Top 8 improvements in the Format Pane in Microsoft Power BI

Mar 10, 2022 | Power BI Hints and Tips

Formatting from the visualisations pane in Power BI has always been a little clunky to say the least.  It has often left you tackling scroll bars within scroll bars which has been really fiddly and the options available have gone on and on in one long list.  The interface in this area has had a huge overhaul providing a long overdue improved user experience. 

If this feature is not with you yet you may be able to force the preview through in the options by going to the File tab, selecting Options and Settings then Options.  From here select Preview Features and tick New Format Pane. 

Top 8 Improvements 

1. Positioning of the add data, format and analyses buttons have moved to the top of the ribbon. 

Positioning of buttons Format Pane in Power BI

2. The options for choosing the type of visualisation to create disappears as soon as you choose to format the visualisation providing much more space to view the formatting options 

No visualisations

3. The formatting options have been divided into visual and general.  Visual is where you can find most of the formatting options associated with a specific visualisation.  General shows the options that are more consistent across the tables, charts, matrices, KPIs, Gauges, maps and more and is shown below. 

General formatting

4. The ellipsis next to the visual and general tabs allows for all of the formatting options to be reset to default in one go rather than having to tackle them one at a time.  There are also the options of expanding all categories when you want to get to all the detailed options quickly or collapsing all categories to recompress the list. 

Reset all settings

5. For many of the formatting categories the key option of being able to turn it on and off is available without having to expand the category by using an on/off slider.  There is also more subdivision within the categories too making it easier to access the options required. 

6. The naming of some of the options have been changed to make them more intuitive. 

7. Some of the options which would have disappeared when a field was not used in a visual are now visible, but greyed out, if they are not currently applicable making you aware that they will be available in certain circumstances. 

8. There is a new search box at the top of the formatting options avoiding the need to physically find an option if it is less obvious where it sits in the list. 


This update is the biggest change to the user interface in Microsoft Power BI for a long time and certainly provides a cleaner feel and one that is much quicker and easier to work with.

Further Reading

If you’ve enjoyed reading about the top 8 improvements in the Format Pane in Microsoft Power BI, there’s some other blogs below that you might find useful:

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