Recently, I was looking to enhance the looks of a Power BI report & was playing around with different available conditional formatting techniques. During this, I came across an idea to use the icons that we used in conditional formatting, as the axis of a visual.
In this blog, I’ll be sharing a simple trick using which you can enhance the feel of your Power BI reports by using Icons as an axis on any desired visual.
So, Let’s get started!
- Intro to the Dataset
- Adding Icons to the Dataset
- Visualizing using the Icons
Intro to the Dataset
For this example, I have used a simple Vehicle dataset that has speed-related information on the different types of vehicles on India’s NH7 highway. After a few transformations, this is how the main table looks like:
As you can see, we have a column that specifies the vehicle’s type and other columns for subtype, time slot & speed. The Vehicle Type column has a limited number of unique categories, hence it makes a perfect choice for this blog.
Tip: Avoid implementing icons for columns with a huge number of categories as it will make the visuals cluttered & confusing.
Adding Icons to the dataset:
To add icons to the dataset, it is recommended to create a column in a dimension table. If the dimension table is not present already it can be created by taking a unique column from the existing table. In this example, I have a Vehicle dimension table with a ‘Vehicle Type’ column with unique values.
The next step is to add a Custom column with Unicode Symbols to represent each category of the Vehicle.
Then, in Power BI Desktop, create a new DAX column in the Dimension table with the following formula:
Vehicle Icon = UNICHAR(Vehicle[Unicode])
Make sure that your dimensional table is connected & filtering the table with the actual data.
Visualizing using the Icons
You can now go ahead & create a visual using this new column as the axis. Here’s how it will look like:
You can increase/decrease the size of the icons as desired for your report. Moreover, you can use these icons as Slicers too:
Using this technique, you can enhance the looks of your Power BI Dashboard & improve the user’s experience. Make sure that the icons truly represent the categories & are of limited numbers to avoid confusion. Thanks for reading!
Team Lead – Data Analytics