Check your tech for the Virtual Classroom!

Follow these three simple steps to check your IT setup before your training day.

If you are attending a training on Power BI or MS Project, please read and follow the extra instructions at the end.

1. Check your setup

Must have:

  • Laptop or desktop PC
  • Webcam
  • Reliable internet connection (try using a network cable plugged into your router to improve the connection)

Recommended:

  • Audio headset (this more effective than laptop speakers)
  • Second computer screen (see below for instructions on using second screens)

A second computer screen is most important for technical courses like Excel, PowerPoint and Power BI.

If you’ve never used two screens before, watch our short video below explaining how to set up, connect and manage two screens in a training.

If you do not have two screens, don’t worry! Just let your trainer know, they will show you how to split your screen in half so you can follow the training.

2. Test MS Teams

Click here to join a test event and check your connection.

This will open the page below, giving you three options for how to join:

We recommend you download the Teams app if you don’t already have this installedclick here to download now.

Alternatively, make sure you have a supported browser installed so you can “continue on this browser” – Google Chrome or Microsoft Edge work best

Other useful tips:

  • Make sure you ‘allow’ Teams to use your microphone and webcam
  • If everything is working properly you should see a preview screen of your smiling face (preview below)
  • This useful walk-though from Microsoft might help you through the process

 

3. Download your courseware

Click on the link in your virtual classroom instructions, then make sure you select all files and click download when you open the folder.

See an example below:

 

If you have any questions or problems with joining the virtual classroom, please contact us.

 

If you are attending a training on Power BI or MS Project, please read and follow the extra instructions below:

Power BI Setup

Before your training course, make sure you:

  1. Download the latest version of Power BI desktop – https://powerbi.microsoft.com/en-us/downloads/
  2. Practise logging in using your training username – this will be sent to you 2 days before your training
  3. Set up your IT so there are 2 screens. This is very important because Power BI is a complex program, so you need 2 screens to see the tools properly and follow the training. You may have 2 screens already, which is great! If not, try connecting a TV screen to your computer using a HDMI cable. Alternatively, you can use both your work laptop to run Power BI and a second personal laptop to log into Teams and follow the trainer’s screen.
    Watch our video explaining two-screen set up here

MS Project

It is essential that your have Project installed correctly on your computer, follow these steps to check your setup:

  1. Go to the Windows search box on the left side of the taskbar
  2. Search ‘Project’
  3. If Project is installed on your computer, it will appear as an option
  4. Select the Project app (don’t worry if it doesn’t say 2016)
  5. This will open the Project window, and you are all good to go! Please let us know if you don’t have Project installed.

 

Improve Decision Making with the Analytics Pane in Power BI

With the Analytics Pane in Power BI, you can quickly and easily make dynamic reference lines, which can be extremely helpful when analysing data and making key business decisions. From simple trend lines to more complex forecast lines, there are so many options to choose from!

First, find the analytics pane by going to the visualizations pane:

Power BI visualisations line

The Trend line

If your data “jumps” up and down it can be difficult to see if you have a positive or negative trend, so here a trend line is handy.

To add a trend line:

  • Select your visual
  • Click on the down arrow before the trend line option
  • Click add on the analytics pane

The settings/options will then appear and you will see the trend line on your visual.

Power BI visualisations line

With all lines, you have the option to change the colour, style, and transparency. If you change the Combine Series option in the Trend Line setting to Off, it will display a trend line for each subcategory, which is useful for drilling down into the data.

Combine series On:

Power BI visualisations line

Combine series Off:

Power BI visualisations line

The Constant line

A constant line can be very useful, for example if you have a target and you want to see at a glance if your values are below or above the target.

Power BI visualisations line

To add a constant line:

  • Select your visual
  • Click on the down arrow before the constant line option
  • Click add on the analytics pane
  • Enter the value for the constant line

The Min line

The Min line will add a line showing the lowest value on the visual, and again you have the options to change the colour, style, and transparency.

Power BI visualisations line

The Max line

The Max line shows the highest value on the visual.

Power BI visualisations line

The Average line

The Average line shows the calculated mean average of all the values you have on the visual, which is great for showing the variation.

Power BI visualisations line

The Median line

The Median line will add a line showing the median of all the values you have on the visual.

Power BI visualisations line

The Forecast line

The Forecast line is very useful, especially if your data displays seasonality. Power BI is very good at handling complex levels of periodic seasonality, the only limitation is your date table. Fortunately, if you have week number, financial year, financial quarter, financial month, or other periodic breakdowns in your date table, they can all be used to visualise seasonality and forecast very accurately.

Sometimes, you may look at your forecast and doubt how accurate it is. For example, in the visual above the forecast shows a decrease over the next 36 months, but this is wrong. The issue is that we haven’t received all the data for the last three months, and this is having a negative effect on the forecast. Luckily, there is an easy way to fix this – you can ignore points!

Power BI visulisation

In the example above, 8 points (8 months) have been ignored. This not only takes care of the issue, but also allows you to see how close your forecast line fits your actual values. This will give you a clear indication of the forecast line’s accuracy

Also, the confidence level is set to 95% and the seasonality to Auto. The confidence level is displayed on the visual by the grey area around the forecast line. Why Auto? This means if you change the visual, Power BI desktop automatically picks up the seasonality (4 if looking at quarters, 12 if looking at years).

Conclusion

Creating insightful scenarios in Power BI can help you make powerful business decisions quickly. The Analytics Pane and the amazing tools inside it are just one small area of this incredible application.

At STL we offer a range on Power BI training courses, for complete beginners to advanced users, so get in touch to find out more!