Themes are an excellent way to add an element of professionalism, consistency and branding to your reports. While you can certainly hand-code your own Power BI JSON theme file using the official documentation and this handy github repository or this excellent blog article, let's face it, nobody really wants to do that. While you can pay someone to create a theme for you, like Nowalls Analytics (@belisqui) there are also a number of available options out there for quickly and easily creating your own custom Power BI theme without the heavy lifting of hand-editing JSON code.
If you are just looking for a quick custom theme or a starting point for your own theme, the Themes Gallery on the Power BI Community site is a great place. There are over 220 themes available for download. However, the Themes Gallery itself does not provide any method of customizing themes.
One place that you can customize themes, however, is within the Power BI Desktop by going to the View tab of the ribbon:
Unfortunately, the options in the Customize theme dialog are extremely rudimentary and only cover a few dozen of the 2,000+ available theme settings. However, it is nice that you can import any theme from some place like the Themes Gallery and then modify at least a few of the settings.
This tool is extremely dated and super basic. Also, the JSON theme file generated is a single line of text. Can't really recommend this one.
PowerBI.tips is an excellent website run by @Mike_Carlo and @Seth_C_Bauer and this site provides an excellent, "free", web-based Power BI themes generator. This has received a major overhaul from when this article was originally posted.
The good news is that the interface is way slicker than before. New page level options are available and colors can be added via single or multiple selection, a color wheel or by using a gradient. Also, there are updates for page, filter pane, shapes, and images. No buttons?!?? Also, an integrated icon library which is cool. Most visuals are supported. The JSON file actually includes line breaks! Also, the one stand-out feature of this tool is the integration of the color palette choices into choosing colors elsewhere in the theme.
The bad news is that you have to subscribe to be able to create and download a theme. There is a free subscription but full functionality requires a subscription of $3.15/month. So, overall, not the end of the world and a lot less expensive than Curbal. But, but, you know what annoyed me the most of all? The Matrix visual is in the wrong order on the Properties tab...so close!
OK, by happy circumstance and the graciousness of on Brian Julius and @Anonymous, I recently gained access to EnterpriseDNA's platform. Wow! I literally had no idea just how cool this platform is. Now, there is a cost for membership, about $40/month but holy smokes, there are so many learning videos and nifty little tools, it is worth taking a look at if you are serious about building up the skills of your data analytics team. Anyway, specific to themes, they have three different really cool options for building color palettes.
The fan app is a ton of fun to mess around with but the Image to Colours app is the stand-out. It does just what it says. Upload an image and it automatically creates a palette of colors that you can save into a theme file. It is super cool and probably the best way I can think of to go about quickly creating a color palette. For example, I was able to upload various customer logos and presto! instant matching color theme!
OK, then there is the separate Power BI Themes Generator app. Absolutely the most comprehensive of any Power BI theme generator that I have seen in terms of available theme settings. Includes Global settings as well as Page and Filter Pane settings and supports 40 individual visuals and elements, including shapes, images, buttons and text boxes. Anyway, I'm just starting to scratch the surface of everything the EnterpriseDNA platform has to offer but I'm already seriously impressed by the overall breadth and quality of tools.
Now, a few small complaints. First, it would be nice if the color palette tools were more integrated like that of PowerBI.tips and, again, non-formatted JSON file export. But, if you are serious about easily creating your own custom theme file and playing with all of the different settings available, this is the only tool that I have seen that does it. For example, the PowerBI.tips theme generator has 1 setting for Visual Headers while the EnterpriseDNA Themes Generator has 19 settings for Visual Headers.
Not much has seemed to change with this tool since the original publication. They did add an Import feature for editing your own themes which just made the tool even better. Note that this theme generator does support settings for the ArcGIS and Power Apps visuals. However, I couldn't find any support for icons unless I missed it. And still no line breaks in the downloaded JSON file. 😞
themes.pbix by POINT
OK, thanks to Federico Pastor from a comment on LinkedIn I found this really excellent theme generator. I don't feel too bad for missing it originally as no amount of Internet searching returns this page in like the first 10 pages and the tool isn't even linked off of their home page. It's too bad, because I feel like more people would want to be using this tool!
This themes generator is more comprehensive than PowerBI.tips but not quite as comprehensive as EnterpriseDNA. Similar to EnterpriseDNA, this tool also supports Global settings as well as Page and Filter Pane settings and supports 40 individual visuals and elements, including shapes, images, buttons and text boxes. However, it does not have quite all of the theme settings that EnterpriseDNA supports. For example, themes.pbix by POINT supports 6 Filter Pane settings versus EnterpriseDNA's 9 and it is a similar story for things like Available filter cards, 4 versus 8 and and Applied filter cards, 4 versus 8.
That said, there are some great features. Chief among these is the Upload Theme feature! Yep, it is as cool as I imagined it would be! So, yes, you can upload an existing theme file and then customize and tweak it from there. This tool is also available in English and German and I really like the thoughtful Expand All/Collapse All buttons. Super nice. Also, the ability to upload an image for the Page Background is really cool and I have not seen that setting in any other theme generator.
OK, the minor complaint? You guessed it, no formatting of the exported JSON file. Not the end of the world.
OK, so this tool has become even more impressive. It has definitely become more comprehensive and seems on par with Enterprise DNA and the new PowerBI.tips in terms of including all of the different theme file settings. What's even better is that it seems to be receiving regular updates. The home page for the tool tracks and informs you of the updates which seems to be a lost art among software developers, having a single, central place to tell you what's new and changed in a software product over time. There have been 3 or 4 updates in 2023 alone! It's still the only tool that appears to be multi-lingual (English and German). Unlike PowerBI.tips, it supports icons but you don't get a library of icons, you have to upload your own icons. Also, the color choosing is pretty rudimentary in comparison to but very functional. But the best part, the very best part? THEY FIXED THE LINE BREAKS IN THE DOWNLOADED JSON FILE!!! Yaaaaayyyyyyyyyy!!!! Oh, and it's still 100% free to use, no subscription, no sign-up, nothing. Just use it. That's my kind of free.
Power BI Theme Generator by BIBB
Drum roll please. So the real impetus behind this blog article update is the new comer on the block, BIBB's Power BI Theme Generator. After getting skewered by mocking my own meme campaign...
I got the admins to put this article back into staging so I could edit, update and republish. To my credit, unlike some global, monolithic corporations who don't listen to their community and will remain 100% completely and utterly nameless... >cough<, I actually listen to the community and the community wanted BIBB included in this article. So here they are!
First, there are some really impressive features and concepts in this tool. One, there is an integrated create colors from an uploaded image. So cool and what I wish Enterprise DNA had done since they have both of those pieces, just not integrated. It's as cool as I imagined. They also have some standard methods of picking colors such as a color picker and hex code as well as a trending palettes feature which is cool. They also have a nice tutorial showing how to use the tool.
Perhaps the most striking aspect of this tool however is its focus on simplicity. Instead of being just like all the other theme generators out there that allow you to plow through and tweak every single last setting, the interface let's you set the colors and then generate the theme file. The generated theme file has hundreds of different settings in it that you can them edit on your own. It may not be for everyone but I think it is a unique and interesting take on the subject. Especially because the other theme generators only seem to include settings for things that you have manually set in the interface. So this is kind of nice that instead of having to choose a few hundred settings to get them into my theme file, they just give me defaults for a bunch of them without the hassle. Super interesting approach. And...the downloaded theme file has what? You guessed it, line breaks!! Hooray!
OK, complaints. First, mispelling colors multiple times. Second, the sneaky way they get you to enter your email address and agree to their terms and conditions. Not the end of the world on either account. I can't even ding them for not having an upload feature, it would totally go against the concept of the tool. Now, it's hard to determine just how "comprehensive" the downloaded JSON file is in terms of settings but, again, it's sort of a moot point based on the design choices of the tool.
Overall, I like it. It's a completely different take on the theme generator concept that totally goes against the grain and then just totally embraces it. Again, maybe not for everyone but it probably beats spending a few hours tweaking settings individually.
In the original version of this article, I recommended PowerBI.tips as the best free themes generator for PowerBI. When I updated the article in January 2022 I crowned a new king of the free themes generators, themes.pbix. themes.pbix by POINT was more comprehensive, polished and includes the ability to upload an existing theme file. So how do things stand now? Well here's what I am going to say. First, the gap has actually widened between PowerBI.tips and POINT. Don't get me wrong, it's not because of feature functionality between the two. I actually give PowerBI.tips a lead in that area because of the integrated color picking, integrated icon sets, etc. However, to get the full functionality like uploading and editing your own theme files you have to pay and regardless you have to register and "subscribe".
But, we also have to consider BIBB now. It's a completely different beast and it almost defies comparison to POINT and the other Power BI theme generators. Here's what I'll say, depending on your needs both POINT and BIBB have excellent free tools in this area.
OK, so what about best paid tool? I think PowerBI.tips takes the crown from Enterprise DNA this time around. If you are willing to pay what is a very reasonable subscription fee per month then it's PowerBI.tips as the best paid tool at this point.
But what about the best tool overall? Well, it's a tie between PowerBI.tips, POINT and BIBB and here's why:
PowerBI.tips - Best in class feature/functionality with integrated color picking, integrated icons, etc.
POINT - Insanely comprehensive with zero fuss, no registration, no fees, just use it and go on your merry way
BIBB - Simplicity and ease of use
That's it, that's all you're getting from me.
Comment and let me know if I missed any tools! Would have never found themes.pbix by POINT or BIBB, the two best free themes generators for Power BI without feedback from the community!