Quick Tip About Fonts in Deneb Visuals in Power BI

This week, I was working with a client who requested I use the Segoe UI font in their Power BI report. The report contained a mix of core visuals and Deneb visuals. I changed the fonts on the visuals to Segoe UI and published the report. But my client reported back that they were seeing serif fonts in some visuals. I couldn’t replicate this on my machine while viewing the report in a web browser or in Power BI Desktop.

After a bit of investigating, it was determined that the issue only occurred inside Deneb visuals when viewed in a browser on a Mac. I reached out to Daniel Marsh-Patrick, maker of the Deneb custom visual, to see if he had a solution. He suggested that “Segoe UI” may not be a sufficient name for the font outside of Windows and that I could add some fallback fonts in my font properties. A fallback font is a font face that is used when the primary font face is not available when a page is loaded. 

Segoe UI is not a font that is natively available on Mac OS. It is available in the font library for Office on Mac OS, but that doesn’t help when viewing a report in a web browser.

So, I updated the configuration in my Deneb visuals. Anywhere that I had defined the font, titleFont, or labelFont properties, I changed the value from "Segoe UI" to: "Segoe UI, wf_segoe-ui_normal, helvetica, arial, sans-serif",. You can see what this looks like in my config settings below.

The config window in the Deneb custom visual editor showing the config  settings for the fonts now include fallback fonts
A portion of the config settings from a Deneb visual in Power BI with fallback fonts added

Lessons Learned

I learned two things from this:

  1. Test the Power BI report on a Mac to ensure a consistent experience.
  2. Make a habit of adding fallback fonts instead of specifying just one font.

I really enjoy the power and flexibility of the Deneb visual. But I’m definitely still learning about some of the nuances of using Vega-Lite such as the font issue above (which is handled by Power BI Desktop behind the scenes when we use core visuals).


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