How To Obtain a Power BI Custom Visual If It No Longer Appears on AppSource

How To Obtain a Power BI Custom Visual If It No Longer Appears on AppSource
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AppSource is the digital marketplace where Microsoft makes many add-on resources available for a variety of products. This marketplace includes Power BI custom visuals, and you can use the in-product option to Import from AppSource or go to the site directly ( https://appsource.microsoft.com/en-us/marketplace/apps?product=power-bi-visuals).

This marketplace of free and freemium visuals has hundreds of visuals.

There’s always a risk, however, in that at any point, a publisher could opt to remove a visual. This occurred recently with the HTML Viewer custom visual, which helps drive some of my mission critical reports like Dancing Cats and Power BI Quest. It also helps deliver content of lesser value like SVG images, audio, video, data sonification, custom web fonts, and more.

What happens to existing reports when a custom visual no longer appears on AppSource?

Trust me. I panicked at the thought that everything I had ever built and recommended be built using the HTML Viewer custom visual disappeared– as if millions of reports suddenly cried out in terror and were suddenly silenced.

Fortunately, when a Power BI custom visual no longer appears on AppSource, your existing reports are safe (for now).

How?

Each custom visual is embedded into the PBIX file into which you import it. While custom visuals imported from AppSource will check for updates and update automatically, the removal of the visual altogether does not remove the visual from your PBIX files.

Extract custom visuals from a PBIX file

This setup means that as long as you have a PBIX that contains the lost custom visual, you can still obtain it for use in future reports. Granted, it’s no longer supported by the original publisher, but for most custom visuals, the term “support” outside of larger scale publishers like OKViz, MAQ, and others is already a loose one.

To extract a custom visual, find a PBIX file that uses it. The more recent of a PBIX, the better. If the now-unpublished custom visual had been updated on AppSource since you last opened the PBIX, the visual contained in the PBIX would not have been updated. You’re limited to whatever version you have available in your PBIX file.

Here are the steps to extract and use a PBIVIZ custom visual file from a PBIX:

  • Copy and paste the original PBIX containing the discontinued custom visual. Don’t risk corrupting your original PBIX.
  • Rename the PBIX file extension from .pbix to .zip
  • Extract the zip file contents to a folder and browse to the Report/CustomVisuals subfolder. You should see a folder for every custom visual used in the report.
  • Open the subfolder for the target custom visual
  • Zip the package.json file and resources folder
  • Rename the extension from .zip to .pbiviz
  • Import the .pbiviz file into any Power BI report using the Import from File option

Optional – Pin to Visualization Pane

In order to make the custom visual more conveniently available, you can opt to pin it to the primary visualization pane by right-clicking on it. Any time you open Power BI after that, it will be available without having to re-import it.

Optional – Publish as an Organizational Custom Visual

The individual PBIVIZ file is all you need to keep using the discontinued visual. In order to use it more widely, a Power BI service administrator can also publish it as an organizational custom visual. This makes it available in the My Organization tab when you choose to Import from AppSource.

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7 Comments

  1. Hi David,

    Thank you for this useful blog.
    Can you please mail me a copy of the .pbix file with the HTML Viewer.

    Your help would be much appreciated.
    Thanks

    1. Great to hear it was valuable! Thanks for your comment. I’ve noticed the risk more and more where it’s great to use custom visuals in the right circumstance—you just need to plan for what happens if they get pulled from the marketplace.

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