Tutorial: Add formatting options to the Circle Card visual

When you create a visual, you can add options for customizing its properties. Some of the items that can be to customized formatted include:

  • Title
  • Background
  • Border
  • Shadow
  • Colors

In this tutorial, you learn how to:

  • Add formatting properties to your visual.
  • Package the visual
  • Import the custom visual to a Power BI Desktop or Service report


This tutorial explains how to add common formatting properties to a visual. We'll use the Circle card visual as an example. We'll add the ability to change the color and thickness of the circle. If you don't have the Circle card project folder that you created in that tutorial, redo the tutorial before continuing.

Adding formatting options

  1. In PowerShell, Navigate to your circle card project folder and start the circle card visual. Your visual is now running while being hosted on your computer.

    pbiviz start
  2. In Power BI, select the Format panel.

    You should see general formatting options, but not any visual formatting options.

    Screenshot of formatting panel with only general formatting options.

  3. In Visual Studio Code, open the capabilities.json file.

  4. Before the dataViewMappings array, add objects.

    "objects": {},

    Screenshot of capabilities file with empty objects array.

  5. Save the capabilities.json file.

  6. In Power BI, review the formatting options again.


    If you don't see the formatting options change, select Reload Custom Visual.

    Screenshot of general and visual formatting options on the formatting pane.

  7. Set the Title option to Off. Notice that the visual no longer displays the measure name at the top-left corner.

    Screenshot of visualizations pane with the Title switch turned off.

    Screenshot of circle card visual without the title row.

Adding custom formatting options

Now let's add new group called color for configuring the circle color and thickness of the circle's outline.

  1. In PowerShell, enter Ctrl+C to stop the custom visual.

  2. In Visual Studio Code, in the capabilities.json file, insert the following JSON fragment into the object labeled objects.

        "circle": {
            "properties": {
                "circleColor": {
                    "type": {
                        "fill": {
                            "solid": {
                                "color": true
                "circleThickness": {
                    "type": {
                        "numeric": true

    This JSON fragment describes a group called circle, which consists of two variables - circleColor and circleThickness.

  3. Save the capabilities.json file.

  4. In the Explorer pane, go to the src folder, and then select settings.ts. This file represents the settings for the starter visual.

  5. In the settings.ts file, replace the import lines and two classes with the following code.

    import { formattingSettings } from "powerbi-visuals-utils-formattingmodel";
    import FormattingSettingsCard = formattingSettings.Card;
    import FormattingSettingsSlice = formattingSettings.Slice;
    import FormattingSettingsModel = formattingSettings.Model;
    export class CircleSettings extends FormattingSettingsCard{
        public circleColor = new formattingSettings.ColorPicker({
            name: "circleColor",
            displayName: "Color",
            value: { value: "#ffffff" }
        public circleThickness = new formattingSettings.NumUpDown({
            name: "circleThickness",
            displayName: "Thickness",
            value: 2
        public name: string = "circle";
        public displayName: string = "Circle";
        public slices: FormattingSettingsSlice[] = [this.circleColor, this.circleThickness]
    export class VisualSettings extends FormattingSettingsModel {
        public circle: CircleSettings = new CircleSettings();
        public cards: FormattingSettingsCard[] = [this.circle];

    This module defines the two classes. The CircleSettings class defines two properties with names that match the objects defined in the capabilities.json file (circleColor and circleThickness) and sets default values. The VisualSettings class defines the circle object according to the properties described in the capabilities.json file.

  6. Save the settings.ts file.

  7. Open the visual.ts file.

  8. In the visual.ts file, import the :

    import { VisualSettings } from "./settings";
    import { FormattingSettingsService } from "powerbi-visuals-utils-formattingmodel";

    and in the Visual class add the following properties:

    private visualSettings: VisualSettings;
    private formattingSettingsService: FormattingSettingsService;

    This property stores a reference to the VisualSettings object, describing the visual settings.

  9. In the Visual class, insert the following as the first line of the constructor:

    this.formattingSettingsService = new FormattingSettingsService();
  10. In the Visual class, add the following method after the update method.

    public getFormattingModel(): powerbi.visuals.FormattingModel {
        return this.formattingSettingsService.buildFormattingModel(this.visualSettings);

    This function gets called on every formatting pane render. It allows you to select which of the objects and properties you want to expose to the users in the property pane.

  11. In the update method, after the declaration of the radius variable, add the following code.

    this.visualSettings = this.formattingSettingsService.populateFormattingSettingsModel(VisualSettings, options.dataViews);
    this.visualSettings.circle.circleThickness.value = Math.max(0, this.visualSettings.circle.circleThickness.value);
    this.visualSettings.circle.circleThickness.value = Math.min(10, this.visualSettings.circle.circleThickness.value);

    This code retrieves the format options. It adjusts any value passed into the circleThickness property, and converts it to a number between zero and 10.

    Screenshot of setting circle thickness to between zero and 10.

  12. In the circle element, modify the values passed to the fill style and stroke-width style as follows:

    .style("fill", this.visualSettings.circle.circleColor.value.value)
    .style("stroke-width", this.visualSettings.circle.circleThickness.value)

    Screenshot of circle elements.

  13. Save the visual.ts file.

  14. In PowerShell, start the visual.

    pbiviz start
  15. In Power BI, in the toolbar floating above the visual, select Toggle Auto Reload.

    Screenshot of Toggle Auto Reload icon.

  16. In the visual format options, expand Circle.

    Screenshot of the final circle card visuals format pane elements.

    Modify the color and thickness option.

Modify the thickness option to a value less than zero, and a value higher than 10. Then notice the visual updates the value to a tolerable minimum or maximum.


For tips about debugging your custom visual, see the debugging guide.

Packaging the custom visual

Now that the visual is completed and ready to be used, it's time to package it. A packaged visual can be imported to Power BI reports or service to be used and enjoyed by others.

When your visual is ready, follow the directions in Package a Power BI visual and then, if you want, share it with others so they can import and enjoy it.

Next steps