Menu
Microsoft expands Power BI's visualizations with help from users

Microsoft expands Power BI's visualizations with help from users

New gallery shows off custom graphs and charts for anyone to use

One of the challenges that business intelligence software users face is generating the right sort of visualizations for the data they have.

That's why Microsoft announced support for custom visualizations across its Power BI service Monday. Developers can now use tools provided by the company on Github to create .pbviz files that can then be imported directly into Power BI's web interface for use in analyzing data. (Microsoft will also be making that functionality available to the Power BI Desktop client next week.) 

Users who don't want to build or buy bespoke visuals can also pick from ones submitted by community members to a new Power BI Gallery site. Microsoft is hosting that site so people can more easily find and share custom visualizations with the world. Right now, there are a slew of options for users to choose from, including an animated fish tank with fish that resize based on the data source they're fed. 

Because those visualizations are all built using the same framework, they work similarly to native graphs and charts that come built into Power BI. When users click on a section of a chart, all of the other visualizations on a page will narrow down what they're showing to highlight what just got selected. 

Microsoft will be reviewing all of the submissions in its gallery, Technical Fellow Amir Netz said in an interview. It won't be going over them with a fine-toothed comb, just looking hard enough to make sure that they work and aren't hiding malicious code. 

Adding all of those user generated visuals is a massive boon for Microsoft, since the Power BI community produced more custom visualizations now than the team working on the product was able to create in the past four years. Moving forward, Netz said that Microsoft hopes to constantly add new visualizations to the service, moving them through review in less than 24 hours. 

Visualizations provided through the gallery are free, but Microsoft always links back to their publishers, so developers who want to make money from creating custom visualizations can offer a taste of what they're capable of through the Power BI gallery and then sell more bespoke graphs to customers outside Microsoft's ecosystem -- which can still be imported into Power BI and used like those visuals that come from the gallery.  

What's missing from all this is a system that helps users pick the right visualizations for the data they have loaded into Power BI. While having a massive selection of different graphs and charts is a boon for the service, Microsoft will need to find ways to better organize charts so people have an easier time finding what they need. 

Netz said that Microsoft will be adding functionality in the future that will allow people to rate and categorize visualizations to make high-quality ones in different fields more accessible. 

It's all part of Microsoft's ongoing push to compete with entrenched players in the business intelligence space like its Seattle-area neighbor Tableau. Microsoft laid the groundwork for all of this in July, when the company announced its tools for creating custom visualizations alongside the general availability of the Power BI service and Power BI Desktop app. 


Follow Us

Join the newsletter!

Or

Sign up to gain exclusive access to email subscriptions, event invitations, competitions, giveaways, and much more.

Membership is free, and your security and privacy remain protected. View our privacy policy before signing up.

Error: Please check your email address.

Tags Microsoft

Events

Featured

Slideshows

Meet the Reseller News 30 Under 30 Tech Awards 2020 winners

Meet the Reseller News 30 Under 30 Tech Awards 2020 winners

This year’s Reseller News 30 Under 30 Tech Awards were held as an integral part of the first entirely virtual Emerging Leaders​ forum, an annual event dedicated to identifying, educating and showcasing the New Zealand technology market’s rising stars. The 30 Under 30 Tech Awards 2020 recognised the outstanding achievements and business excellence of 30 talented individuals​, across both young leaders and those just starting out. In this slideshow, Reseller News honours this year's winners and captures their thoughts about how their ideas of leadership have changed over time.​

Meet the Reseller News 30 Under 30 Tech Awards 2020 winners
Reseller News Exchange Auckland: Beyond the myths — how partners can master cloud security

Reseller News Exchange Auckland: Beyond the myths — how partners can master cloud security

This exclusive Reseller News Exchange event in Auckland explored the challenges facing the partner community on the cloud security frontier, as well as market trends, customer priorities and how the channel can capitalise on the opportunities available. In association with Arrow, Bitdefender, Exclusive Networks, Fortinet and Palo Alto Networks. Photos by Gino Demeer.

Reseller News Exchange Auckland: Beyond the myths — how partners can master cloud security
Reseller News welcomes industry figures at 2020 Hall of Fame lunch

Reseller News welcomes industry figures at 2020 Hall of Fame lunch

Reseller News welcomed 2019 inductees - Leanne Buer, Ross Jenkins and Terry Dunn - to the fourth running of the Reseller News Hall of Fame lunch, held at the French Cafe in Auckland. The inductees discussed the changing face of the IT channel ecosystem in New Zealand and what it means to be a Reseller News Hall of Fame inductee. Photos by Gino Demeer.

Reseller News welcomes industry figures at 2020 Hall of Fame lunch
Show Comments