What is the difference between drill down and drill through in Power BI

Power BI is renowned for its dynamic capabilities in data exploration and visualization. Two features that play a pivotal role in this process are “Drill Down” and “Drill Through.” In this comprehensive guide, we’ll unravel the distinctions between these functionalities, exploring their applications, benefits, and when to use each. By the end of this journey, you’ll have a nuanced understanding of how to leverage drill down and drill through in Power BI.

“What sets drill down and drill through apart in Power BI?”

Drill down enables a deeper dive into hierarchical data, while drill through focuses on detailed analysis through specific dimensions. Uncover the distinctions, applications, and best practices for mastering these dynamic data exploration features in Power BI.

Drill Down and Drill Through in Power BI: Unpacking the Concepts

1. Drill Down: Delving into Details

Definition: Drill Down in Power BI involves navigating from a higher-level summary to a more detailed view of the data. Users can explore specific data points within a visual, revealing deeper insights without changing the context of the overall report.


  • Hierarchical Data Exploration: Drill down is ideal for exploring hierarchical data structures. For example, you can start with a regional sales overview and drill down to view sales at the city or individual store level.
  • Time Series Analysis: Drill down enables a closer look at time-based data. Transition from yearly to monthly or daily data for a more granular understanding.

Unlocking Business Potential Power Platform vs SharePoint

How to Use Drill Down:

  • Simply right-click on the data point of interest and select “Drill Down” to access more detailed information.
  • Utilize the drill down icon in visuals that support this feature.

2. Drill Through: Navigating Through Dimensions

Definition: Drill Through allows users to navigate through dimensions, creating a focused view that provides detailed information on a particular aspect. It is a targeted exploration of specific data elements without cluttering the primary report.


  • Detailed Analysis: Drill through is suitable when you want to focus on a specific dimension, such as analyzing sales performance for a particular product, employee, or customer.
  • Comparative Analysis: Users can compare performance across different dimensions side by side without overloading the main report.

How to Use Drill Through:

  • Define specific drill through pages with relevant visuals.
  • Right-click on a data point and select “Drill Through” to access detailed pages associated with that data.

Drill Down and Drill Through in Action

Let’s walk through practical scenarios to illustrate the applications of drill down and drill through:

Scenario 1: Sales Performance Analysis

  • Drill Down:
    • Start with a visual showing total sales across regions.
    • Drill down to view sales at the country, city, and store levels, revealing detailed performance insights.
  • Drill Through:
    • Focus on a specific region and drill through to a dedicated page showcasing detailed sales information for products, customers, and employees within that region.

Scenario 2: Time Series Exploration

  • Drill Down:
    • Begin with an annual sales overview.
    • Drill down to explore monthly or daily sales trends, identifying patterns and anomalies.
  • Drill Through:
    • Navigate through dimensions like product categories or customer segments, providing a detailed breakdown of sales for focused analysis.

Comparison table of drill down and drill through in Power BI

Feature Drill Down in Power BI Drill Through in Power BI
Definition Navigating from a summary to detailed data. Focusing on specific dimensions for detailed analysis.
Use Case Hierarchical data exploration. Detailed analysis within specific dimensions.
Interaction Right-click or use drill down icon. Right-click to navigate to predefined drill through pages.
Flexibility Explores deeper levels within a visual. Creates focused views with specific dimensions.
Visualization Impact Provides insights within the same visual. Navigates to separate pages for detailed information.
Application Example Starting with regional sales and drilling down to cities. Focusing on a region and drilling through to detailed product sales.
User Control Users control the depth of exploration. Predefined pages provide a structured approach to analysis.

External Links

Explore these external resources to deepen your knowledge of drill down and drill through in Power BI:

How to view usage metrics dataset in Power BI

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Q1: Can I use drill down and drill through in the same report?

Yes, you can combine drill down and drill through functionalities within a Power BI report to provide users with a comprehensive data exploration experience.

Q2: Are there limitations to the number of levels I can drill down in Power BI?

The number of levels you can drill down in Power BI depends on the complexity of your data and the visuals used. It’s recommended to test and optimize performance based on your specific scenario.

Q3: Can I customize the drill through pages in Power BI?

Absolutely. You have full control over the design and content of drill through pages. Customize visuals, add relevant information, and tailor the experience to meet your reporting needs.

Best Practices for Effective Data Exploration

  1. Understand User Needs:
    • Identify the specific information users seek when implementing drill down or drill through functionality.
  2. Optimize Visual Design:
    • Ensure that visuals support drill down and drill through features effectively. Choose visuals that provide clear insights at different levels.
  3. Utilize Bookmarks:
    • Enhance the user experience by incorporating bookmarks to capture specific states or views during exploration.
  4. Document Drill Through Pages:
    • Clearly document and label drill through pages to facilitate user understanding.
  5. Regularly Test Performance:
    • Test the performance of drill down and drill through functionalities, particularly when dealing with large datasets.


Drill down and drill through are powerful features in Power BI, offering users a dynamic and interactive experience in exploring data. Understanding when to use each functionality is key to delivering insightful and user-friendly reports. By incorporating drill down and drill through effectively, you empower users to navigate through data dimensions seamlessly, unlocking deeper insights for more informed decision-making.