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Using Custom Themes In Power BI

Author by Jeff Lipkowitz

Using Custom Themes In Power BI 

An organization’s data needs often span beyond getting user-critical metrics and actions defined and then built into an appropriate report or dashboard. Marketing often wants a consistent look and feel associated with reports and dashboards to keep all customer-facing material consistent. 

When these scenarios arise, it is often easier to use custom themes within Power BI – unlocking the power for organizations to deliver a consistent look and feel across dashboards and reports with ease. 

Custom Themes in Power BI 

You may want them to follow your company's visual branding guidelines. This means that you need to customize the individual visual elements of your reports and dashboards.

Customize a Theme in Power BI Desktop

There are a few ways a user can create a use custom report themes. 

In this post, I will focus on how users can use pre-packaged custom themes within Power BI Desktop. 

I want to first explain where the built-in themes are within the Power BI desktop application and how custom themes can be applied to your existing reports. 

Start by clicking on the “Report” tab in the left-hand ribbon in Power BI. After clicking on the ribbon, you will see a set of default options that can be chosen. 

 Power BI Themes is Your Most Powerful Design Tool


Often, the default choices do not necessary fit the bill. Select the gallery to see a more complete list of pre-built themes.  Users can select different themes by category. 



You can also browse the Themes Gallery to get a better understanding of other great themes that can be used. 



Introduction to Report Theme JSON Files

Make sure to download the JSON file to use any of the themes. 


After downloading the JSON file, go back to the “View” tab in Power BI Desktop: 



To select the JSON, click “Browse for themes”, select the JSON file, and then that theme will be applied. After selecting the file, you should see the following message appear: 




Creating a New Theme by Customizing an Existing Theme

In addition to using the report themes that are part of Power BI, you can also create your own custom themes. To do this, you need to download one of the default themes, and save it as a local theme file. Once you've created a new theme, you can simply publish it to the gallery. This local theme is easy to share with others and use in all of your reports. 


As I demonstrated, it can be very easy to select and use a pre-built, customized theme. There are a variety of themes available to make your Power BI Dashboards pop. Think of a Power BI theme as what the master slide is to PowerPoint. The custom theme is your master slide, speeding up development time by creating an easy-to-use, consistent look and feel across all of your reports and dashboards in Power BI. 


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