Organizational Custom Visuals in Power BI

With the February Power BI Desktop and a recent companion Service update, you now have the option to add a customized collection of visuals for users. Companies may easily distribute their own or their favorite custom visuals to an entire tenant using Organizational Custom Visuals. This allows for rapid delivery of proprietary visuals without having to manage approved pbiviz files elsewhere. Since it is a Preview feature, users will have to go into Options and enable it. Read more about the new capability in the Power BI Desktop February Feature Summary from Amanda Cofsky.

While Amanda is explicit in her blog post and companion video that organizational custom visuals should be vetted and approved, this relies on trust. “Since these visuals have been vetted by your company, you can have confidence that they are well made.” In reality, nothing stops a tenant admin from adding any pbiviz file that they want regardless of quality, testing, or confidence. In any case, I’m excited that it is now possible to easily distribute classic mission-critical custom visuals such as the almost-award-winning Dancing Cats or Emoji KPI to my BlueGranite colleagues (both heavily vetted — trust me).

Additionally, admins have to be conscious of what they add and delete as their actions may have consequences over time. For example, if a report developer adds a visual from My Organization and an admin later deletes that visual, it will be disabled from any report or dashboard where it was used.

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Tenant admins can build a custom visual catalog for an organization by adding or removing custom visuals in the Admin Portal. A new Custom visuals option appears in the Portal with a link to Add a custom visual.

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After choosing the option to add a new visual, the admin is prompted for the .pbiviz file, a name, an icon, and a description. The icon must be a jpeg or png, should be less than 65KB, and should try to maintain a 1:1 aspect ratio.

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Once all of that information is filled out, the admin hits Apply.

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The custom visual should appear in the Admin Portal and will now be available for anyone in the tenant.

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I noticed that in Power BI Desktop, I had to close and reopen before seeing the custom visual appear. This would only be an issue for the admin who added the visual and perhaps for anyone in an organization who has Desktop open at the time that the admin adds a visual. I tried signing out and back in without closing, but I still had the default screen showing no visuals until I completely closed Desktop. If a user does not see a recently added visual, ask them to close and reopen Power BI Desktop just in case.

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The newly added visual will appear on the My Organization tab after selecting the option to import a custom visual From Marketplace.

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