Create and use combo charts in Power BI
Smart narrative visuals can be created and viewed in both Power BI Desktop and the Power BI service. The steps and illustrations in this article are from Power BI Desktop.
In Power BI, a combo chart is a single visualization that combines a line chart and a column chart. Combining the 2 charts into one lets you make a quicker comparison of the data.
Combo charts can have one or two Y axes.
When to use a Combo chart
Combo charts are a great choice:
- when you have a line chart and a column chart with the same X axis.
- to compare multiple measures with different value ranges.
- to illustrate the correlation between two measures in one visualization.
- to check whether one measure meet the target which is defined by another measure
- to conserve canvas space.
Sharing your report with a Power BI colleague requires that you both have individual Power BI Pro licenses or that the report is saved in Premium capacity.
This tutorial uses the Retail Analysis sample PBIX file.
From the upper left section of the menubar, select File > Open
Find your copy of the Retail Analysis sample PBIX file
Open the Retail Analysis sample PBIX file in report view .
Select to add a new page.
Create a basic, single-axis, Combo Chart
Watch Will create a combo chart using the Sales and Marketing sample.
This video uses an older version of Power BI Desktop.
Start on a blank report page and create a column chart that displays this year's sales and gross margin by month.
a. From the Fields pane, select Sales > This Year Sales > Value.
b. Drag Sales > Gross Margin This Year to the Value well.
c. Select Time > FiscalMonth to add it to the Axis well.
Select More options (...) in the upper-right corner of the visualization, and select Sort by > FiscalMonth. To change the sort order, select the ellipsis again and choose either Sort ascending or Sort descending. For this example will use Sort ascending.
Convert the column chart to a combo chart. There are two combo charts available: Line and stacked column and Line and clustered column. With the column chart selected, from the Visualizations pane select the Line and clustered column chart.
From the Fields pane, drag Sales > Last Year Sales to the Line Values bucket.
Your combo chart should look something like this:
Create a combo chart with two axes
In this task, we'll compare gross margin and sales.
Create a new line chart that tracks Gross Margin last year % by FiscalMonth. Select the ellipsis to sort it by Month and Ascending.
In January GM% was 35%, peaked at 45% in April, dropped in July and peaked again in August. Will we see a similar pattern in sales last year and this year?
Add This Year Sales > Value and Last Year Sales to the line chart. The scale of Gross Margin Last Year % is much smaller than the scale of Sales which makes it difficult to compare.
To make the visual easier to read and interpret, convert the line chart to a Line and Stacked Column chart.
Drag Gross Margin Last Year % from Column Values into Line Values. Power BI creates two axes, thus allowing the datasets to be scaled differently; the left measures sales dollars and the right measures percentage. And we see the answer to our question; yes, we do see a similar pattern.
Add titles to the axes
Select the paint roller icon to open the Formatting pane.
Select the down arrow to expand the Y-axis options.
For Y-Axis (Column), set Position to Left, set Title to On, Style to Show title only, and Display units as Millions.
Under Y-Axis (Column), scroll down until you see Show secondary. Because there are so many options for the Y axes, you may have to use both scrollbars. The Show secondary section displays options for formatting the line chart portion of the combo chart.
For Y-Axis (Line), leave Position as Right, turn Title to On, and set Style to Show title only.
Your combo chart now displays dual axes, both with titles.
Optionally, modify the text font, size, and color and set other formatting options to improve the display and readability of the chart.
From here you might want to:
- Add the combo chart as a dashboard tile.
- Save the report.
- Make the report more accessible for people with disabilities.
Cross-highlighting and cross-filtering
Highlighting a column or line in a combo chart cross-highlights and cross-filters the other visualizations on the report page... and vice versa. Use visual interactions to change this default behavior.