Power BI design settings for metrics, bar charts, maps, and other visuals.

Layout Techniques

Color Palette

  • Explore trending color palettes using Coolors
  • Pick a palette and copy/paste the color codes to the report/visuals

Align/Resize visuals

  • Select multiple visuals that need to be aligned
  • Go to Visualizations/Format visual/General/Properties
  • Update any of these settings: Size, Position, Padding

Whitespace hack for padding

  • I wish PBI visuals had a similar behavior as the Box Model in CSS with padding, border, and margin
  • Create a shape of the same background color as the visual
    • For example: Insert/Shapes/Rectangle
    • Resize the shape to the same size as the visual
      • Add 20px to the shape’s height and width General/Properties/Size
    • Add rounded corners
      • Select the visual, then General/Effects
      • Set Background to On
        • Set same color as the shape’s background
      • Set Visual Border to On
        • Set same color as the shape’s background
        • Set Rounded corners to 15px
    • Add shadow
      • Set Shadow to On
        • Change the color to a ligher setting than the default
        • Set Position to Custom
          • Set Transparency to 90px
  • Organize the layers so the shape is behind the visual
    • View/Selection/Layer order
      • Rename the layer with a proper name
    • Or use Format/Send backward (when selecting the visual)
  • Make sure the shape’s color is the same as the visual’s background
  • Turn shape’s border to off

PowerBI Design Whitespace Padding

Format painter to copy/paste a format

  • Click on a visual
  • Under the Home menu tab
  • Click format painter
  • Use paintbrush mouse pointer to click on a similar visual
  • This will copy/paste the format to that visual

Gradient Blue Background

If you want to create a background with a gradient to have better contrast and a modern design, you can use an external image and use it as a background.

PowerBI and Azure Topics in Data Analytics

More about this report in Power BI with Azure and Data Analytics Trends

Power BI Canvas Settings

  • Review the canvas size
  • The default is type 16:9 (height: 720px, width: 1280px)

Google Drive

  • Create a Google Slide
  • Set the page setup to 16:9 or select Custom and enter the size in pixels
  • Change the background
  • Select color
  • Go to the Gradient tab
  • Add a custom color
  • Select any preferred settings
  • Download the slide as .svg

Power BI Canvas background

  • Without clicking any visual
  • Go to the menu Visualizations, then the tab Format page
  • Click Canvas background
  • Click on Image and upload the svg file
    • Set Image fit to Fit
    • Set Transparency to 0

Power BI Background Color Gradient

Designs for Visuals

Report Text Box Title

  • Header: Segoe UI, 18px, Bold
  • Subheader/description: Segoe UI Light, 11px

Power BI Design Visual Text Box

Multi-row Card

  • Header
    • Visualizations/General/Title
    • Heading: Heading 3
    • Font: Segoe UI Light, 12px
  • Values
    • Visualizations/Visual/Callout values
    • Font: Segoe UI, 18px, Bold
  • Labels
    • Visualizations/Visual/Category labels set to On
    • Font: Segoe UI Light, 11px, Bold

Power BI Design Visual Multi-row Card

Stacked Bar Chart

Power BI Design Visual Stacked Bar Chart

  • Header
    • Visualizations/Format visual/General/Title
    • Heading: Heading 3
    • Font: Segoe UI, 14px, Bold, Left alignment
  • Y-Axis, X-Axis
    • Visualizations/Format visual/Y-axis/Values
    • Font: Segoe UI, 9px
    • Max area width: 50%
    • Concatenate labels: ON
  • Gridlines
    • Style: Dotted
    • Color: Light grey #C8C6C4
    • Width: 1px
  • Bars/Colors
    • Conditional formatting
    • Format style: Gradient
    • What field based on: Sum of Views
    • Summarization: Sum
    • How to format empty values: As zero
    • Minimum: Lowest value
    • Maximum: Highest value
  • Bars/Spacing
    • Inner padding: 20px
    • Min category width: 20px

Power BI Design Visual Stacked Bar Chart Conditional Formatting

Make a slicer look like a website menu

  • Select the slicer
  • Format visual/Visual
  • Slicer settings
    • Options/Style set to Tile
  • Values
    • Font/padding 4px
  • Border
    • Bottom
    • Set a color and line width like 10px
  • Background
    • Set the same color as the top bar

Power BI Visual Slicer Menu

Organize the Layers

As you add visuals to the report, you can organize them in layers, and name the visuals with a naming convention.

Power BI Visual Layer Order

  • Go to View
  • Then Selection
  • A vertical menu opens with two tabs Layer order and Tab order
  • In Layer order, rename the visuals
  • Drag/drop the visuals on top of each other
  • Optionally, hide visuals
    • This show/hide can also be used when creating bookmarks
    • Create two visuals on the same canvas location
    • For example, sales by year and sales by month
    • Place the layers so they are exactly on top of each other on the canvas
    • When creating a bookmark hide one of the visuals and save it
    • Then swap show/hide for the other visual and create another bookmark

Visual Tab Order

Power BI Visual Tab Order

The adjacent tab says Tab order and it shows this message when you browse over:

Choose the way people tab through your report elements and hear them read by a screen reader.

You can order visuals by drag/drop and choose to hide visuals from this tab browsing.

Performance Analyzer

  • Click on a new a report page
  • Click on the Optimize menu tab
  • Then Performance Analyzer and Start recording
  • Go back to the report
  • It shows the duration it takes to execute each layer
  • Hidden visualization layers don’t get loaded View/Selection/Layer order
  • Expand any element in the analyzer to review duration of each element in a layer/visual

Power BI Design Performance Analyzer

Microsoft has this document on data reduction techniques, which in a way summarizes to this:

From faster to slower

Star schemas, measurements

  • Use a DW at the source with data marts, star schemas, and measurement/summary/date tables
  • Use Power Query M to create star schema, transformations, and measurement tables
  • Use DAX to create tables and measurements

Storage mode, importing data

  • Set Storage Mode to DirectQuery and a SQL script to load only what is required
    • Large datasets, real time analytics
  • Set Storage Mode to Mixed Mode and a SQL script
  • Set Storage Mode to Import and a SQL script

Set Storage mode per table

  • Go to Model view
  • Select a table
  • Go to Advanced
  • Select Storage mode
    • You can switch from DirectQuery to Import
    • You cannot switch from Import to DirectQuery

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