Report Builder In Power BI: Formatting Objects & Visualizations - Enterprise DNA

Report Builder In Power BI: Formatting Objects & Visualizations

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In this tutorial, you’ll learn about the different objects you can place in your paginated report and how to format them using Report Builder in Power BI.

A paginated report is a report that’s designed to be printed or shared. And as the name suggests, they’re called “paginated” because they’re made to fit well on a page.

Report Builder In Power BI Menu #1: The Insert Tab

The Insert tab at the top of Report Builder contains the different visualizations or objects you can add in your report.

report builder in Power BI

A Table in Report Builder remains static. It doesn’t expand and therefore doesn’t affect your page size. If your page size grows and goes over the designated width, you’ll end up with blanks in your report.

On the other hand, a Matrix grows. For example, if your data contains five years, you’ll get five rows or columns.

List allows you to add data in free form. Chart inserts a specific chart visualization in your report which include bar, line, or pie charts.

Gauge allows you to create visualizations that show achievements or progress. A Map displays analytical data against a geographical background.

A Data Bar is often added as a supplement to tables, matrices, or lists. A Sparkline allows you to create a small chart that indicates the progress over time. Meanwhile, the Indicator option displays KPI indicators in your report.

You can also insert report items such as a Text Box, Image, Line, or Rectangle. A Rectangle allows you to keep or group items together.

Subreports allow you to import other reports in Report Builder. It displays another report inside the body of the main report. When dealing with subreports, you need to be careful with how you embed them in your main report and ensure that the parameters are intact.

Report Builder In Power BI Menu #2: The View Tab

In the View tab, you can decide which elements to view in Report Builder.

report builder in Power BI

If you’re not using any parameters in your report, it’s recommended to disable its view option to free up space in your Report Builder Design View. This makes your working area less cluttered and easier to maneuver.

Insert Objects And Data

There are two ways you can insert visualizations and other objects in your paginated report.

You can either use the Insert tab or use the shortcut. You can access the shortcut by right-clicking on your canvas and then clicking Insert.

To delete an object, click on it and press the delete or backspace key on your keyboard.

For this example, you’ll learn how to insert a matrix and add data in it. In Report Builder, the object holding a matrix is called a tablix. You can change the name of the tablix in the Properties pane.

You can select a matrix using the square/rectangle found at the top or left-hand side of the tablix.

When you click on the small square button found at the upper left corner of the tablix, you’ll see options you can choose from.

The Select option allows you to select the body of your report. While the Layout option allows you to format the layout of the tablix. You can bring use this to bring an object forward or back.

Format Tablix Properties

When you click on the Tablix Properties option, you’ll open the Tablix Properties window. In this window, you can select the Dataset you want the matrix to contain.

report builder in Power BI

There are also other options you can customize such as the Page break options, Row Headers, and Column Headers.

In the Visibility tab of the Tablix Properties window, you can choose when the matrix is displayed on the report.

The Filters and Sorting tabs allow you to add filters and a sort order to your dataset.

Move Objects Around

Create the object you want to add in your paginated report. In this example, a tablix is created.

You can move an object using the move cursor icon. Report Builder also has gridlines which you can use as guides when arranging objects on your report.

When you export a paginated report, this will result in a pixel perfect output even when you place objects at the border of the canvas.

And instead of moving objects around, you can use the Properties pane to format the size and position. This gives a more accurate formatting compared to dragging objects around the body of your report.

report builder in Power BI

The Top is based on the upper-left dot of an object.

Resize Tablix

As for the size, you can either alter rows and columns individually or collectively. The size format will only take effect on rows you’ve highlighted.

For example, you can make the column header height longer than the rest of the rows to emphasize it.

When you run the report, you’ll see that there’s a distinction between the header and rows.

report builder in Power BI

To increase or decrease the width of each column in a Tablix, you can drag each column border from left to right and vice versa.

But if you want a specific width, it’s better to use the Properties pane.

Format Objects In Report Builder In Power BI

After you’re satisfied with the position and size of your matrix, you can proceed to format it along with the headers.

Using the Properties pane, you can change the background and font color. Similar to resizing, you can format matrix rows and columns individually or collectively.

For columns that contain monetary amounts, you can go to the Placeholder Properties and change it to Currency.

report builder in Power BI

You can format the number of decimal places the currency will show or if it’ll be displayed with separators.

report builder in Power BI

A great feature in Report Builder is the description box of the Properties pane.

report builder in Power BI

This box gives a concise description on the format option you selected and provides helpful tips on how they’re used.

When you run your report, you’ll see that with a few clicks, the simple formatting you applied made it look more comprehensible.

report builder in Power BI

***** Related Links *****
Create A Blank Report Using Power BI Report Builder
How To Import Datasets Into Report Builder
Paginated Report In Power BI: An Introduction


This tutorial offered a quick demonstration on the different visualizations or objects you can add in a paginated report. It also offers a discussion on how to format them in a way that makes your final report cohesive.

It’s recommended to use Report Builder when you want a pixel perfect copy of a report. Its built-in features make it easy to draft a report that looks professionally made.

This is different when creating reports in the Power BI program. The main purpose of using Report Builder is to create a report that fits perfectly within a page regardless of the number of rows or columns in the table.


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