How to Use Themes in Power BI (+10 Favorite Themes)
Written by co-founder Kasper Langmann, Microsoft Office Specialist.
Using a Power BI report theme is a quick way to change how your entire report looks — from icon sets to colors.
You don’t have to drill down on each report and change their format individually.
But how do you switch themes on Power BI? Where can you get themes aside from the ones that come with Power BI desktop?
In this article, you’ll learn how to use themes in Power BI. We’ll also point you to a place where you can get them along with 10 of our favorites.
Let’s get it started! 🎨
*This tutorial is for Power BI Online (also called "Power BI Service").
Table of Content
Introduction to Power BI Report Themes
Report themes are themes in Power BI that apply changes to a Power BI report’s colors, icon sets, background color, and others.
For example, here’s a Power BI sample report with the default theme:
After switching to a theme called “Innovate”, here’s how it looks:
The changes you see are all done in 2 clicks which takes less than 2 seconds! 😲
However, you can only apply themes using the desktop version. It’s one of the key differences between the Power BI Service and Power BI Desktop.
How to Switch or Use Power BI Themes
To switch themes, make sure you’re on the report view of your Power BI Desktop.
On the ribbon, click the ‘Switch Theme’ button.
You can find the ‘Themes’ group between the ‘Custom visuals’ and ‘Relationships’ groups.
Then, select your theme from the dropdown.
If you like to view more themes, just click the ‘More themes’ option.
Now, let’s try and switch the theme to ‘Innovate’:
The results are immediate:
Simple, right? 👍
Where to Find Other Power BI Themes
The problem is:
What if you don’t like the available themes on your Power BI Desktop?
Fortunately, you can download themes from the Microsoft Power BI Community Themes Gallery and use one for yourself.
There are 2 ways to get to the gallery:
- Through this link: Microsoft Power BI Community Themes Gallery
- Via the Power BI Desktop
On your Power BI Desktop, click the ‘Switch Theme’ button and there’s a ‘Theme gallery’ option you can select:
Then, your default browser will take you to the Power BI’s themes gallery page:
Once you’ve found a theme of your choice, click it to view the report.
Then, scroll down to see a brief description from its designer.
To download the theme, click the download icon beside the theme’s JSON file name and save it:
Remember the place where you saved as you’ll need to import the JSON file to use the theme.
How to Import a Power BI Theme
Now that you’ve downloaded a Power BI theme from the gallery, it’s time to import it to Power BI Desktop.
To import a theme, click the ‘Switch Theme’ button again and select ‘Import theme’:
Open the JSON file you downloaded from the gallery.
Once you loaded the JSON file, the theme will now be replaced by the theme you downloaded:
Don’t panic if the theme didn’t look as you imagined. You can modify it according to your taste. 😊
Modifying a Power BI Imported Theme
Depending on the theme and the visualizations on your report, it might not always go according to how you envision it.
Sometimes, you need to modify it to fit your taste.
All that can be done by selecting a visualization and editing its format.
In our recent imported theme, you can’t view some of the visuals because the background color is filling it up. One of them is the “Total Stores” count visual:
There’s a chance that this was caused by the background color.
To disable its background color, click the visual and go to the ‘Visualizations’ pane on the right corner:
Then, open the ‘Format’ tab and turn the background off:
Doing the same thing to most of the visuals of the report would result in:
Of course, that’s just one example. You can basically change the format of any visual like data colors, background, border, etc.
Top 10 Favorite Power BI Themes
Now that you know how to modify themes, it’s time to show you our top 10 favorite Power BI themes from the Microsoft Power BI Community Themes Gallery.
Note: There are hundreds of themes in the gallery. The themes listed here are our personal picks and do not reflect what the community thinks are the ‘best’ themes.
1. Vintage Theme
This theme, designed by Aexley, is inspired by red wine vintage colors. It has a healthy mix of light and dark colors layered with a light-vintage filter. Don’t you find the colors soothing to the eyes?
Link: Vintage Theme
2. Gartner Bakeoff Opioid Crisis Theme
This report has one of the cleanest looks out there. Lots of users shared their appreciation for the designer because of its looks and features. The slicers the designer put made the app easy to navigate. At a glance, it really looks like a nice web app that’s simple to use.
3. Acterys Planning
Looks familiar? That’s because this was the theme we used earlier in our example. This theme works really good with dark backgrounds of blue and green shades. If there are a few problems with how this theme affects some of your visuals, feel free to modify it.
Link: Acterys Planning
4. The Honey Bee
With a yellow and gray combination, this theme definitely has one of the best natural high-contrast combos. Users like this theme because of how cool the visuals look and easy to read.
Link: The Honey Bee
5. All Blacks
Do you like black? If so, you would surely find this theme attractive. Unlike some of the black-themed reports, this won’t give you a headache. The clean looks make the colors pop. According to its designer, the theme was made for fans of the All Black rugby team.
Link: All Blacks
6. Pastel Color Theme
Tried to find a theme with pastel colors? Here’s the theme you’re looking for! The color in this theme are easy to the eyes. The designer made sure that the font colors would fit with the visual so you’ll still be able to see those data labels.
Link: Pastel Color Theme
This theme is for dinosaur fans! There are only a few themes in the themes gallery that looks this fun. With fossil colors like brown, orange, yellow, and gray, you’ll get that dinosaur-feel on your reports.
8. Spring Day
Currently, this theme has the most kudos (like) and views on the themes gallery. It’s not too hard to know why. The theme brings with it the soft colors of spring. Like the Pastel Color Theme, this theme is easy to the eyes.
Link: Spring Day
9. Tumble Road Multicolor Theme
This theme is based on internal color palettes that the designer developed. At first glance, it feels like the red colors are taking over. But on closer inspection, it just seems reddish due to a lot of red-related colors being used.
10. Nowalls Analytics
There’s a good reason why this theme belongs to the top 5. The mixture of neon and black makes this theme unique from the rest. Though used by the designer as a plug for their company, this theme has been viewed and downloaded by many Power BI users.
Link: Nowalls Analytics
Wrapping things up…
Report themes allow you to quickly change your report’s look according to how you like it. And if you don’t like the themes that came with Power BI Desktop, you can always go to Power BI’s theme gallery and download what you like.
You can change how the theme looks on the Power BI Desktop itself. It’s a given that some of the visualization format the designer set won’t go with what you have in mind. 👍