A scatter chart always has two value axes to show one set of numerical data along a horizontal axis and another set of numerical values along a vertical axis. The chart displays points at the intersection of an x and y numerical value, combining these values into single data points. These data points may be distributed evenly or unevenly across the horizontal axis, depending on the data.

A bubble chart replaces the data points with bubbles, with the bubble size representing an additional dimension of the data.

When to use a scatter chart or bubble chart

Scatter charts are a great choice:

  • to show relationships between 2 (scatter) or 3 (bubble) numerical values.

  • To plot two groups of numbers as one series of xy coordinates.

  • instead of a line chart when you want to change the scale of the horizontal axis

  • to turn the horizontal axis into a logarithmic scale.

  • to display worksheet data that includes pairs or grouped sets of values. In a scatter chart, you can adjust the independent scales of the axes to reveal more information about the grouped values.

  • to show patterns in large sets of data, for example by showing linear or non-linear trends, clusters, and outliers.

  • to compare large numbers of data points without regard to time The more data that you include in a scatter chart, the better the comparisons that you can make.

Bubble charts are a great choice:

  • if your data has 3 data series that each contain a set of values.

  • to present financial data. Different bubble sizes are useful to visually emphasize specific values.

  • to use with quadrants.

Create a scatter chart

  1. Open the Retail Analysis Sample in Editing View and add a new report page.

  2. From the Fields pane, select Sales > Sales Per Sq Ft and Sales > Total Sales Variance %.

  3. From the Fields pane, select District > District.

  4. Convert to a scatter chart. In the Visualization pane, select the Scatter chart icon. .

  5. Drag District from Details to Legend.

We now have a scatter chart that plots Total Sales Variance % along the Y axis, and plots Sales Per Square Feet along the X axis. The data point colors represent districts. Now let's add a third dimension.

Create a bubble chart

  1. From the Fields pane, drag Sales > This Year Sales > Value to the Size area. 

  2. Hover over a bubble. The size of the bubble reflects the value of This Year Sales.

  3. Optionally, format the visualization colors, labels, titles, background, and more.

Considerations and Troubleshooting

Your scatter chart has only one data point

Does your scatter chart have only one data point that aggregates all the values on the X and Y axes? Or maybe it aggregates all the values along a single horizontal or vertical line?

Add a field to the Details area to tell Power BI how to group the values. The field must be unique for each point you want to plot.
Like a simple row number or ID field:

Or if you don’t have that in your data, create a field that concatenates your X and Y values together into something unique per point:

To create a new field, use the Power BI Desktop Query Editor to add an Index Column to your dataset. Then add this column to the Details area of your visualization.

Next steps

Visualization types in Power BI

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