Power BI Conditional Formatting: The Ultimate How-To Guide

on Conditional Formatting, Power BI, Power BI Conditional Formatting • March 11th, 2022 • Write for Hevo

Power Bi Conditional Formatting | Cover

Power BI Conditional Formatting allows users to custom-code cells with respect to color and field values to better understand what significance a set of cells corresponds to in terms of information for better decision-making.

Extending on that, Power BI also allows users to picture data as data bars, KPI icons, and active weblinks. And, a step forward, it is possible to apply conditional formatting to any text or data field in Power BI as long as certain information is present in the form of, and as the Microsoft Documentation confers, has “a field that has numeric, color name or hex code, or web URL values.”

In this tutorial article, we will learn all about Power BI Conditional Formatting. And, to make a coherent understanding of the subject, learn about Power BI and features and Conditional Formatting in general. Let’s begin.

Table of Content

  1. What is Power BI?
  2. What is Conditional Formatting?
  3. Power BI Conditional Formatting
  4. Conclusion

What is Power BI?

Power BI Conditional Formatting | Power BI Logo
Power BI

Power BI — a set of software services, apps, and connectors — works as a tool that transforms data from multiple data sources into logical, visually immersive, and interactive insights for today’s organizations to make data-driven decisions. Data could be in an Excel spreadsheet or is a collection of hybrid data warehouses — both cloud-based and on-premises. In short, Power BI makes it straightforward to connect to data sources, visualize and uncover what matters for your business, share critical findings with whomever you desire.

Some Exquisite Features of Power BI are as Follows:

  • Wide Array of Attractive Visualizations: In Power BI, visualizations or the visual representation of data, play a crucial role. It has a large number of detailed and appealing visualizations. You can make reports and dashboards with as few or as many visuals as you wish to describe your data set. A library for custom visualizations is also provided.
  • A Multitude of Data Integration Options: Power BI users can choose from a variety of data sources using the Get Data function. The data sources can range from on-premise to cloud-based, unstructured to structured data. Every month, new data sources are added.
  • Datasets Filtration Process: A dataset is a single set of data formed by combining data from many sources. The datasets can be used to build a variety of visualizations. A dataset might be made up of data from a single source, such as an Excel worksheet, or data from multiple sources.
  • Dashboards are Comtomizable: Dashboards are a collection of data visualizations that provide useful information or insights. In Power BI, most dashboards are made up of tiles that contain numerous visualizations. They’re single pages taken from reports. The dashboards can be printed as well as shared.

What is Conditional Formatting?

Many spreadsheet software have a feature that allows you to apply custom formatting to cells that fulfill certain conditions known as conditional formatting. Conditional formatting is most commonly used to highlight, emphasize, or separate facts and information in a spreadsheet using color-based formatting.

Users of spreadsheets can do a variety of things with conditional formatting. First and foremost, it highlights critical information such as deadlines, high-risk assignments, and budget items. It can also break up a wall of statistics with a visual organizational component, making enormous data sets more palatable. Finally, conditional formatting can turn your spreadsheet (previously solely used to store data) into a reliable “alert” system that highlights important facts and keeps you on top of your job.

Other spreadsheet applications like PowerBI, Smartsheet, and Google Sheets have inherited this functionality, which was originally a powerful feature of Excel.

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Power BI Conditional Formatting

Power BI Conditional Formatting is fairly easy to use and activating it is a one-click step. To apply Power BI Conditional Formatting in Power BI Desktop simply select a Table or a Matrix visualization. Now in the Visualization pane, you will have to select by right-clicking the down-arrow next to the “Values” field. Now select conditional formatting and the type of formatting you want.

Power BI Conditional Formatting
Credit: Microsoft Documentation

To remove Power BI conditional formatting from a visualization, go to the field’s drop-down menu and select “Remove conditional formatting,” and then select the type of formatting you want.

Power BI Conditional Formatting
Credit: Microsoft Documentation

How to Apply Power BI Conditional Formatting to a Format Background or Font Color?

Select Power BI Conditional formatting for a field and then either Background color or Font color from the drop-down menu to format cell background or font color.

Power BI Conditional Formatting | Format Background or Font Color
Credit: Microsoft Documentation

The Background color or font color dialogue box will appear with the title containing the name of the field you’re formatting. Select OK after you’ve made your Power BI conditional formatting choices.

Power BI Conditional Formatting | Format Background or Font Color
Credit: Microsoft Documentation

Background color and Font color are the same. However, they impact the cells’ background color and font color. The field’s font color and background color might have the same or distinct conditional formatting. When the font and background of a field are the same color, the type merges into the background, leaving only the colors visible in the table column.

How to Apply Power BI Conditional Formatting to a Color-code Using a Color Scale?

YOu can select the color scale in the Format section by field of the Background color or Font color dialogue box to format cell background or font color by color scale. Select the field on which the formatting will be based under “Based on the field”. The Power BI Conditional Formatting can be based on the current field or any other field in your model that contains numerical or color data.

Power BI Conditional Formatting | Color-code using a Color Scale
Credit: Microsoft Documentation

Select the aggregation type you want to use for the specified field under “Summarization.” Select the formatting type to apply under Default formatting type.

Power BI Conditional Formatting | Color-code using a Color Scale
Credit: Microsoft Documentation

The following is an example table with color scale background formatting in the Affordability column:

Power BI Conditional Formatting | Color-code using a Color Scale
Credit: Microsoft Documentation

How to Apply Power BI Conditional Formatting to a Color by Rules?

Select Rules in the Format by field of the Background color or Font color dialogue box to format cell background or font color according to rules. Based on field displays select the field on which the formatting is based, and Summarization displays the field’s aggregate type.

Enter one or more value ranges and colors for each under Rules. There is an “If” value condition, a value condition, and a color for each value range. Each value range’s cell backgrounds or fonts are colored with the specified color. There are three rules in the following example:

Power BI Conditional Formatting | Color by Rules
Credit: Microsoft Documentation

If you choose Percent from this option, the rule boundaries will be specified as a percentage of the whole range of values from lowest to maximum. If the lowest data point was 100 and the highest was 400, the preceding rules would color anything under 200 green, anything between 200 and 300 yellow, and anything over 300 red.

The following is an example table with rules-based background color formatting dependent on the Percent column in the Affordability column:

Power BI Conditional Formatting | Color by Rules
Credit: Microsoft Documentation

How to Apply Power BI Conditional Formatting in Color by Rules for Percentages?

If the field on which the formatting is based contains percentages, write the numbers in the rules as decimals representing the actual values, such as “.25” instead of “25.” Also, instead of Percent, choose Number as the number format. “If the value is more than or equal to 0 Number and less than.25 Number,” for example, yields numbers less than 25%.

Power BI Conditional Formatting | Color by Rules
Credit: Microsoft Documentation

0 to 25% is red, 26 percent to 41 percent is yellow, and 42 percent and more is blue in this sample table with rules-based backdrop color on the percent revenue region column:

Power BI Conditional Formatting | Color by Rules
Credit: Microsoft Documentation

How to Apply Power BI Conditional Formatting in Color by Color Values?

If you have a field or measure with color names or hex values, you can use Power BI conditional formatting to apply to those colors with a background or font color of a column automatically. Custom logic can also be used to add colors to the font or a background.

Each state is assigned a color name in the table below:

Power BI Conditional Formatting | Formatting in Color by Color Values
Credit: Microsoft Documentation

Select “Conditional formatting” for the Color field, then background color or Font color to format the Color column based on its field values.

Select Field value from the Format by drop-down field in the background color or font color dialogue box.

Power BI Conditional Formatting | Formatting in Color by Color Values
Credit: Microsoft Documentation

The following is an example table using color field value-based Background color formatting in the Color field:

Power BI Conditional Formatting | Formatting in Color by Color Values
Credit: Microsoft Documentation

If you additionally use Field value to format the font color of the column, the color column will have a solid color:

Power BI Conditional Formatting | Formatting in Color by Color Values
Credit: Microsoft Documentation

How to Apply Power BI Conditional Formatting to a Color Based on a Calculation?

You can use business logic conditions to generate a calculation that outputs distinct results. Creating a formula is frequently faster than using the Power BI conditional formatting dialogue to create several rules.

For example, depending on current Affordability column values, the following algorithm assigns hex color values to a new Affordability rank column:

Power BI Conditional Formatting | Formatting to a Color Based on a Calculation
Credit: Microsoft Documentation

Select Background color or Font color conditional formatting for the Affordability column, and then base the formatting on the Field value of the Affordability rank column to apply the colors.

Power BI Conditional Formatting | Formatting to a Color Based on a Calculation
Credit: Microsoft Documentation

The following is an example table with an Affordability background color based on the estimated Affordability rank:

Power BI Conditional Formatting | Formatting to a Color Based on a Calculation
Credit: Microsoft Documentation

How to Apply Power BI Conditional Formatting for Adding Data Bars?

Select “Conditional formatting” for the Affordability field, then Data bars from the drop-down box to display data bars based on cell values.

The Show bar’s only option is unchecked by default in the Data bars dialogue, so the table cells display both the bars and the actual numbers. Select the Show bar only after checking the box to only show the data bars.

You can customize the Minimum and Maximum values and the colors and direction of the data bars and the axis color.

Power BI Conditional Formatting | Adding Data Bars
Credit: Microsoft Documentation

The example table looks like this with data bars appended to the Affordability column:

Power BI Conditional Formatting | Adding Data Bars
Credit: Microsoft Documentation

How to Apply Power BI Conditional Formatting to Add Icons?

Select Conditional Formatting for the field, then Icons from the drop-down box to display icons depending on the cell values.

Select Rules or Field value under the Format, in the Icons dialogue.

Choose a Based on field, Summarization method, Icon layout, Icon alignment, icon Style, and one or more Rules to format by rules. Select an icon to apply to each rule and input one or more rules with an If value condition and a value condition, present under the Rules.

Select a “Based on field,” “Summarization method,” “Icon layout,” and “Icon alignment” to format by field values.

The following example uses three rules to add icons:

Power BI Conditional Formatting | Conditional Formatting to Add Icons
Credit: Microsoft Documentation

Choose OK. The sample table looks like this with icons assigned to the Affordability column by rules:

Power BI Conditional Formatting | Conditional Formatting to Add Icons
Credit: Microsoft Documentation

How Apply Power BI Conditional Formatting to Format as Web URLs?

You can use Power BI conditional formatting to apply website URLs to fields as active links if you have a column or measure that contains them. The following table, for example, has a Website column with website URLs for each state:

Power BI Conditional Formatting | Format as Web URLs
Format as Web URLsCredit: Microsoft Documentation

Select conditional formatting for the State field, then Web URL to show each state’s name as a live link to its Website. Select Website Based on the field in the Web URL dialogue box, then click on OK.

Each state’s name is an active link to its website when Web URL formatting is added to the State field. The state column in the concurrent sample table contains Web URL formatting options, while the overall rank column has conditional data bars.

Power BI Conditional Formatting | Format as Web URLs
Credit: Microsoft Documentation

How to apply Power BI Conditional Formatting Totals and Subtotals?

Totals and subtotals can be formatted using conditional formatting rules in both table and matrix graphics.

The Apply to drop-down in Power BI conditional formatting is used to apply the conditional formatting rules, as seen in the accompanying image.

Power BI Conditional Formatting | Totals and Subtotals
Credit: Microsoft Documentation

The thresholds and ranges for Power BI conditional formatting rules must be manually set. Values refer to the lowest detectable level of the matrix hierarchy in matrices.

How to apply Color-code Power BI Conditional Formatting Based on Text?

You can’t color-code text values to appear as a specific color, like “Accepted” =blue, “Declined” =red, or “None” =grey, like you can in Excel. Instead, you develop measures based on these variables and apply them to the format.

SWITCH(‘Table'[Status], “Accepted”, “blue”, “Declined”, “red”, “None”, “grey”), for example.

The Status field is then formatted in the Background color dialogue box based on the values in the StatusColor field.

Power BI Conditional Formatting | Based on Text
Credit: Microsoft Documentation

The value determines the formatting in the resulting table in the StatusColor field, which is determined by the text in the Status field.

Power BI Conditional Formatting | Based on Text
Credit: Microsoft Documentation

Conclusion

In this tutorial article, we have gone into detail about Power BI Conditional Formatting, its features, and how to use those features. Moreover, we have also discussed in detail the basics of conditional formatting and Power BI at the start. If you want to learn more about how Power BI Conditional Formatting works, I would recommend either of these two articles:

  1. Use conditional formatting in tables
  2. Tips and tricks for formatting in reports

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