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The Power BI Color Theme

Author by Seth Bauer

It seems that in every release there is at least one “long awaited” feature that resonates with the masses. I’m thinking this release of the Color Themes in Power BI is one of those features. For any avid or heavy user of Power BI you know the time it takes to come up with and implement a solid theme of colors across a report. Whether it is utilizing the company color scheme or just unifying colors across the many visuals in all your report pages, setting the colors can be a laborious task. Page by page, visual by visual and you get all the way to the end and realize that there is a better color that would work now… queue the music as you trudge through the monotonous task of going through the entire report again.
With the arrival of this new feature that allows us to set color themes we can control the overall look and feel, and input those colors that work together in our visuals without having to continuously check your favorite color matching tool. (ahem…
Now, we can grab those colors in the form of the hex code and script them into a JSON file to upload the colors for our entire report. (Breath sigh of relief) Remember the stories of your parents walking both ways up hill and back to school?... I sort of feel that this is that story I’ll be telling to people down the road. For instance, like talking with new users of Power BI at the Data Insights Summit 2017 coming in June, in which a conversation I can envision having include something like, “yeah, back in the day you had to manually set every color on each visual.”

A few things to note when using the Color Theme features. First, the theme won’t automatically apply the color theme to reports where you’ve manually set or customized the colors. Second, the colors will apply in the order they are set up or ranked in the JSON to the order of your fields in the visual, so when building your reports if you repeat the same field in multiple visuals, put them in the same order so that the same color is automatically applied to the same fields in use. This will allow you to leave all the default colors in the report, pick your color theme, and download it without much tweaking after the fact.

I can’t measure the actual impact and whether this rates highly on others scales as far as features are concerned, but I am extremely excited for this feature as it will save me an extraordinary amount of time when building my reports. Speaking of saving time. If this feature wasn’t cool enough I would encourage you to check out several tools that help you generate your JSON files. Michael Carlo’s “Color Theme Generator” that allows you to select colors or manually enter your hex codes, and he also includes the corresponding tutorial on how to set up themes. Or Chuck Sterling’s “Color Theme Creator” where he uses the Paletton color wheel or preset patterns to generate selections. Both tools automatically generate the JSON file and you can automatically upload it into Power BI.
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