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Visual Awesomeness Unlocked – Percentile Chart

Headshot of article author The Power BI Team

By Amir Netz, Technical Fellow and Mey Meenakshisundaram, Product Manager

Percentile charts are used in all walks of life. If you are a parent, you might have come across percentile in your kid’s growth chart. If you are a student, you might have seen it when the test scores are out. If you are dealing with questions like the below in your work, then you will love the Percentile chart

“Do 95% of support calls close in less than 5 minutes?”,

“Do 90% of our API calls complete in under 200 ms?”, or

“What is the 75th percentile of daily sales?”. 

The Percentile Chart, or Cumulative Distribution Function (CDF), is commonly used as a way to visualize the distribution of values in a dataset.

Often times just looking at just the average or min/max of the data might be misleading and understanding the distribution of the data is as important as the aggregated value itself. The Percentile Chart is useful for such scenarios as it helps to see the shape of the distribution, such as how big the tail is at either end, along with the value.

For calculating the percentiles, you don’t need to create any advanced calculations or invoke statistical functions / packages etc. You simply drag-n-drop the field to the chart and the chart does the heavy duty calculations for you and draws up the percentile.

A steep vertical section shows many data points grouped tightly around a small value range, whereas a horizontally flat section indicates a small set of data points with a wide value range.

Huge thanks to John Keech for creating this awesome custom visual and submitting it to the gallery.

To use, simply download Percentile chart from the visuals gallery and import it to your Power BI report and use it.

As usual, we can’t wait to hear your thoughts and your ideas for improvements.