Using Color Schemes For Power BI Data Visualization

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Creating a high-quality color palette for your Power BI data visualization is essential to make your reports look compelling and professional.

I’m constantly seeing some reports that use a generic color palette from Power BI, which affects the visualization and representation of their insights.

I personally can’t stand these colors as they just don’t do your work any favor when engaging your consumers into your insights.

So, if you want to create great reports, you need to spend a bit more time finding a good and coherent theme that you can implement in your models.

Sample Report Visualization In Power BI

Let’s try to use this report as an example. I’ll be showing you some of the colors that I am using in a particular report, and how I use them in combination with one another.

sample report visualization in Power BI

I used the same theme throughout my entire report. I tried to match good colors that will work together.

This report was utilized during the Enterprise DNA learning summit last May, 2018. We went through six different workshop sessions over three days, and a lot of analytical insights were discussed around how you can create really compelling Power BI reports. A big part of that was related to visualization.

Now, some of you might think that it’s quite hard to find good color combinations. During this tutorial, I’ll discuss how you can create really great and compelling color themes in your reports. I’ll run through my process and show how I create color palettes from scratch.

Showcase Page For Power BI Data Visualization

First of all, I’ll be showing you this Enterprise DNA Power BI Showcase page. This is where you can get some inspiration for colors.

Showcase Page For Power BI Data Visualization

You can also use the live demos for each report and dashboard. If you want to download all of these, you just have to upgrade to a Enterprise DNA membership. This is certainly something to consider if you really want to master Power BI visualizations and analytical techniques.

The Color Palette FX Website

In creating color palettes, I mostly use two key websites. The first one is called Color Palette FX.

Color Palette FX Website for generating color themes

This website automatically generates palettes of color based on an image that you already have. For instance, if you have a company website, logo, or any other company-related image, we can just place it into this image box.

uploading image within the Color Palette FX Website

Then, it would automatically come up with a palette of colors based exactly on the image that you have uploaded. 

Generated color palettes from the Color Palette FX Website

Let’s check out this image here.

sample image for generating color palette

The image above is the one that I used for the sample report that I previously showed. It doesn’t look exactly the same because I only chose the particular colors I wanted to use. But you can still see that there were some colors from the image which I utilized in this report.

If you want to download this resource, all you have to do is to register for the learning summit. During the summit, you will not just learn about creating compelling good reports and models in Power BI, but you’ll also be able to download this resource, and see how I’ve developed the visualization. 

Uploading An Image To Generate A Color Palette

Now, let’s try to upload the image on the Color Palette FX website. The first thing that we need to do is to click the camera icon.

uploading the image on the Color Palette FX website for Power BI data visualization

Then find the file that we want to upload.

As you can see, I just added the image. And now, I’ve got this entire palette which I can click through to get any combination of colors that I can apply to my color theme.

Generated color palettes from the Color Palette FX Website for Power BI data visualization

Another thing that you’ll get if you come to the learning summit is a text file. This file contains settings on how your themes need to be set up. This format is what you’ll be using so you can completely implement the color palette in your Power BI reports.

json file for Power BI data visualization

You just need to click Import Theme from the Switch Theme options. 

Switch Theme Option for Power BI data visualization

So, the first thing you should do is to look for colors that you would like to use. After clicking on the color, you need to copy the Hex value.

Then, you should paste it into this format from the text file.

json file for Power BI data visualization

After that, you need to turn it into a json file. You can do this by saving it with a .json file extension. Then, you may import the file after saving it. And that’s the core of what I do for color themes. I always like to start with a random image of my choice, and then use a website to generate colors from the image.

Using The Coolors Website

If I’m not yet satisfied with the generated palette from the previous website, I also go to this really great website called Coolors. This is also free to use. It can generate a palette of similar colors that work together.

For example, if we want to use this particular color, we just need to copy the Hex color code value.

Then, let’s paste it into this part of the Coolors website.

 And then let’s try to use this light greenish color.

Paste it again here, and make sure to lock both colors.

Finally, just press the space bar. As you’ve probably noticed, these three colors are now creating the other parts of our palette and generating different colors that we can utilize in our report.

You can now get it into your model to have this coherent color scheme that we can utilize and implement in our reports.

Conclusion

That’s how you implement great colors within Power BI. Primarily, I gain inspiration from an image. Then I upload that image in a web-based tool to generate the color palette for me. From generating all of these unique codes for my color palette, I then create my palette template and integrate this into Power BI.

Another important design tip: utilize good color combinations and do not overdo it.

I highly recommend working through the video to understand both my work and thought processes on how to generate great color palettes in Power BI for your own work.

For many more design and report creation tips, check out the Dashboarding & Data Visualization Intensive course module at Enterprise DNA Online.

Also, don’t forget to check out the Enterprise DNA Showcase page for more inspiration on how to set up reports in Power BI.

Enjoy working through this detailed video.

Sam

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