What are Header Icons in Power BI Desktop?

Jun 29, 2023 | Power BI Hints and Tips

Header icons are often overlooked when using or producing a Power BI report but it is important to understand the implications of ignoring their impact for the end user.

Where are Header Icons found?

Header icons sit at the top right of each visualisation by default (hence their name) but if the visualisation is right at the top of the page then the icons will move to the bottom right instead.    This cannot be altered.  They will only appear when you hover over the visualisation and are often missed because they look greyed out in comparison to many options we are used to seeing.  The icons will vary to some degree depending on the visualisation being viewed and the layout of the data in it.

When published some of the header icons that are visible will change due to the functionality of the report once it is in Power BI Service.

Changing the header icons viewed in the published report

You may want to restrict the icons that can be used in the published report to only those that will be useful to the intended audience. Changing the icons viewed will have no impact on their use in Power BI Desktop.

  1. Click on the required visualisation that has already been produced
  2. In the Visualisations pane select the Format your visual button
Format your visual image

3. Then select General.  These are the formatting options that are consistently available across all the different types of visualisation such as charts, tables, maps etc.

4. If the Header icons do not need to be visible at all they can be switched off in one go here by moving the slider

Header icons

5. Alternatively, expand the header icons section for more choices

6. Colours allows the colours of the header icons to be changed

7. Icons gives a list of icons that may be available for the visualisation and these can be switched on and off on an individual basis

NOTE: Not all icons will show in the published report for each visualisation so turning them on or off may have no impact.  Making changes to the icons showing will not be apparent until the report is published which can make it difficult to see if you have made the right choices.  If you are not sure then publish the report to check whether the result is what you require.

Why should I turn header icons off?

You may think that keeping all the header icons available would be the best solution, giving people as much flexibility as possible when viewing the published report.  But, having lots of options can be confusing and distracting which makes the report less user friendly.  It is certainly important to consider this when designing the Power BI report and making a decision that is appropriate for the audience the report is intended for.

As with all Power BI design decisions the usability and requirement for the end user should be at the heart of any changes that are made.

Further Reading

If you’ve enjoyed reading header icons in Power BI desktop, there are some other blogs below that you might find useful:

Want to learn more about Microsoft Power BI? Then email lara@laramellortraining.co.uk to discuss how I can help or have a look at the Microsoft Power BI Desktop Courses I run.