Use on-object interaction with visuals in your report (preview)
APPLIES TO: Power BI Desktop Power BI service
On-object interaction is the new way to build and format a visual, directly on the visual in Power BI Desktop. It puts common actions for creating and formatting visuals on the visuals themselves, actions such as adding fields, changing visualization types, and formatting text.
Turn on preview features
Because the on-object feature is in preview, you need to turn it on. You'll also be turning on the new Visualizations and Format pane functionality changes. See the updated Format and Visualizations panes in Power BI article for details.
In Power BI Desktop, select File > Options and settings > Options > Preview Features > On-object interaction.
Restart Power BI Desktop to see the new experience.
Build a visual with on-object interaction
You can begin building a new visual in one of three ways.
Select or drag fields from the Data pane.
Select a new visual from the Insert section of the ribbon, and then add fields. If you have the ribbon collapsed, select Visual gallery > select a visual.
Right-click the canvas > Add visual or Paste.
You notice the Visualizations pane is no longer available, by design. The updated Format and Visualizations panes in Power BI article has details.
Custom visuals are shown in the ribbon visualization gallery, along with the other visuals.
As you add fields, the visual type updates dynamically based on what Power BI believes is the best visual type for your data. If you want to change the visual type manually, select the Build a visual button and select a visual in the Visual types tray. Selecting a visual type yourself turns off the automatic Suggest a type toggle.
From this flyout menu, you can continue to add data. Select the Add data button and select fields from the Select data pane.
If you prefer to see all the field wells as before, turn off the Suggest a type toggle to expand the full Build a visual menu.
You can also turn this toggle off by default as well as pinning the full visualization gallery tray open. Select File > Options and settings > Options > Report settings, and clear the Suggest a visual type by default check box.
After adding a data field to your visual, select the aggregation you want from the Aggregations dropdown.
Change the type of visual
You can also change the type of a visual. Select the visual, and in the ribbon visualization gallery, select a different visual.
Format a visual on-object
The default behavior when you hover over a visual is to see tooltips, and clicking around a visual, you get the cross-highlight and cross-filter effect. To avoid conflicting with this existing behavior, we introduced a new format mode. When you're in format mode, the hover and click behavior changes to show subselection regions.
You enter format mode in one of two ways:
- Double-click a visual.
- Right-click a visual > select Format.
You know you’re in this new mode when the bounding box turns blue, the handle shapes turn to squares, and the hover and click behavior changes to show subselection regions.
You can hover and click around in the visual to format specific subselections. Right-click the selected element to use the mini-toolbar and shortcut menu.
Edit labels and titles
You can edit labels and titles on visuals directly. Double-click the label you’d like to edit and begin typing. Click away from the label, or press Enter to save your changes.
If you set the title or label by conditional formatting, it's possible to override the text with this new feature. It's a known issue we're working to block, and warn users that dynamic text takes precedence.
In the Format pane > Colors, select the color you want to use. You can also choose to use Conditional formatting to color visual elements.
Selecting overlapping elements
When selecting an element that's very close or overlapping another, Power BI takes the best guess at your selection. If the selection is incorrect, right-click and use the dropdown menu to change your selection to the element you’d like to format.
Attach the build menu to the pane switcher
You can attach the build menu to the pane switcher, if you'd prefer that. Pick one of these three different ways to attach it:
Select the drop-down arrow on the Build a visual pane > Move to pane switcher.
On the View ribbon, select Move Build a visual to pane switcher.
On the File menu, select Options and settings > Options > Report settings. Select Always show Build a visual menu in the pane switcher.
With the View ribbon and the Options dialog, you can choose to Always show the pane switcher.
Customize the pane switcher
With the new plus (+) button on the pane switcher, you can quickly add new panes directly from the pane switcher without having to go to the View ribbon. This menu also gives a brief description of what panes are available and what their functions are. Adding panes to the switcher saves them across reports.
Select the gear icon to access the two preference settings to Always show the pane switcher, and Always show the "Build a visual" menu in the pane switcher.
Show more than one pane at a time
There are two ways to open multiple panes at the same time:
- Select CTRL and select another pane in the pane switcher.
- Right-click an unselected pane and select Open in new pane.
Limitations and known issues
Supported visuals for on-object formatting
- On-object formatting is currently supported for bar, column, line, area, combo, scatter, card, pie, donut, tree map, and table visuals. Small multiples aren't currently supported.
- Format mode isn't currently supported in mobile layout.
- Format mode isn't currently supported in focus mode.
- Small multiples and analytics pane items aren't currently selectable in format mode.
- Subselection regions don't scale as expected in spotlight mode and after using zoom sliders.
- Reset to default might not reset direct text edit and background colors for data and category labels.
- On-object buttons might show above the formula bar if they're open at the same time.
- If you set the title or label by conditional formatting, it's possible to override the text with the new direct text editing feature. It's a known issue we're working to block, and warn users that dynamic text takes precedence.
- While responsive is on, the mini-toolbar will increase to the responsive upper bound, then stop. It might appear as a bug that it’s broken. We plan to add an error state to communicate this.
We plan to release an API for custom visual developers to be able to define subselection regions within their visuals.
- Full accessibility isn't currently supported.
More questions? Try the Power BI community