Tutorial: Adding formatting options to a Power BI visual

In this tutorial, we go through how to add common properties to the visual.

In this tutorial, you learn how to:

  • Add visual properties.
  • Package the visual.
  • Import the custom visual to a Power BI Desktop report.

Adding formatting options

  1. In Power BI, select the Format page.

    You should see a message that reads - Formatting options are unavailable for this visual.

    Formatting paintbrush

  2. In Visual Studio Code, open the capabilities.json file.

  3. Before the dataViewMappings array, add objects (after line 8).

    "objects": {},

    Add objects

  4. Save the capabilities.json file.

  5. In Power BI, review the formatting options again.


    If you do not see the formatting options change then select Reload Custom Visual.

    View formatting options

  6. Set the Title option to Off. Notice that the visual no longer displays the measure name at the top-left corner.

    Tile option is off

    No name tile

Adding custom formatting options

You can add custom properties to enable configuring the color of the circle, and also the border width.

  1. In PowerShell, stop the custom visual.

  2. In Visual Studio Code, in the capabilities.json file, insert the following JSON fragment into the object labeled objects.

            "circle": {
                "displayName": "Circle",
                "properties": {
                    "circleColor": {
                        "displayName": "Color",
                        "description": "The fill color of the circle.",
                        "type": {
                            "fill": {
                                "solid": {
                                    "color": true
                    "circleThickness": {
                        "displayName": "Thickness",
                        "description": "The circle thickness.",
                        "type": {
                            "numeric": true

    The JSON fragment describes a group named circle, which consists of two options named circleColor and circleThickness.

    Circle thickness code

  3. Save the capabilities.json file.

  4. In the Explorer pane, from inside the src folder, and then select settings.ts. This file represents the settings for the starter visual.

  5. In the settings.ts file, replace the two classes with the following code.

    export class CircleSettings {
        public circleColor: string = "white";
        public circleThickness: number = 2;
    export class VisualSettings extends DataViewObjectsParser {
        public circle: CircleSettings = new CircleSettings();

    Module classes

    This module defines the two classes. The CircleSettings class defines two properties with names that match the objects defined in the capabilities.json file (circleColor and circleThickness) and also sets default values. The VisualSettings class inherits the DataViewObjectParser class and adds a property named circle, which matches the object defined in the capabilities.json file, and returns an instance of CircleSettings.

  6. Save the settings.ts file.

  7. Open the visual.ts file.

  8. In the visual.ts file,

    import VisualSettings, VisualObjectInstanceEnumeration and EnumerateVisualObjectInstancesOptions:

    import { VisualSettings } from "./settings";
    import VisualObjectInstanceEnumeration = powerbi.VisualObjectInstanceEnumeration;
    import EnumerateVisualObjectInstancesOptions = powerbi.EnumerateVisualObjectInstancesOptions;

    and in the Visual class add the following property:

    private visualSettings: VisualSettings;

    This property stores a reference to the VisualSettings object, describing the visual settings.

    Add visual class

  9. In the Visual class, add the following method before the update method. This method is used to populate the formatting options.

    public enumerateObjectInstances(options: EnumerateVisualObjectInstancesOptions): VisualObjectInstanceEnumeration {
        const settings: VisualSettings = this.visualSettings || <VisualSettings>VisualSettings.getDefault();
        return VisualSettings.enumerateObjectInstances(settings, options);

    This method is used to populate the formatting options.

    Visual settings object

  10. In the update method, after the declaration of the radius variable, add the following code.

    this.visualSettings = VisualSettings.parse<VisualSettings>(dataView);
    this.visualSettings.circle.circleThickness = Math.max(0, this.visualSettings.circle.circleThickness);
    this.visualSettings.circle.circleThickness = Math.min(10, this.visualSettings.circle.circleThickness);

    This code retrieves the format options. It adjusts any value passed into the circleThickness property, converting it to 0 if negative, or 10 if it's a value greater than 10.

    Radius variable

  11. For the circle element, modify the value passed to the fill style to the following expression.


    Fills the circle element

  12. For the circle element, modify the value passed to the stroke-width style to the following expression.


    Circle Stroke-width

  13. Save the visual.ts file.

  14. In PowerShell, start the visual.

    pbiviz start
  15. In Power BI, in the toolbar floating above the visual, select Toggle Auto Reload.

  16. In the visual format options, expand Circle.

    Circle format

    Modify the color and thickness option.

    Modify the thickness option to a value less than zero, and a value higher than 10. Then notice the visual updates the value to a tolerable minimum or maximum.

Packaging the custom visual

Enter property values for the custom visual project, update the icon file, and then package the custom visual.

  1. In PowerShell, stop the custom visual.

  2. Open the pbiviz.json file in Visual Studio Code.

  3. In the visual object, modify the displayName property to Circle Card.

    In the Visualizations pane, hovering over the icon reveals the display name.

    Display Name visual

  4. For the description property, enter the following text.

    Displays a formatted measure value inside a circle

  5. Fill supportUrl and gitHubUrl for the visual.


        "supportUrl": "https://community.powerbi.com",
        "gitHubUrl": "https://github.com/microsoft/PowerBI-visuals-circlecard"
  6. Enter your details in the author object.

  7. Save the pbiviz.json file.

  8. In the assets object, notice that the document defines a path to an icon. The icon is the image that appears in the Visualizations pane. It must be a PNG file, 20 pixels by 20 pixels.

  9. In Windows Explorer, copy the icon.png file, and then paste it to replace the default file located at assets folder.

  10. In Visual Studio Code, in the Explorer pane, expand the assets folder, and then select the icon.png file.

  11. Review the icon.

    Viz pane image

  12. In Visual Studio Code, ensure that all files are saved.

  13. To package the custom visual, in PowerShell, enter the following command.

    pbiviz package

    Dist folder

Now the package is output to the dist folder of the project. The package contains everything required to import the custom visual into either the Power BI service or a Power BI Desktop report. You have now packaged the custom visual, and it is now ready for use.

Importing the custom visual

Now you can open the Power BI Desktop report, and import the Circle Card custom visual.

  1. Open Power BI Desktop, create a new report with any sample dataset

  2. In the Visualizations pane, select the ellipsis, and then select Import from File.

    Add custom viz to desktop

  3. In the import window, select Import.

  4. In the Open window, navigate to the dist folder in your project directory.

  5. Select the circleCard.pbiviz file, and then select Open.

  6. When the visual has successfully imported, select OK.

  7. Verify that the visual has been added to the Visualizations pane.

    View in PBI Desktop viz pane

  8. Hover over the Circle Card icon, and notice the tooltip that appears.


For tips about debugging your custom visual, see the debugging guide.

Next steps

You can list your newly developed visual for others to use by submitting it to the AppSource. For more information on this process reference Publish Power BI visuals to AppSource.