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Power BI Barcode Scanning: How to Filter Your Reports Using Barcodes

paginated reports

In today’s blog post, I’m excited to show you how you can leverage Power BI barcode scanning to filter your Power BI reports. This step-by-step guide will walk you through the entire setup process so you can start using this feature yourself. Without further ado, let’s get started!

What is Barcode Scanning?

Power BI barcode scanning allows your smartphone to scan barcodes in real life, using them to filter Power BI reports in the service. This can be particularly useful in various scenarios, such as:

  • Retail: Checking the status or inventory of an item on the shop floor.
  • Warehousing: Scanning items to get real-time stock levels and details.
  • Logistics: Managing shipments and tracking items efficiently.

Setting Up Barcode Scanning in Power BI

Let’s dive into how you can set this up from scratch.

Step 1: Prepare Your Data

First, you need to gather the items you want to analyze and their barcode information. Created an Excel file with this data, including additional details like the name and price of each item.

Prepare Your Data Power BI barcode scanning

Step 2: Load Data into Power BI

Next, load this data into Power BI:

  1. Open Power BI and enter the data from your Excel file.
  2. Make sure to categorize the columns correctly in the Power Query Editor. For instance, set the price column as a fixed decimal and the barcode column as text.
  3. Once done, close and apply the changes to load the data into your report.

Step 3: Enable Barcode Scanning

To enable Power BI barcode scanning, you need to do two key things:

  1. Assign a Barcode Type: In the data pane, select the barcode column and set its data category to “Barcode.” This tells Power BI that this column contains barcode data.

 Power BI barcode scanning

2. Create a Mobile-Friendly Layout: Since you’ll be using this feature on a mobile device, it’s crucial to design a mobile-friendly layout. Use the mobile layout view option in Power BI to arrange your data for optimal viewing on a smartphone.

Create a Mobile-Friendly Layout

Step 4: Publish and Test

Once your report is ready, save and publish it to your Power BI service. Then, on your mobile device:

  1. Open the Power BI app and navigate to your workspace to find the published report.
  2. Use the barcode scanning feature in the app to scan an item’s barcode and see how the report filters the data accordingly.

Real-World Application

Let’s consider a practical example. Imagine you’re on a shop floor and need to check an item’s inventory status. Simply open the Power BI app, scan the item’s barcode, and the report will display the relevant information, such as stock levels and product details. This feature ensures you have all the necessary information at your fingertips, enhancing efficiency and accuracy.

Additional Considerations

A few important points to note when using Power BI barcode scanning:

  • Ensure that the barcodes you scan exist in your Power BI report data.
  • If a barcode isn’t recognized, Power BI will notify you that the barcode doesn’t exist in the report data.
  • The barcode scanner can work across multiple reports, giving you the option to choose which report to view when you scan a barcode.


I hope this blog helps you understand and implement Power BI barcode scanning in your reports. It’s a powerful feature that can significantly enhance your reporting capabilities, especially in environments where quick access to detailed information is crucial.

For those looking to deepen their Power BI skills, check out our comprehensive training programs that cover everything from basic concepts to advanced features. Whether you’re a beginner or an experienced user, our training sessions are designed to help you get the most out of Power BI.


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