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Power BI Q&A Field Synonyms Update

  • 1.  Power BI Q&A Field Synonyms Update

    Top Contributor
    Posted Jul 21, 2020 09:53 AM

    As of 07/21/2020 (Also on LinkedIn)

    Every organization may have 100 different ways that the same subject is referred to depending on the referring department, team, and individual. That is what makes the Q&A feature within Power BI so much more powerful with July's enhancements.

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    First, when you add the Q&A to your Power BI canvas, it already suggests some topics to get the user started. The icon in the upper right corner of the Q&A visual that appears to resemble a gear will allow you to configure many features of the Q&A, this article will just focus on the Field Synonyms.

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    The Getting Started landing page gives you four main options:

    1.  Field Synonyms – Enables adding terms people might use as synonyms for the fields and tables
    2. Review Questions - Enables the selection of a Power BI service dataset and review what questions the end users are asking
    3. Teach Q&A – You train Power BI the natural-language questions and terms it is not able to recognize
    4. Suggested Questions – Suggestive questions for the end user to help them explore the data
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    The Field Synonyms list every entity that is within your data model which allows you to toggle rather the table or the attribute of a table should be accessible to the end user's Q&A. This is an amazing feature as it now allows the report developer to mask any fields or tables that were created for modeling, design, and such, but were not meant for the end user to see in the Q&A. However, if there are many attributes in your table, you would have to turn them off one-by-one. It would be nice to turn them all off by default and then add back in the ones that are needed, but hey maybe that will be a future enhancement.

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    Each attribute of the table will have a Name of course, Terms that are approved synonyms, Suggested Terms, and the toggle to include or not.

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    Clicking the plus sign on a term from the Suggested Terms section will remove the term and apply it under the Terms section.

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    To remove the term from the Terms section, the "X" will remove it. However, note that the term once removed from the Terms section is not added back to the Suggested Terms section.

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    The Terms section allows you to add any custom term by clicking the Add button. This may be the terms that you accidentally removed or organizational terms that are significant to the department, team, or to certain end users.

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    Keep in mind that from the Model view, clicking on either a Table or an Attribute exposes the Synonyms section under the Properties as well. For providing synonyms here, it is a little more robust since both Field Synonyms and Table Synonyms can be applied. This has been available to Power BI for some time.  

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    Any changes that you apply here will then also be reflected in the Q&A settings, except for the Table synonym although it will still exist. For example,

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    If we add "employee" under the Person attribute

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    then we will see the added synonym employee as a term under the Terms section.

    So, the benefits of the Q&A Field Synonyms update for me are:

    1. Toggle which tables and attributes that are exposed to the Q&A end user
    2. Suggested terms that you may not have thought of

    To bulk load synonyms for an attribute, pasted them as comma separated terms in the Model View's synonyms section under the properties.



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    Brian Connelly
    Manager Business Analytics and Insights
    Ashfield Healthcare
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