With Report Themes you can apply a color theme to your entire report, such as corporate colors, seasonal coloring, or any other color theme you might want to apply a report. When you apply a Report Theme, all visuals in your report use the colors from your selected theme (a few exceptions apply, described later in this article).

Applying a Report Theme requires a JSON file, using a basic structure, which you can then import into Power BI Desktop and apply to your report. The JSON file structure, and the process of importing (it's just a few button clicks) are quick and easy.

Enable Report Themes in Preview

You can try the new Report Themes feature beginning with the March 2017 release of Power BI Desktop. To enable this preview feature, select File > Options and Settings > Options > Preview Features, then select the checkbox beside Custom Report Themes. You'll need to restart Power BI Desktop after you make the selection.

How Report Themes work

To apply a Report Theme to a Power BI Desktop report, select Switch Theme button from the Home ribbon, then select Import Theme from the drop-down.

A window appears that lets you navigate to the location of the JSON theme file. Power BI Desktop looks for .JSON files, which is the Power BI Report Theme File type. In the following image, a handful of holiday theme files are available. We'll choose a holiday theme that happens in March.

When the theme file is successfully loaded, Power BI Desktop lets you know.

Now that we've imported a theme file, let's take a look at the simple and straightforward JSON file structure.

Structure of a Report Theme JSON file

The JSON file selected in the previous section (the St Patricks Day.json file), when opened in an editor, looks like the following.

That JSON file has the following required lines:

  • name - this is the theme name, which is the only required field
  • dataColors - A list of hexcode color codes to use for data in Power BI Desktop visuals. The list can contain as many or as few colors as desired
  • background, foreground and tableAccent - These values are colors that should be used in table and matrix visuals. How these colors are used depends on the specific table or matrix style applied. The table and matrix visuals apply these styles by default.

To apply a style to a table or matrix visual, select the visual and in the Visualizations pane select the Format section, then expand Matrix style and select a style from the Style drop-down.

For easy cut-and-paste to create your own JSON file, here's the text of the St Patricks Day.json file:

    "name": "St Patricks Day",
    "dataColors": ["#568410", "#3A6108", "#70A322", "#915203", "#D79A12", "#bb7711", "#114400", "#aacc66"],
    "foreground": "#3A6108",
    "tableAccent": "#568410"

From there you can enter your own color hexcode for your selected colors.

How Report Theme colors stick to your reports

When you publish your report to the Power BI service, your Report Theme colors stay with it.

In addition, the Data colors section of the Format panel reflect your Report Theme. For example, after applying the multitude of green and brown colors from the St. Patrick's Day theme, when we select a visual and go to Format > Data colors we see the following.

See all that green? That's because those colors were part of the Report Theme we imported and applied.

Situations when Report Theme colors won't stick to your reports

If you apply a custom color set (or individual color) to a particular data point in a visual, applying a Report Theme will not override that customized data point color.

In addition, if you've manually set a data point's color using the Theme colors section of the color palette, that (or those) colors will not be updated when you apply a new Report Theme. To get your default colors back (so they'll update when you apply a new Report Theme), you can select Revert to default in the Theme colors palette.

Also, many Custom Visuals will not apply Report Themes.

Report Theme files you can use right now

Want to get started with Report Themes? Great! Here are a handful of ready-made Report Theme JSON files that you can download and import into your Power BI Desktop report, along with an image of that Report Theme applied to the report used in this article.

  • Lastly, here's one that is love-ly (the Valentine's Day theme) and sure to get your attention.

Rather than a download, here's the code for the Valentine's day JSON file:

    "name": "Valentine's Day",
    "dataColors": ["#990011", "#cc1144", "#ee7799", "#eebbcc", "#cc4477", "#cc5555", "#882222", "#A30E33"],
    "foreground": "#ee7799",
    "tableAccent": "#990011"

Report Themes can make your Power BI Desktop reports a colorful reflection of you, your organization, or even the current season or holiday. Enjoy them, they're easy!