Power BI Drillthrough Action

Setting Up a Drillthrough Action in your Power BI Report

At some point this weekend, the Microsoft Power BI folks turned on the drill-through feature in the Power BI service. Then the following week, the September release of Power BI Desktop included the new drill-through action feature. This is the same drill-through feature that demonstrated during day 1 of the Microsoft Data Insights Summit, which you can read about here. So I thought it’d be good to quickly walk through how you can set up the drill through action.

First, open a Power BI Desktop file or navigate to a report that you’ve already published to the Power BI service. Then go to the page that you want to use as the target of your drill-through action. Start editing the report page and you’ll notice that on the right side there is a Drillthrough Filters section.

power bi drill through action

This is where you add fields that will be used to invoke the drillthrough action. I’m going to add the Subject field to the drillthrough filters section, like so.

power bi drillthrough filters

Once you add the field to the Drillthrough Filters section, a small back arrow will be added to the report to allow you to easily go back to the report page you used to invoke the drillthrough action.

power bi drillthrough action go back

And that’s pretty much it. Now you can invoke the drillthrough action on any other page in the report. To invoke the drillthrough action, right-click a chart that uses the field you added to the Drillthrough Filters section, select Drillthrough, and then select your report. I selected the Life Skills bar in the bar chart and then selected my Drillthrough action.

Power BI drillthrough action

This automatically takes me to the Subject Dashboard, the target of my drillthrough action, with the correct filter applied, as seen below. My report automatically is filtered to the Life Skills subject!

power bi drillthrough action

I’m very excited about this feature in Power BI and I know many of you are, too. I can’t wait to see all the really cool ways people in the Power BI community will use the new Drillthrough Filters functionality. Leave me a comment down below and let me know what you think!


Download the latest version of Power BI Desktop here.
Read more about the September release of Power BI Desktop. 
Watch the Drill-through feature in action in this video.


8 thoughts on “Setting Up a Drillthrough Action in your Power BI Report”

  1. I have already been using this feature, and it works great! One limitation though: you can only pass through one filter, so this would stop you from creating multiple levels below each other. A workaround: by concatenating the fields that are used as the drillthrough already from the beginning input tables, you can use this concatenated field to pass through ‘multiple’ drillthrough filters.

    Let’s say you have a dataset with countries, cities, streetnames, and the number of people living in a street.
    If you would want to drill through to a specific street, this would cause an issue as the city Perth is located both in Australia and the USA, you would end up with streetnames from Perth in both countries. If you, however, create a concatenated column, you get the fields ‘USA-Perth’ and ‘Australia-Perth’. This can then be used as the drillthrough value, making sure you select only the country you really want. 🙂

    1. Thanks for sharing, Stijn. Although this isn’t really a feature limitation. This is more an issue with the data itself.

  2. Any thoughts on how to prevent users from clicking directly on the tab that is the destination for the drill through rather than using the right-click functionality?

    1. I’m not sure there’s a way to do that. I don’t think you can hide the report page but maybe you could put a note on the report page about how it’s supposed to be used. I’m not sure if there’s a good way to accomplish that.

      1. That was all I could come up with as well. The drill-through functionality was definitely needed but I think they need to enhance it a bit more.

      2. The Power BI engineering team definitely takes the approach of implementing the solution with about 80% of the functionality and then continuing to enhance it and improve it in future dev iterations. The drill through feature is great but I would continue to post suggestions to improve it on ideas.powerbi.com.

Leave a Reply