Dashboard week - Day 4 - A day of Prep and Power BI

by Eve Thomas

Today’s theme was everyone’s favourite – COLD CALLING!

The data we had to work with today was from the FCC who have recorded every complaint about cold calling made across the US since October 2014…

Looking back I do feel as though I spent at least a quarter of my allocated time installing, uninstalling and then re-installing programs which was pretty tedious.

As far as the data prep work goes, today was minimal, however due to needing to uninstall and then reinstall my Tableau Prep it still took a good hour to get it sorted.

I then set about installing Power BI which had to be uninstalled and reinstalled twice before it would open! Once I got started however things did start to move a bit quicker.


  • Cool interactivity and automatic filters (basically it does a lot of the work for you which Tableau doesn’t, but you do sacrifice some control over elements on the dashboard)
  • Easy to pick up and use for someone who has never used it before e.g. the ‘ask me a question’ tool allows the user to find the best chart type to fit their question which is then ready built using the correct fields.
  • You can make donut charts and violin plots automatically via the button on the show me page (come on Tableau!)
  • No containers (really hate containers in Tableau!)


  • The locations of certain tools/buttons isn’t always that intuitive (e.g. when trying to set sequential/diverging colour palettes on the maps it isn’t easy to find the button to set this!)
  • The program was quite slow
  • The maps were a bit clunky looking and it looked quite poor when colouring by measure – I also couldn’t find a way to make the colours opaque.
  • You can’t format the tooltips which was irritating
  • You can’t export an image as far as I can see which is annoying

This is my final dashboard. Over-all it turned out okay – a bit blue – I don’t particularly like the overall finish but it does the job!

Final thoughts…

When comparing PowerBI to Tableau, I did find PowerBI to be a bit limiting. I also felt that I had less control over elements on the dashboard particularly when formatting etc.

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