Quick Tips: How to Copy Visual Formatting to Multiple Other Visuals in One Go Using Format Painter Tool in Power BI

Format Painter in Power BI Desktop

When you create a report it’s highly likely that you’d like to copy other visuals’ formats from an already formatted visual using “Format Painter” tool in Power BI. Perhaps you already used this awesome tool available in Power BI Desktop.

As you see in the tooltip shown while hovering over the “Format Painter” tool you can simply copy formats from an already formatted visual to another visual. But what if you have a lot of similar visuals to be formatted (painted) like shown in the below screenshot that I have several card visuals on top of my page. One of them is formatted as desired but the rest must still be formatted.

Formatted/Unformatted Card Visuals in Power BI
Formatted/Unformatted Card Visuals

It would be good if I could paint all of them in one go right? So continue reading to see how we can do that.

Continue reading “Quick Tips: How to Copy Visual Formatting to Multiple Other Visuals in One Go Using Format Painter Tool in Power BI”

Quick Tips: How to Sort Matrix by Column in Descending Order

How to Sort Matrix by Column in Descending Order

Today Microsoft released Power BI Desktop March 2020 which I was hoping that it includes a simple feature on Matrix visual to be able to sort the Martix by column in descending order, but, it doesn’t. So, in this post I quickly show you how to sort Matrix by column in descending order.

Here is the scenario. One of my customers is building a report in Power BI showing sales by Year, Month and Day of Week in a Matrix as below.

Sorting Matrix Visual in Power BI
Sorting Matrix Visual in Power BI

Everything looks fine! But looking at the Matrix sorting quickly reveals that such feature is NOT available (YET). But the customer would like to see the Matrix sorted by Year in descending order, something like this.

Sorting Matrix by Column Headers in Descending Order
Sorting Matrix by Column Headers in Descending Order

Here is the solution which is super simple.

Continue reading “Quick Tips: How to Sort Matrix by Column in Descending Order”

Empower Your Story Telling Data Visualisation in Power BI with Colour Coding

Colour Coding in Power BI

This post has been waiting in my blogging list for a while and now this is my last post in 2019. I wish you all have a wonderful year ahead.

In this post I discuss a very important aspect of data visualisation; Colour Coding. I believe, colour coding is one the most powerful and efficient ways to provide proper information to the users. We learnt as human being that the colour can tell a lot about things. For instance, we look at green grass, if it is light green we immediately understand that the grass is quite fresh and healthy. When she gets a bit yellowish, we know that she’s perhaps thirsty. When it gets brown it is probably too late.

Another perfect example is traffic lights. When it is green, everyone is happy, when it is yellow, everyone is racing to pass the junction, well, I’m just kidding, some people tend to pass the yellow light while everyone knows they have to stop when traffic light is yellow right?? And… when it is red, we have to stop. Enough saying about colour coding and its affects on our lives on a day to day basis. Let’s talk about colour coding in Power BI and quickly get to more exciting stuff.

So… colour coding in Power BI, well, we could colour code from the day first that Power BI born, but, perhaps not in a way that I’m going to explain in this post. Conditional formatting is also around for a while now. In this post I show a technique that we can implement in Power BI to use a consistent colour coding across the whole report.

Here is a report without colour coding:

  Power BI Report without Colour Coding
Power BI Report without Colour Coding

And now look the same report that is colour coded:

 Colour Coded Power BI Report
Colour Coded Power BI Report

Let’s get into it.

Getting Started

In this technique we’ll follow the steps below:

  • We jump online using some awesome free colour palette websites to generate the colours we’d like to use in our reports
  • We copy the HEX values and paste into Power BI (via Enter Data)
  • We define a range of numbers to identify the ranges that our values will fall into. I personally use percentage, but it might be something else in your case
  • We then define some measures to pick a specific colour for the measures we want to colour code
Continue reading “Empower Your Story Telling Data Visualisation in Power BI with Colour Coding”

Quick Tips: Line Chart and Area Chart Conditional Formatting in Power BI

Line Chart and Area Chart Conditional Formatting in Power BI

In this post I show you a very quick trick to format Line Chart and Area Chart conditionally in Power BI. As this is a “Quick Tip” I’m going to keep this post really short.

One of my customers asked me to show time series in line charts and area charts. But she want’s it to be conditionally formatted based on the average value over time. Let’s keep it simple, she wants to show “Sales by Year Month” in line chart, but, highlight the data points that are below “Average Sales per Year Month”. As you may know, we currently do not have the luxury of formatting line charts and area charts. But wait, this post is all about that. Let’s dig into it.

From the above scenario, you perhaps already guessed that we need to create a measure which defines the colour based on “Average Sales per Year Month” to be able to format the chart conditionally. If any data point is below the “Average Sales per Year Month” then we highlight it in Orange, if it is above the “Average Sales per Year Month” then we stick to the default colour.

Let’s do it.

Continue reading “Quick Tips: Line Chart and Area Chart Conditional Formatting in Power BI”

Good Practice: Always Display the Reporting Environment

Good Practice: Always Display the Reporting Environment

When you work on real-world projects in power BI, you would probably have different environments Like DEV, UAT, Pre-Prod and Prod. It is important for you and your audience to know what the data is coming from. Am I looking at Dev or UAT data or I am actually looking at real data in Production environment. You may have asked or been asked with a question like “Where the data is coming from?”. It is important to know how trustworthy the data you’re analysing is. In this post I show you an easy way to show the environment your Power BI report is connected to.

How It Works

To display the environment name you use query parameters, then you reference that parameter, turn it to a table and add columns to show the environments accordingly. Easy right?

Read more about query parameters from a list output here.

Depending on your scenario the implementation might be slightly different, but the principals are the same. In this post I use a SQL server database. Therefore I need to Parameterise server name. in real world you may also need to parameterise the database name. Again, if your case is quite different, like if you get data from Excel, then the Excel path can be different for different environments. Let’s dig-in.

  • Open Query Editor
  • Click “Manage Parameters”
  • Click “New”
    • Enter “Name” and “description”
    • Tick “Required”
    • Select “Text” in “Type”
    • Select “List of values” in “Suggested Values” and type in server names for different environments
    • pick a “Default Value” and “Current Value”
    • Click OK
Creating new parameter in Power BI Query Editor

So far you created a new parameter that can be used to get data from a SQL Server data source.The next steps show you how to use that parameter to show the environments in your reports.

Continue reading “Good Practice: Always Display the Reporting Environment”

Power BI Ecosystem Report Authoring Tools Demystified

Power BI Reporting Tools Confusion

There are a lot of discussions these days around Power BI tools to create reports and for sure many of you may have already downloaded and worked with some of them if not all of them. You may also already thought that some of the tools’ names are confusingly similar. I recently had an interesting conversation with fellow who has a lot of SSRS report writing background. I was talking about Paginated reports and said, I downloaded the latest version of Power BI Report Builder… that he immidiately said, wait a second…

  • John: Power BI Report Builder? Oh I see, that’s the one that you can create paginated reports with then you can deploy those reports into an SSRS instance.
  • me: NOPE! That’s not the case I’m afraid.
  • John: Oh I know, I meant Power BI Report Server, you can deploy the reports to an instance of Power BI Report Server. I knew it!
  • me: NO! That’s not what I’m talking about…
  • John: What the…?

I bet some of you had similar conversation with a friend or a customer. OK, in this post I explain a little bit about report authoring tools available to you and your organisation to get the most out of your Power BI ecosystem.

Here is a list of all reporting tools currently available to you:

  • Power BI Service: It is a SaaS (Software as a Service) offering from Microsoft in the cloud. The users in an organisation, based on their access rights, may be able to create and publish data, reports, dashboards in Power BI Service. The users can also schedule data refreshes on the published data as well as securely sharing and distributing the contents. While creating or editing reports is possible in Power BI Service, it is strongly recommended to avoid this method for several reasons. The most obvious one is that the changes you make in a report may be soon get overwritten by someone else that republishes the same report from Power BI Desktop. Check this blog post from SQLChick to see why you should avoid creating or editing reports directly from Power BI Service. The reports are downloadable in PBIX format. Use Power BI Service here.
  • Power BI Desktop: It is a desktop report authoring tool that can be used to connect to, or loading data from, varies types of data sources, preparing, transforming and cleansing that data and at last visualising the data. Power BI Desktop is the predominant report authoring tool with a lot more functionalities and flexibility than Power BI Service. For instance, setting up Role Level Security (RLS) is NOT available in Power BI Service. The format of the report file is PBIX. Download Power BI Desktop from here.
  • Power BI Report Builder (Paginated): Paginated reports aka “pixel perfect reports”, as the name resembles, are formatted in a way to fit perfectly on a page. That report page might later be printed. You have exact control over the page formatting to display your data in tables or charts. The reports are not as interactive as Power BI Desktop reports are. Paginated reports are based on RDL technology which is standard report format in SQL Server Reporting Services. The tool for developing paginated report in Power BI ecosystem is Power BI Report Builder. The reports file type is RDL. You can currently publish Paginated reports only to a Workspace that is backed with a premium capacity. Download Power BI Report Builder from here.
Continue reading “Power BI Ecosystem Report Authoring Tools Demystified”