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Create stunning and more accessible reports in minutes with our new color themes!

Headshot of article author Sara Elizabeth Temby

Screenshot of Power BI Themes drop-down showing bar chart thumbnails.

We are thrilled to announce that we released five new color themes to support accessibility (Accessible Default, Accessible City park, Accessible Tidal, Accessible Neutral, Accessible Orchid). These new themes make it easier than ever to create stunning reports with accessibility in mind.

Screentshot of new theme bar chart thumbnails. Accessible Default, Accessible City park, Accessible Tidal, Accessible Neutral, Accessible Orchid.

More than 2.2 billion people worldwide have some form of visual disability. Globally, an estimated 300 million people have CVD (color vision deficiency). 1 in 12 men is color blind (8%). 1 in 200 women is color blind (0.5%). The ability to see color also decreases as we age.

We build reports for our capabilities and the way we work as a habit. This is human nature, but we must consider the audience for which we create reports. Over 70% of disabilities are invisible. You may not know if someone on your distribution list or team has a visual disability. By designing and sharing accessible content, you empower people with disabilities.

This blog post will explain why choosing more accessible colors is so important. It will also illustrate how you can use the new themes to make your Power BI reports more inclusive in two simple steps!


How can color impact accessibility?

The use of color to support accessibility includes selecting hues that provide contrast between content, the background, and adjacent colors so that text and graphics are more legible. Providing a relative luminance of 3:1 or greater makes these items more distinguishable when a person does not see a full range of colors.

There are many success criteria required by the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG), a single shared standard for international web content accessibility, that must be met for a visual or report to be color accessible, according to WCAG. For data visualizations and BI reports, the parts of shapes/graphics needed to understand the content must have a contrast ratio of at least 3:1 against adjacent colors.

Image of accessible neutral color contrast ratio of 3.02:1 between color one and two in sequence and accessible orchid color contrast ratio of 3.03:1 between color one and two in sequence.

The new Accessible themes meet this success criterion, with a few exceptions. Bar charts, pie charts, donut charts, and gauge charts meet this accessibility standard when using the new themes. But in line charts, for example, depending on your data, lines may end up next to other lines that do not have a passing contrast ratio, so be sure to do a manual review of contrast. It is ultimately the report author’s responsibility to ensure their visuals and reports are accessible and comply with their organization’s compliance standards before distribution.

People who do not have a visual disability will also appreciate using a color palette that is not distracting and does not cause unnecessary strain on their eyes. It is pertinent to consider the number of people who may be adversely affected by one of those visual categories as our population ages.


Screenshot of Power BI Themes drop-down showing bar chart thumbnails.

What are themes in Power BI?

Power BI themes are standardized color schemes and formatting options that can be applied to your entire report, including visuals, text, and shapes. You can use a theme to maintain consistency throughout your report without having to individually change each element.


How to apply an accessible color theme

The color themes are located under the “View” tab in Power BI desktop.
Screenshot of Power BI format ribbon with the "View" tab outlined.


#1. Browse for the theme you want.
Screenshot of Power BI desktop format ribbon with the “Themes” drop-down outlined in red.


#2. Select the thumbnail image of the theme you want.Screenshot of Power BI desktop ribbon with the “Themes” drop-down expanded with Accessible Themes thumbnails outlined in red.

Screenshot of Power BI desktop format ribbon with the “Themes” drop-down expanded and current theme selected (Accessible Orchid) outlined in red.

That’s it!

It will automatically update your report colors to the accessible theme selected. Themes designed to support accessibility compliance will have “Accessible” in their name.

Screenshot of sample report with different visuals using the accessible orchid theme.

What color combinations would you like to see in our next Accessible themes release? Please share your feedback and remember to vote for other features you would like to see in Power BI on our community website.

We are looking forward to hearing from you! Learn more about designing Power BI reports for accessibility.