How to navigate through hierarchies with the power bi matrix visual

Drill mode in a visual in Power BI

In this article we are going to explore how to drill down in a visual in the Microsoft Power BI service. The visual we will focus on is the Power BI matrix which is extensively used in ID771 alert. Using drill down and drill up on your data points, you can explore in-depth details about your data.


Drill requires a hierarchy

When a visual has a hierarchy, you can drill down to reveal additional details. In our case a hierarchy that we will explore can be found under any equipment related matrix and is the following:

Levels 1/2/3/4/5:  Model Class / Model Category / Make / Model / Equipment


Figure 1


Figure out which visuals can be drilled

Not sure which Power BI visuals contain a hierarchy? Hover over a visual. If you see a combination of these drill controls at the top, your visual has a hierarchy.


Figure 2


Two ways to access the drill features

You have two ways for accessing the drill-down, drill-up, show next level and expand features for visuals that have hierarchies. The first one is by making use of the hover over buttons (figure 2) and the second and more straight forward is by making use of your mouse right click functionality (figure 3)


Figure 3


  • First way (figure 4): hover over a visual to see and use the icons. Turn on drill down first by selecting the downward arrow. The grey background lets you know that drill down is active
  • Second way (figure 5): right-click a visual to reveal and use the menu


Figure 4



Figure 5


Drill pathways / Drill down all fields at once

You have several ways to drill into your visual. Selecting the double arrow drill-down icon (figure 6.1) takes you to the next level in the hierarchy.  


Figure 6.1


If for example you want to see profitability distributed across all equipment model makes you should enable drill down and click twice on the double arrow drill-down. The first click takes you to the Model Category distribution (figure 6.2) and the second to the Make distribution (figure 6.3)


Figure 6.2



Figure 6.3



In order to navigate back to the original view you can click on the drill-up icon (figure 7) as many times as the levels of the hierarchy that you drilled down to.


Figure 7



Drill pathways / Expand

Expand adds an additional hierarchy level to the current view. For this functionality you should click on tree view like double arrow (figure 8).


Figure 8


So if you are looking at Model Class level, you can expand all current leaves in the tree at the same time. Your first drill reveals Model Categories (figure 8.1),


Figure 8.1

your second drill reveals Makes(figure 8.2), 


Figure 8.2

your third drill reveals Models (figure 8.3)


Figure 8.3

and the last drill reveals Equipment (figure 8.4)


Figure 8.4



Drill pathways / Expand All & Collapse All

Expand all is a great way to view the entire hierarchy with just one click. In order to achieve this you should use the right click method.  

So in order to gain visibility on all hierarchy levels you can right click on any level and select Expand / All (figure 9.1)


Figure 9.1


In order to collapse your hierarchy tree to the top level you can right click and

select Collapse / All (figure 9.2)


Figure 9.2


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