Power BI Themes Capability - FINALLY

Every new release of MSFT Power BI delivers one or more “long awaited” feature to the data visualization space. These resonate most with those using the latest versions of the market leading platforms at scale. Reaching back to the March release, MSFT introduces one such feature learning from others' previous attempts to provide a well thought out Theme capability and complimentary them gallery. The approach to use an open json based theme definition allows crowd sourcing of a wide range of tools to help create/customize/edit themes.

Color is a critical element of visual design serving multiple functions when visualizing, exploring, and comparing data. We now have the capability to quickly apply custom or standard color themes to any Power BI solution. To date, it has been tedious across the premier visualization platforms for designers to create flexible and reusable templates and themes that provide a rich user experience. Not to mention, the effort to apply updates and maintenance which could require touch every report and element to cascade a basic change to the color pallet.

(Figure A - MSFT Shared Theme Gallery)


The goal for most organizations as they roll-out Power BI for "canned" (or enterprise application embedded reports) built by BI developers as well as self-service reports built or customized by business users, is they focus on creating visualizations that expose insights and respond quickly to stakeholder requests. A specialized UX Design team should create the templates and themes ensuring the color pallet and chart patterns will deliver a polished and brand aligned design and consistent experience.

Since the release of the Theme standard the volume shared themes has grown every week. The JSON approach is similar to advanced CSS for websites providing flexibility and maintaining simplicity. There is already a large public library of templates (see link A above), tool to quickly generate a new template (see link B below), and considerable online documentation and videos covering the concept.

(Figure B - Theme Generation Tool)

With this capability - no (technical) reason remains for a lack of symmetry and consistency across reports and dashboards regardless of who is authoring the content.

The consumption of a Theme when authoring self-service deliverables is a requirement to unlock the full potential for business users producing internal and client deliverables. By applying MSFT Theme, business (non-technical) users capitalize on their domain/industry expertise and client awareness while maintaining design consistency.

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