How to visualise barcode data with Power BI

In this guide we’ll walk you through using Microsoft’s free business analytics application Power BI Desktop to visualize Orca Scan data in real-time.


1. Install Power BI

To get started download and install Microsoft Power BI on your Windows machine.

Mac

There are options to install Power BI on a Mac, but we must admit it’s not straightforward. Consider using Google Data Studio instead.

Download Power BI onto your windows machine
Download Power BI onto your windows machine

2. Open Sheet Integrations

Login to your Orca Scan account, select the sheet that you want to connect to Power BI and open the Integrations settings.

Click on the 'Integrations' button at the top of the sheet
Click on the 'Integrations' button at the top of the sheet

3. Get Live Data URL

Enable “Allow public URL access” and copy the Live Data URL to your clipboard. Power BI will use this URL to query Orca Scan data in real-time.

Activate the Public URL access and copy the Live Date URL to the clipboard
Activate the Public URL access and copy the Live Date URL to the clipboard

As an additional confirmation check, you must save the integration changes.

Click save to confirm the integration changes
Click save to confirm the integration changes

Now, let’s head over to Power BI…


4. Get Data in Power BI

Find the Get Data menu, and select the option Web.

Click on 'Get Data' and select the 'Web' option
Click on 'Get Data' and select the 'Web' option

5. Paste the Live Data URL

You will get the option to paste a URL. Insert the Live Data URL from your Orca Scan sheet here.

Paste the Live Data URL when prompted
Paste the Live Data URL when prompted

Advanced: configure the data export

You can append the parameters below to the URL to configure the data output. For instance, to include the historical records or change the date/time format.

View the Live Data URL documentation for a detailed overview of the parameters.

URL parameter Function
sortby=barcode&sortorder=desc Sort output by column
deltas=true Include deltas for numeric columns
datetimeformat=DD/MM/YYYY Change date format
.html / .csv / .json / .xml Change output format
transactions=true Include audit trail
timezone=-03:00 Change time zone

Important: always use a ? before the first parameter and an & before each additional parameter, for example:

https://api.orcascan.com/sheets/sJ0KYsnp-9b7Rl7i?transactions=true&deltas=true


6. Review and confirm

If everything looks good, click load.

Review the data and if correct, click load.
Review the data and if correct, click load.

You will now be able to view your data in the Fields pane. Right next to it, we have the Visualization options to create charts from.

View your data in the fields pane, and see the visualisation options available
View your data in the fields pane, and see the visualisation options available

How to create a chart

Start out by selecting one of the Visualization options, then drag your fields into it.

GPS location map

In this example, we’re using a Map to visualize the location of our vehicles, a Pie chart to view the vehicle status, and a Table for a general overview.

Click the image to zoom
Use different visualisations tools to represent different data types
Click the image to zoom Use different visualisations tools to represent different data types

How to refresh data

You can refresh the data to pull in the changes from Orca Scan as often as you like.

Click refresh to pull in any changes made in your Orca Scan sheet
Click refresh to pull in any changes made in your Orca Scan sheet

You can also set the frequency or schedule specific time slots to refresh your reports. In some cases, scheduling requires a gateway in Power BI. You can read more about scheduling in Power BI’s refresh configuration guide.


Have a question about using Orca Scan with Power BI?

We’re always happy to help, chat with us live or drop us an email.

Ready to start scanning?