Brushing and Linking in Microsoft Power View

Power View is Microsoft’s new data visualisation and exploration tool. This first look shows off a useful feature, known as brushing and linking, which is useful when a dashboard shows several charts that are different perspectives of the same dataset. Brushing allows the user to set to choose a set of data points in one of the charts and highlights this data. Linking then highlights the related data in other charts. It can be a powerful help to analysis.

Figure 1 shows a Power View screen with two charts. Both charts are different perspectives on the same data which is the sovereign exposures of 90 EU banks as of Dec 2010. The bar chart on the left shows the exposure by bank (sorted top down) and the column chart on the right shows the exposure by maturity. This is a simple, but useful, example of what Stephen Few, a data visualisation expert, calls a ‘faceted analytical display’.

Power View screen
Figure 1 – PowerView screen

As you can see, HSBC has the highest exposure. We can click on the HSBC bar to see its maturity profile. Figure 2 shows the result. The maturity chart now changes; the total exposures are now de-emphasised but still visible while HSBC’s exposures are highlighted. We can see that HSBC has a high proportion of debt with shorter maturities, especially the 3 month tenor. If you regard shorter term maturities as a less risky situation then this is a good thing for HSBC.

Figure 2 - Power View screen: HSBC selected
Figure 2 – Power View screen: HSBC selected

Figure 3 shows the corresponding picture for BNP PARIBAS, the bank with the 2nd highest exposure overall. It has a very different maturity profile with more longer dated exposures especially the 10 year.

Figure 3 - Power View screen: BNP PARIBAS selected
Figure 3 – Power View screen: BNP PARIBAS selected

We can click on a particular column in the maturity chart to see how that particular maturity is spread across the banks. For example, in Figure 4 the longest (15 year) maturity is selected and we can see that Dexia has the highest exposure to this maturity even though it has the 16th highest exposure overall.

Figure 4 - Power View screen: 15Y tenor selected
Figure 4 – Power View screen: 15Y tenor selected.