Your gradient fill bar charts in Power BI have poor color contrast, but you can fix them

Since conditional formatting was released for Power BI, I have seen countless examples of bar charts that have a gradient color fill. If you aren’t careful about the gradient colors (maybe you just used the default colors), you will end up with poor color contrast. Luckily there are a couple of quick (less than 30 seconds for most people to implement) fixes that can improve your color contrast.

Check out this video to get a more detailed explanation of the problem and potential solutions.

Meagan’s 10-minute video on color contrast issues with gradient color fill in Power BI bar charts shows how to identify and resolve the color contrast issues

If you aren’t the type to watch a longer video, here are my tips:

  1. If you are using the same measure for both the gradient and the bar length, consider whether you even need to have the gradient coloring. It’s not adding information.
  2. If you do need/want the gradient, either because you are encoding a different measure or you just can’t bear to part with it, consider adding a border around the individual bars. Make sure the color contrast from the background and bar colors meet the desired color contrast ratio (usually 3:1).

Were you aware we can now put borders on the individual bars in our bar charts? If you’d like some practice with this formatting option, check out the Workout Wednesday for Power BI exercise from 2023 Week 52.


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