.
- Select the Date column.
- Go to the Add Column menu and click on Date. The Date option will be greyed out if you don’t select a column containing date values.
- Select the Month from the contextual menu.
- Click on Month to extract the month number, and click on Name of Month to extract the month name from Date.
After extracting the month name and number hit close and apply to import the data into Power BI.
Step 2: Sort Month Name column by Month
If you were to use the Month Name column in a visual without carrying out this step, the visual will most likely sort the values in ascending or descending order and the month names will be in disorder.
From the above image, you can see how this can significantly hinder comprehension and create difficulty in getting insight from the data.
To correct this, you will sort the month name column using the values in the month column. Here’s how to do it.
- Go to the Data view page.
- Click on the Month Name column.
- Go to the Column tools tab. Click on Sort by column.
- Click on the Month column from the contextual menu.
You can also sort by the Month column in the Model view page by following these steps.
1. Click on the Month Name column in the Date table.
2. Go to the Properties tab and click on the Advanced dropdown arrow.
3. In the Sort by column option, click on the dropdown arrow and select Month.
With the completion of these steps, the month names in your visuals will be sorted appropriately.
Acquiring the skill of effectively sorting months in Power BI is a foundational competence that can significantly elevate your data analysis and visualization prowess. By prioritizing precise month sorting, you gain the ability to unlock invaluable insights, present data in a coherent and structured manner, and empower both yourself and your audience with trustworthy information.