Theming in Power BI

Finally, we have theming in Power BI. A much requested and required feature, especially for organizations where using their corporate color themes in everything they do, is a way of life. And even when showcasing the capabilities of Power BI to potential clients, the questions sometimes boils down to something simple things like the customization of the color theme. This question can now be attempted with a confident ‘yes’, rather than the thoughtful ‘yes’ that we blurt out while mentally going through the steps of applying a colors from widget to widget.

The March 2017 update of Power BI Desktop comes with a preview of Themes. Right now it is in its simplest of forms: You manually create a JSON file that has a very few attributes that can set basic color themes to your reports. So all you have to do is create file that looks like this:

“name”: “rainbow”,
“dataColors”: [ “#FF0000”, “#FF7F00”, “#FFFF00”, “#00FF00”, “#0000FF”, “#4B0082”, “#9400D3” ],
“foreground”: “#9400D3”,
“tableAccent”: “#FFFF00”

And then do this in Power BI Desktop; here:

Theme Import

And lo and behold my rainbow theme is applied:

To revert, you just re-select the Default Theme.

Yes, it is old-school, but this is preview, and only a few attributes are designed to get affected by the theme settings. However, it works, it gives us an idea as to what’s coming, and also let’s us pour in our suggestions as well.

What I really like about this is that you can have any number of colors listed out, usually it is around 8, with Power BI adding the default white and black. And what I really like about it is the list of accent colors based on the main colors:

Theme Colors

All in all these are exciting times. Things on the aesthetic customization aspect can only get better. To read more, check out the Power BI blog.

Power View color themes: A bane for adopting Power BI

When Power BI functionality first came out for Excel, I was very excited. I still am. I always try to use it as much as I can even to prove simple points. I promote its usage wherever I can. As a techie I find it a great tool; am very fond of it. Others however, look at it from a slightly different perspective: Something that is trivial from my point of view, but entirely the opposite from a business user.

I was recently helping out a project manager build a dashboard of metrics for a client. Data was in Excel, imported from a couple of sources, she needed it mashed up and showcased with a wow factor. This was a chance for me to impress someone with Power BI. So I got her set up with Excel 2013 and all the Power BI add-ins. Then, I taught her to shape the data using Power Query, and build a model in Power Pivot, and finally put it out on a couple of Power View sheets. It wowed her! This was exactly that she had wanted to impress the client with – something additional apart from the services we were already giving them.

Continue reading Power View color themes: A bane for adopting Power BI