Data Visualisation

Using Visual Containers in Power BI to Improve Performance by 35%

Last Updated:
July 5, 2023
Using Visual Containers in Power BI to Improve Performance by 35%

Microsoft recently released an update with new features related to titles and subtitles. The May 2023 feature summary includes details on the visual container improvements that are helpful for consistent, best practice dashboard design. In this article, we will dive into the specifics of the container improvements and how they can be utilized to improve performance, reduce maintenance, and make it easier to update Power BI dashboard designs.

Here is the quick summary in case you missed it in the update:

  • Users can enable subtitles to provide additional context for visuals
  • Users can add a divider line to visually separate the header from its contents
  • Users can manage the space beneath each component of the visual container
  • Users can adjust the margin of the container to create negative space

With this update, users can now include titles and subtitles in the same container while maintaining sound dashboard designs. 

Before this update existed, if users wanted to provide additional context with a subtitle, this meant they needed to add a separate text box on top of the visual. When doing this, users also needed to add a text box for the title, so that they could control the spacing and alignment to match the pixel-perfect design of the subtitle. 

This forced dashboard designers into a difficult tradeoff; how much do they optimize for visual appeal and clarity of information VS. maintainability and dashboard performance? 

Here’s an example of what a visual looks like when using multiple components to include titles and subtitles. 

Power BI professional design best practices
using multiple components to create Power BI visualizations

The result is a beautiful visual… but the downside is that 4 different components had to be used to create it. Using this many components across hundreds of visuals in a report can lead to poor performance, complicated user experience, and cumbersome maintenance. 

Professional design best practices recommend that changes be made in the fewest number of clicks possible. Designers can now make changes to their dashboard more efficiently without losing too much design flexibility. 

Here is an example of the same visualization created with the latest improvements to only include 1 component. 

using visual containers in Power BI to improve performance
using titles, subtitles, spacing, and padding to improve performance and accessibility

Using Power BI’s Performance Analyzer, we compared the performance of both these visualizations. The visualization created using only one component led to a 35% improvement in performance! 

using visual containers in Power BI to improve performance and accessibility
use Power BI visual container updates to speed up reports

What this means for Numerro

With this significant of a performance boost, we knew we had to implement the changes across our entire toolkit to deliver better performance to our valued customers. 

We updated over 90 Toolkit visualizations and templates to use fewer components. We also added over 30 new design variations for our customers to choose from. 

By doing this, the Numerro Toolkit is now significantly more performant so that our community can build beautiful reports even faster than before. The reduction in components used also means that maintenance updates can be made in less time and users can navigate reports with fewer clicks. 

In Conclusion

The latest release of Power BI includes upgrades to titles and subtitles that streamline design processes, enhance performance, and reduce the time it takes to make updates. The ability to use multiple titles and subtitles in a single text box eliminates the need for separate text boxes and assets and makes it easier for dashboard designers to design for performance and accessibility.

Check out Numerro’s Toolkit for fast, easy Power BI reports.

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