Skip to Content

What are themes in power bi?

Power BI is a business analytics service by Microsoft that provides interactive visualizations and business intelligence capabilities. Themes in Power BI allow users to customize the overall look and feel of reports and dashboards.

Introduction to Themes

Themes in Power BI include the background colors, text colors, and various design elements that control the visual styling of a report or dashboard. Themes allow creators to brand reports, match company styles, or just improve the aesthetic experience.

Applying a theme updates colors across visuals, pages, and other aspects of a Power BI file. Themes help reports look consistent, professional, and integrated. They also make sharing reports across an organization more cohesive.

Accessing Themes

Themes can be accessed in Power BI in a few ways:

  • From the view tab
  • By selecting a visual then formatting options
  • Through the theme drop down when editing a report page

This allows applying both overall themes as well as customizing themes for specific pages or visuals.

Types of Themes

There are a few main types of themes in Power BI:

Built-In Themes

Power BI comes with several pre-made theme options including:

  • Default theme
  • Office theme
  • Power BI theme
  • High contrast themes

These provide quick options to change the overall feel. They use color palettes and fonts designed by Microsoft to work well for reports.

Custom Themes

Custom themes can be created by modifying the built-in themes. This allows tweaking colors, fonts, and other elements. Custom themes can be saved and shared within an organization.

Organizational Themes

Organizational themes are created once and managed centrally. They allow applying standardized branding and styles across all reports published within a company.

Creating Custom Themes

To create a custom theme in Power BI:

  1. Start with a built-in theme
  2. Modify the colors, fonts, and design aspects
  3. Save the theme with a descriptive name
  4. Apply the custom theme to any reports

Custom properties that can be adjusted include:

Property Description
Background color The color used for the background of a report page
Text color The default color used for visual titles, labels, and other text
Font The default font family and weight
Visual colors The palette of colors used to style charts, graphs, and other visuals
Table styles Colors and formatting for tables and matrices

Take the time to test custom themes on different visual types to ensure readability and alignment with branding goals.

Organizational Themes

Organizational themes allow enterprises to standardize Power BI styling across teams and departments. They provide the following advantages:

  • Brand consistency across all reports
  • No need to reinvent themes for each report
  • Manage themes from a central theme gallery
  • Modify themes from a single source of truth

Organizational themes require planning and management to develop and improve over time. Key steps include:

  1. Audit existing reports and branding guidelines
  2. Design 1-2 organization-wide themes
  3. Socialize themes internally and gather feedback
  4. Publish themes to dedicated workspace for distribution
  5. Monitor adoption and modify themes as needed

Maintaining themes in a central workspace allows modifying styles, adding new color palettes, and updating fonts in one place.

Best Practices for Themes

Follow these best practices when working with themes in Power BI:

  • Use themes consistently across reports and dashboards shared with the same audiences
  • Test themes on smaller visuals like KPIs to ensure text remains readable
  • Stick with 2-3 core organizational themes maximum to simplify decisions
  • Avoid using many conflicting colors in custom themes
  • Ask stakeholders to review themes during development cycles
  • Document theme usage guidelines for your organization
  • Plan to revisit themes quarterly/annually as brand styles evolve

Theme Limitations

There are some current limitations to keep in mind when working with themes:

  • Limited font selection – only a few typefaces available
  • Per-visual customization not available – themes apply to full reports/dashboards
  • Limited theme export options – cannot export as a theme file
  • No programmatic theme management – all work via Power BI interface

These limitations may improve over time as the product matures. Organizations can also use Power BI embedding and APIs to build any additional needed customizations.

Sharing Themes

To share Power BI themes with others:

  1. Custom themes can be saved individually to personal folders
  2. Organizational themes should be published to a workspace for discovery
  3. Themes can then be applied directly from the workspace to reports
  4. To export a theme, save the PBIX report file with the theme applied

Remember to document organizational themes and guidelines on internal portals or wikis for easy reference.

Theme Design Tips

Follow these tips when designing effective themes:

  • Use a limited color palette – 3-5 core colors
  • Make sure text and background colors have enough contrast
  • Test themes on smaller visuals to ensure usability
  • Use colors sparingly – don’t overload visuals
  • Pick appropriate fonts – simple, easy to read
  • Reuse colors consistently across visual types
  • Avoid busy patterns or distracting background images

Well-designed themes will look clean, emphasize important data, and conform to branding needs for sharing reports.


Themes in Power BI provide powerful options for customizing the look and feel of reports and dashboards. Built-in themes offer quick styling, while custom and organizational themes allow better branding control.

Themes should be designed with care to balance aesthetics and functionality. Over time, organizations can cultivate theme galleries to provide consistent styling and simplify reporting for business users. With mindful use of themes, Power BI reports can become more engaging, readable, and impactful.