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Visual Awesomeness Unlocked – The Force-Directed Graph

Headshot of article author The Power BI Team

By Amir Netz, Technical Fellow and Paige Liu, Principle Engineer

Everything is interconnected in this world. With the rise of the social networking sites and communication tools, everyone can now witness the importance of relationship and theories such as six degrees of separation.  The same is true not just for human relationships but also for business entities.

The ability to visualize the relationship between items, the weightage of the relationship and the flow often brings out the untold insights into limelight, which are otherwise not very evident. Simple numbers and basic charts won’t be enough to discover and tell such data stories. We need new visualization techniques for the complex world of relationship and Force-Directed Graph thrives to the forefront for such scenarios.

This custom visual implements a D3 force layout diagram with curved paths. The thickness of the path represents the weight of the relationship between the nodes.

Since the relationship and interconnection between large set of entities could be very complex, the visual positions the nodes in such a way that there are few crossings as possible, making the exploration experience easy, fun. The visual also produces the layout which is overall pleasing to the eyes for large data sets. Users can also adjust the layout manually by simply dragging the nodes around.

To use, simply download the Force-Directed Graph from the Visuals gallery and import it to your Power BI report. Ideally you would need two dimensions and one measure (for the weightage) to use with this visual. But this also works just with a single column.

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