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.

The Analytics Pane in Power BI

The August 2016 edition on Power BI Desktop introduces a new pane named “Analytics” right next to the “Fields” and “Format” panes. Now, this title probably gave you, just as it did for me, a racing heart and goosebumps. However when you actually go to the pane, you just blurt out a disappointed “oh…”. Well, not that it is bad, you have options such as adding a percentile line, median line, trend line and a few more. But one would expect to see a little bit more with respect to analytics.

One thing that you do find is a forecast line, which for now works on a single-measure line chart. It’s pretty neat, but as advanced analytics go requires enough data points in order give you a good forecast. Of course this is just the start. We’re sure to see more analytic capabilities in the future.