Customize Any Power BI Visual To Display Icons on Axis

  • Published
  • Posted in Power BI
  • Updated
  • 3 mins read

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!

Blog Structure:

  • Intro to the Dataset
  • Adding Icons to the Dataset
  • Visualizing using the Icons
  • Conclusion

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!

Karan Nair
Team Lead – Data Analytics
Addend Analytics

Addend Analytics is a Microsoft Gold Partner based in Mumbai, India, and a branch office in the U.S.

Addend has successfully implemented 100+ Microsoft Power BI and Business Central projects for 100+ clients across sectors like Financial Services, Banking, Insurance, Retail, Sales, Manufacturing, Real estate, Logistics, and Healthcare in countries like the US, Europe, Switzerland, and Australia.

Get a free consultation now by emailing us or contacting us.