How to Set Up What-If Parameters to Input Changes Automatically in Power BI

Power BI is a powerful tool for data analysis and reporting, but manually inputting changes can be really time-consuming. However, using what-if parameters in Power BI, you can easily automate this process and save yourself some valuable time.

In this article, I will walk you through how to set up what-if parameters in Power BI to input changes automatically.

Read to learn more.

What are What-if Parameters in Power BI?

What-if parameters are a feature in Power BI that allows you to create interactive scenarios and test different values for your data. With this feature, you can input a value, and see how it affects your data in real-time.

This is often used in forecasting and predicting outcomes based on specific variables to automate input changes which save you time and effort.

For example, you can use what-if parameters to test how changes in sales or expenses will affect your overall profit margin. This helps you understand how this may impact your business, and also to make informed business decisions.

How to Set Up What-if Parameters in Power BI

Setting up what-if parameters in Power BI is a simple process that can save you time and streamline your analysis. Now, to set up a what-if parameter and automate the process, follow this guide:

To start with, create a new report and navigate to the “Modeling” tab. Here, click on “New Parameter” to create a new parameter—you can rename the parameter, and choose a data type, such as decimal, whole number, or date/time.

Also, you need to set the minimum and maximum values for the parameter and choose a default value, and step size for the parameter.

Now, when you input a new value for the parameter, Power BI will automatically update your data and visuals based on the new value.

Use the What-if Parameter in a Calculation

Once you create the What-if parameter, you can use it in your calculations to let your data and visualizations update automatically.

For example, if you have a sales report that shows the total sales for each month, you can use a What-if parameter to change the sales target for the year.

When you input a new value for the sales target, Power BI will automatically update the total sales for each month based on the new target.

Add the What-if Parameter to a Visual

Now you can add it to a visual to see how it affects your data. To do this, select the visual you want to add the parameter to and go to the “Visualizations” pane. Under the “Fields” section, drag the What-if parameter to the “Values” field.

Now, you can then see how changing the parameter affects the data in the visual.

Test and Adjust the What-if Parameter as Needed

Once you add the What-if parameter to your visualization, you must test and adjust it to let you see how different values affect your data. To do this, just type in a new value and hit enter, and the visual will automatically update to reflect the new value.

You can also use the “slider” to adjust the value. This will make you gain valuable insights and make data-driven decisions.

Tips for Maximizing the Use of What-if Parameters in Power BI

To get the most out of What-if parameters, you must start by identifying the key variables that impact your business, such as sales volume, pricing, production costs, etc.

Once you identify the variables, you can set up different scenarios to test how changes to these variables will impact your overall results.

Also, it is important to regularly update your data and adjust your scenarios as needed to ensure that you are always making informed decisions based on the most up-to-date information.

This will save you some time and streamline your reporting process while also making more informed decisions for your business.


What is the benefit of using what-if parameters in Power BI?

What-if parameters help to explore different scenarios and predict outcomes based on the data, which makes decision-making easier.

Is it possible to use what-if parameters with other Power BI features?

Yes, you can use what-if parameters with other Power BI features such as clustering, trend analysis, forecasting, etc., to gain deeper insights into data and make more accurate predictions.

Are there any limitations to what-if parameters in Power BI?

Yes, some visualizations cannot use what-if parameters, and null values or outliers in data may affect how parameters function.

Can you share reports using what-if parameters with others?

Yes, you can share reports that use what-if parameters with others. However, they will need access to the same data source and parameter values to be able to view and interact with the report.

Can what-if parameters be used with data from external sources?

Yes, you can use what-if parameters with external data sources. Just make sure the data is connected properly and the parameter is set up in Power BI.


Congratulations, you are now a Power BI what-if parameter setting whiz!

With your newfound expertise, you can unlock a whole new world of insights and predictions from your data using the what-if parameter.

So why settle for boring old static reports when you can explore different business scenarios and visualize the impact of different variables on your data with just a few clicks?

If you enjoyed reading this, you can also check how to reference a parameter in a new Power BI Query.

Happy analyzing!