Join layers


You need the following account and license types to use this workflow:

  • Microsoft license—You need a Microsoft 365 license, with the Contributor role or higher, to use this workflow.
  • ArcGIS account type—Standard users can perform the basic functions of this workflow; you do not need to sign in.

You can join layers in ArcGIS for Power BI to provide spatial information about the data.

See Layers, Data layers, and Reference layers to learn more about each type of layer.

The join layers functionality in ArcGIS for Power BI creates a link between a data layer and an ArcGIS reference layer. The joined layers can be connected to other Microsoft Power BI visualizations.

When you add a data layer from Microsoft Power BI to an ArcGIS for Power BI map, the map interacts with other visuals in the report to provide additional information about the data.


To use the join layer functionality, ensure that the ArcGIS reference layer contains attributes that match those in the Power BI dataset. The attribute name does not need to be identical, but the data type must be the same. The joins are numbers to numbers, strings to strings, and so on.

Joined layers can be particularly useful when the Power BI data does not contain spatial (location) information, such as addresses or coordinates. Use the Join layer option to link data attributes from Power BI to those from a reference layer added from ArcGIS to provide insight into the data. Join the data layer and the reference layer by linking attributes of the same data type from each dataset.

For example, if you have a Power BI dataset that contains detailed information about your company's inventory, you can associate that data with geographic features in the reference layer, and the map can interact with other visuals in the report.


To learn more about joining layers, see the ArcGIS Blog article No location? No problem.

The Join layers pane includes selection tools that you can use to interact with the reference layer and other visuals.

Join a reference layer to a data attribute

To join a reference layer to a data attribute, complete the following steps:

  1. Add a data layer to an ArcGIS for Power BI map that includes other Power BI report visualizations and save the report.

    You can use Power BI Desktop or the Power BI service ( to create a map-enabled report.

  2. With the ArcGIS for Power BI visual active in Power BI, drag a nonspatial attribute from the Data pane to the Join layer field well. You can add up to five attributes to this field well.

    Attributes in the Join layer field well

    If the map does not contain a data layer with spatial information, the map appears empty.

  3. Add a reference layer from ArcGIS to the map.

    Ensure that the reference layer contains attributes that match those in the Power BI dataset.

  4. From the map tools, click the Layers button Layers.
  5. Click Layer options Layer options on the reference layer to view the context menu.
  6. Click Join layer.

    The Join layer pane appears. The data attributes you added to the Join layer field well appear on the left, and the attributes from the reference layer appear in a drop-down menu on the right.

    Join layer pane with matching attributes

  7. From the drop-down menu, choose the reference layer attribute that most closely matches the Power BI attribute.

    You must select at least one attribute to create a join.

    Matching attributes must have the same data type; for example, associate a string value with another string value.

    If you added more than one attribute to the Join layer field well, use the drop-down menu to match each attribute. You can match up to five attributes for each reference layer.

  8. When you have matched all the attributes, click Create join.

    The join is created, and the Join layer pane updates to display the selection tools.

  9. Use the selection tools in the Join layer pane to select a location on the map.

    As you select locations on the joined reference layer, other visuals in the report with attributes matching those in the reference layer automatically update. If no match exists, a message appears indicating that no results were found. You can also select items in other visuals in the report, and the map immediately updates to reflect your changes.

    Selection tools in the Join layer pane

Modify a joined layer

When a reference layer has been joined to data attributes, a link icon appears next to the layer in the Layers list. You can change the settings for joined layers at any time.

To modify a joined layer, complete the following steps:

  1. From the map tools, click the Layers button Layers.
  2. On the reference layer in the Layers list, click the Join layers button Join layers to open the Join layer pane.

    Alternatively, click Layer options Layer options to view the context menu and click Join layer.

  3. In the Join layer pane, click Remove join and drag a new field from the Power BI data into the Join layer field well and match it with a corresponding attribute in the reference layer.
  4. Click Create join.

    The joined layer is updated with the new values.

  5. To delete a joined layer, click Remove join.