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Custom Power BI Themes: Page Background Colors

Custom Power BI Themes: Background Colors

In a previous blog post, we looked at how to get started with custom Power BI themes. We created a custom color palette and defined the basic JSON theme file. In this blog post, we will look at how to change the background colors of Power BI reports.

There are two types of backgrounds in Power BI reports. The first is the Page Background, which is the background of the report itself. The second is the Wallpaper, which is the outer color surrounding the report.

Original Report

To keep things simple and consistent in my posts, I will use the Power BI sample reports by Microsoft and obviEnce. This way, I can test my themes on existing reports with several different visualizations.

(And, uh, I prefer to use existing sample reports because I tend to get hung up on details. If I work with my own reports, I will most likely get distracted building new visualizations or moving things around. So! Sample reports it is.)

In this post, I will use the Human Resources sample. The page Actives and Separations looks like this:

Custom Power BI Themes: Page Background Colors - Original

The Page Background is white, while the Wallpaper (showing as bars on the top and bottom) is gray.

Let’s change some colors!

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Custom Power BI Themes: Getting Started

Cathrine Wilhelmsen creating custom Power BI themes

Power BI comes with several built-in themes and a whole gallery full of custom themes available for download. But what if you still can’t find the perfect look for your reports? No problem! Just create your own custom Power BI themes :)

…sounds simple enough, right? It only takes a few minutes to create a custom Power BI theme with a color palette of your choice. Whoosh – instant custom branding!

But if you are like me, simple color changes might not be enough. Maybe you want finer control of borders, fonts, labels, or other visual elements. Or maybe you just don’t want to keep changing the same settings over and over and over again in multiple visualizations and reports. (Please don’t do that.)

You can control all of these things in custom Power BI themes. It is, however, not quite as simple as creating a color palette… yet. (You never know when the Power BI product team will blow your mind with a new update!) But for now, we need to define custom themes in JSON files.

(Does the thought of writing JSON make you go “eww” or “ugh“? Don’t worry! Just head on over to the PowerBI.tips Report Theme Generator instead and let it do the work for you. It is a fantastic resource!)

Learning with Cathrine

Since I have an awful memory and can barely remember what I did last month, I will be blogging while learning how to create my own custom Power BI themes. That means that all posts and examples may change at any time. And I’m sure they will, every time I learn something new.

My posts will be more like journal entries than technical references, but my goal is to create a series of cheat sheets for myself that I can reference later. Maybe you can learn something as well? :)

In this post, I will focus on the basics and share some resources to help you get started. I will first create my color palette, then define the basic JSON theme file that I will continue to build on in later blog posts.

Ok. Let’s go! :)

Picking Colors

Cathrine Wilhelmsen Creating Custom Color Palette

First, make sure you read Meagan Longoria’s excellent post Choosing a Color Palette for Your Power BI Report. She explains what to consider when choosing colors, why you want to choose certain colors over others, and how to check if your color palette is accessible.

Then, find a color picker or color palette tool that works for you. There are many free apps available, so you may have to try a few different ones. My favorites are:

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