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And the award goes to Power BI




Thanks to Power BI for making our award ceremony a success.


I am in-charge of the Events Team for a community school, Redmond Tamil School.  There is an annual awards ceremony where students are presented a certificate for academic success. Contests are also held throughout the year where participants receive prizes on stage.


For these events, I only have a 1 ½ hours to distribute the prizes. As you can imagine, these 300+ students and their parents are excited about the award ceremony and the last thing I want to do is disappoint them with an awkward process.  The problem I had to solve was prepare 40 slides with each class student name and their contest prize details. 


Sequencing the classes and getting the student lists would seem like a piece of cake since the admission team could provide me with an Excel file with their data. However, there are three trophies: Spelling Bee, perfect attendance, and Tamil Maalai – [Tamil Poem recital contest]; each had their own Excel files. We wanted to make the award ceremony efficient so that each class and student would only need to come to the stage once, and each student would be called once to receive all their awards.


The Challenge


My challenge was to get the 3 Excel files merged. While the class is on the stage, the student names, trophy details and teacher’s name needed to be displayed on the projection screen on stage. We also needed the same list to help sort and distribute the trophies. I needed to produce 40 pages of PowerPoint with each slide having the child’s name and details on their awards. Here is where the Power BI saved the day and the steps you might need to help with your own scenario:


1.  We imported all the Excel files and merged them in Power BI with the data model:


Class Name


Teacher Name

Student Name

Spelling Bee Trophy: Yes / No

Attendance Trophy: Yes / No

Tamil Maalai: Yes / No


2.  To produce the 40 slides, we designed a report page with a Class and Section filter. We made the report page visually appealing with the school Logo and nice little emojis (thanks to DAX Unichar). The 40 unique report pages were produced by modifying the Class and Section filters. Thanks to our Events Team member Sam (Samuthrakumar) who quickly produced the duplicate pages with proper filters.




3.  Sam published the Power BI .pbix file to the online service. Thanks to our Office 365 account for non-profits, our Redmond Tamil School had a free Power BI license. From the Power BI service, we exported the Report to Power Point file. But wait, not everything was going to be a smooth ride! Sam discovered the limitation in Power BI which would only allow us to export 15 pages. We solved this simply by breaking down the file into 3 subsets and were able to create the 40 PowerPoint pages.


4. In addition to the slideshow presentation, we were also able to create a summary page that would help each class line up properly back stage to receive their awards.



We created the PowerPoint not only quickly, but with quality and accuracy. We printed the same for the on-stage prize distribution as well. 


Thanks to Power BI for solving our issues and giving an award-winning performance for Redmond Tamil School! Contributing the non-profit is not only a service but a fun way to learn and grow! Thanks to Redmond Tamil School and Microsoft for promoting the giving culture!



What is your favorite Power BI Feature release this month?