Whether you are using the free desktop version or the paid professional version, one of the biggest challenges with Power BI is customizing your dashboards and reports to fit your analytical requirements. While all versions come equipped with a library of visualization templates, and there are some industry-specific content packs (including pre-built reports, dashboards, Excel workbooks, and datasets) all out-of-the-box, most organizations will need to make alterations to these assets to better fit their operations.
When creating or editing a Power BI dashboard, you have access to a ton of different types of visuals. There are visuals that come pre-packaged when you download Power BI desktop or open the Power BI service, and there are custom visuals that you can choose to use.
Custom Visuals for Power BI
Defined by Microsoft, “Custom visuals are packages that include code for rendering the data served to them.” Custom visuals are an effective way to enable your business users to see the data they need to see in a way they need to see it. In the ribbon bar, you will see a “Custom Visuals” section where you have the option to choose “From Marketplace” or “From File.”
The Marketplace, aka AppSource, includes a rich library of fully customizable, open-source data visualizations that you can search for and import into your Power BI solution. Once you find the charts or advanced analytics you want to use, you can download it, and the new icon will appear under your Visualizations bar. Now you can add it to any report or dashboard and start using it immediately.
We’ve taken a few samples off Microsoft to show you what kind of custom visuals currently exist on AppSource: