If you missed part one of ‘Power BI Custom Visuals – my top picks’, which was basically a love letter to the OK Viz team, check it out now.
So this is the second part of my top picks, looking at the visuals I tend to use when creating Power BI reports. As mentioned in part one, there are about 12 ones that I use, I do tend to be fairly conservative in using custom visuals, there are a quite a number now, and tend to side with functional, and less flashy/gimmicky choices, as those tend to kick in the attentive process and not be as intuitive to use, and ultimately distract from the information that you wish to show. Anyway here’s the final few.
I tend to use this for Cards visual, more than the chart visual, to create cards that have a few more formatting options, multiple values, and place a visual in the background. But I do use it for charts on occasion. So you can create a chart made up of objects, that can be filled and displayed to show the data. The cards one I really like, just for the ability to add a visual in the background. There is a choice of pre-canned visuals and you can add your own as well. It can be a bit slow to render the objects when switching between tabs in Power BI Desktop, would it help if it was split into two visuals, one for card, one for charts?
So in the above example visual, the ink toner has been created with the visual.
You can have graphic objects make up your columns.
And add Cards with backgrounds, with text layers and formatting options.
It can have a bit of a delay in rendering the objects when switching tab, or on first loading, hopefully future updates will address this performance issue. So at the moment don’t overuse it on a report.
Flow map is a nice visual for displaying the movement of items, maybe from a store location to a customers site. I’ve used it to display deliveries between stores and customers and if you have multiple store sites, show if there is any overlap in area using a particular store.
So in the above GIF, it shows the deliveries from a location to a ship to Post Code. There is not a lot to this visual in terms of formatting, or features, but the value is in showing the thickness of the flow and the spread of where something is being delivered to.
Slicers have improved with types since Power BI was released, we now have drop-down, time and number range slicers, but for the most part they are the regular check boxes. There is nothing wrong with those, but if you need something with a bit more visual flourish Chiclet Slicer is the way to go. It can display nice big buttons, which is great when using in a mobile view of a report.
You you can define the number of columns, rows and even use images as the button objects. If you just want a nice looking slicer, with colour options this one is for you.
The basic gauge in Power BI is a bit plain and you can’t configure much on it. Of the few gauge visuals I’ve found this one the best.
You can configure, target, ranges, add call out values and do all the cool colour stuff. You can also change the angles of the gauge to create a vertical gauge, rather than the plain horizontal one. It is a great example of a fully developed and capable visual. Some times it feels like some of the custom visual seem half finished, but I was so impressed when this came out, I even emailed the developer a thank you.
This is a humble little visual, the preview of it in the Office Store, just show text layout, but I’ve used it to help show embedded images, and make a few reports a bit visually richer to show KPI’s and Meeting room facilities (projectors, phone etc). You can do a lot with a bit of HTML, calculated columns and measures.
The image on the left is embedded using base64 into Power BI, and displayed using the HTML Viewer.
Wrapping things up
Those are my top picks and tend to be in a number of Power BI projects that I have done. As mentioned at the start I tend to be fairly conservative in using custom visuals, as it can sometimes get in the way of understanding the information, and most of the time the standard visuals do the job. Hope you found this post helpful and shows some of the options that you have with Power BI and visuals.