Create Shape Map visualizations in Power BI Desktop (preview)

APPLIES TO: Power BI Desktop  Power BI service


The Azure Maps visual is now generally available. When you open a report with an existing map visual, if Azure Maps is enabled for your organization, you see a message encouraging you to upgrade your maps and filled maps to Azure Maps. In a future release, Power BI plans to deprecate older map visuals and migrate existing reports to Azure Maps. You can convert maps and filled maps to Azure Maps visuals now.

Create a Shape map visual to compare regions on a map using color. Unlike the Map visual, Shape map doesn't show precise geographical locations of data points on a map. Instead, its main purpose is to compare regions on a map by coloring them differently.

Screenshot of a shape map example.

The Shape map visual is only available in Power BI Desktop and not in Power BI service or mobile. Since it is in preview, it must be enabled before you can use it. To enable Shape map, select File > Options and Settings > Options > Preview Features, then select the Shape map visual checkbox. You'll need to restart Power BI Desktop after you make the selection.

Screenshot of preview features in the Options pane.


Sharing your report with a Power BI colleague requires that you both have individual Power BI paid licenses or that the report is saved in Premium capacity.

Create a Shape map

You can test the Shape map control with the maps that ship with this Preview release, or you can use your own custom map as long as it meets the requirements outlined in the following section called Use custom maps. Shape map visuals are based on maps that you can find on the Internet, create yourself, or convert to the TopoJSON format. See the section below to learn more. Examples of custom maps are: geographical, seating arrangements, floor plans, and others.

In Power BI Desktop, after Shape map visual is enabled, select the Shape map icon from the Visualizations pane.

Select the template for shape map.

Power BI Desktop creates an empty Shape map visual design canvas.

An empty shape map appears on your canvas.

Take the following steps to create a Shape map:


In the Region keys section at the end of this article, there are tables of map region keys you can use to follow these steps.

  1. In the Fields pane, drag a data field that has geography names (or abbreviations) onto the Location bucket, and a data measure field into the Color saturation bucket.

    Screenshot of data fields selected to build a shape map.

  2. In the Format pane, expand Map settings, and change the Map type. In this example, we've selected Italy, and the rendering appears, as shown in the following image.

    Screenshot of a shape map of Italy.

  3. To display the map keys of the currently selected map, select View map type key. In this example, we're using a map of Mexico and the Map keys displays the values being used to build the map.

    Screenshot of map key values used to build the shape map.

  4. Choose which way to display a three-dimensional object (the earth) as a two-dimensional map using the Projection dropdown.

    • Equirectangular: cylindrical projection that converts the globe into a grid with each rectangular cell having the same size, shape, and area.
    • Mercator: cylindrical projection with the equator depicted as the line of tangency. Polar areas are more distorted than Equirectangular projections.
    • Orthographic: a projection from an infinite point, as if from deep space. It gives the illusion of a three-dimensional globe

    For more detailed information, see ESRI's map projections article

  5. You can then modify the map using the Formatting options such as Default color, Zoom, and more. And, you can also add a category data column to the Legend bucket, and classify the map regions based on categories.

Use custom maps

You can use custom maps with Shape map as long as they are in the TopoJSON format. If your map is in another format, you can use online tools such as Map Shaper to convert your shapefiles or your GeoJSON maps into the TopoJSON format.

To use a TopoJSON map file, add a Shape map visual to your report. Under Map settings in the Format pane, select Custom map from the dropdown, then choose Add a map type.

Screenshot of Format pane to select Add map.

Sample custom map

The Offices of the United States Attorneys release an annual fiscal report on their litigation and caseload data. We've converted some of their district data into .json files and added them to this sample PBIX.

Custom shape map demo .PBIX file

If you'd like to experiment with custom maps, download this PBIX file and follow along.

  1. From Power BI Desktop, select File > Open report.

  2. Since states can be divided into multiple districts, we have to use a custom shape map for districts. By importing the TopoJSON map of the U.S. judicial districts into Power BI Desktop, we can then visualize the annual fiscal district attorney data. The image below uses a custom map named 2000_districts_extra_simplified_CONUS.json file.

    Screenshot of custom map dropdown to choose districts.

    Screenshot of custom shape map with Texas highlighted.

You can do interesting things with the individual state maps as well, and show more detail based on the districts it contains.

Screenshot of Texas shape map.

Getting map data

To quickly get data into a model to test Shape map, you can copy one of the tables at the end of this article, then select Enter data from the Home ribbon.

Screenshot of button on menu bar to enter data.

In this example, we've selected the data for Mexico and pasted it into Desktop using Enter data. The top row is automatically identified as a header.

Screenshot of data entered using copy and paste.

You can enter a new column simply by typing a new column name (in the blank column to the right), then add values in each cell, just like you can do in Excel. When finished, select Load and the table is added to the data model for Power BI Desktop.


When working with countries or regions, use the three-letter abbreviation to ensure that geocoding works properly in map visualizations. Do not use two-letter abbreviations, as some countries or regions may not be properly recognized.

If you only have two-letter abbreviations, check out this external blog post for steps on how to associate your two-letter country/region abbreviations with three-letter country/region abbreviations.

Preview behavior and requirements

There are a few considerations and requirements for this Preview release of Shape Map:

  • The Shape map visual is in Preview, and must be enabled in Power BI Desktop. To enable Shape map, select File > Options and Settings > Options > Preview Features, then select the Shape map visual checkbox.
  • Currently, you must also have the Color saturation bucket set in order for the Legend classification to work properly.
  • The Shape map visual will plot up to a maximum of 1,500 data points.

Region keys

Use the following Region keys in this Preview release to test Shape map.

Australia: States

ID Abbr ISO Name Postal
au-wa WA AU-WA Western Australia WA
au-vic Vic AU-VIC Victoria VIC
au-tas Tas AU-TAS Tasmania TAS
au-sa SA AU-SA South Australia SA
au-qld Qld AU-QLD Queensland QLD
au-nt NT AU-NT Northern Territory NT
au-nsw NSW AU-NSW New South Wales NSW
au-act ACT AU-ACT Australian Capital Territory ACT

Austria: States

ID ISO Name Name-en Postal
at-wi AT-9 Wien Vienna WI
at-vo AT-8 Vorarlberg Vorarlberg VO
at-tr AT-7 Tirol Tyrol TR
at-st AT-6 Steiermark Styria ST
at-sz AT-5 Salzburg Salzburg SZ
at-oo AT-4 Oberösterreich Upper Austria OO
at-no AT-3 Niederösterreich Lower Austria NO
at-ka AT-2 Kärnten Carinthia KA
at-bu AT-1 Burgenland Burgenland BU

Brazil: States

Sao Paulo
Santa Catarina
Rio Grande do Sul
Rio Grande do Norte
Rio de Janeiro
Minas Gerais
Mato Grosso
Mato Grosso do Sul
Distrito Federal
Espirito Santo
Litigated Zone 1
Litigated Zone 2
Litigated Zone 3
Litigated Zone 4

Canada: Provinces

ID ISO Name Postal
ca-nu CA-NU Nunavut NU
ca-nt CA-NT Northwest Territories NT
ca-yt CA-YT Yukon YT
ca-sk CA-SK Saskatchewan SK
ca-qc CA-QC Quebec QC
ca-pe CA-PE Prince Edward Island PE
ca-on CA-ON Ontario ON
ca-ns CA-NS Nova Scotia NS
ca-nl CA-NL Newfoundland and Labrador NL
ca-nb CA-NB New Brunswick NB
ca-mb CA-MB Manitoba MB
ca-bc CA-BC British Columbia BC
ca-ab CA-AB Alberta AB

France: Regions

ID Name Name-en
Bretagne Bretagne
Centre-Val de Loire Centre-Val de Loire Centre-Val de Loire
Corse Corse Corsica
Grand Est
Ile-de-France Île-de-France Ile-de-France
La Reunion
Normandie Normandie
Pays de la Loire Pays de la Loire Pays de la Loire
Provence-Alpes-Cote d'Azur Provence-Alpes-Côte d'Azur Provence-Alpes-Cote d'Azur

Germany: States

ID ISO Name Name-en Postal
de-be DE-BE Berlin Berlin BE
de-th DE-TH Thüringen Thuringia TH
de-st DE-ST Sachsen-Anhalt Saxony-Anhalt ST
de-sn DE-SN Sachsen Saxony SN
de-mv DE-MV Mecklenburg-Vorpommern Mecklenburg-Vorpommern MV
de-bb DE-BB Brandenburg Brandenburg BB
de-sh DE-SH Schleswig-Holstein Schleswig-Holstein SH
de-sl DE-SL Saarland Saarland SL
de-rp DE-RP Rheinland-Pfalz Rhineland-Palatinate RP
de-nw DE-NW Nordrhein-Westfalen North Rhine-Westphalia NW
de-ni DE-NI Niedersachsen Lower Saxony NI
de-he DE-HE Hessen Hesse HE
de-hh DE-HH Hamburg Hamburg HH
de-hb DE-HB Bremen Bremen HB
de-by DE-BY Bayern Bavaria BY
de-bw DE-BW Baden-Württemberg Baden-Wurttemberg BW

Ireland: Counties


Italy: Regions

ID ISO Name Name-en Postal
it-vn IT-34 Veneto Veneto VN
it-vd IT-23 Valle d'Aosta Aosta Valley VD
it-um IT-55 Umbria Umbria UM
it-tt IT-32 Trentino-Alto Adige Trentino-South Tyrol TT
it-tc IT-52 Toscana Tuscany TC
it-sc IT-82 Sicilia Sicily SC
it-sd IT-88 Sardegna Sardinia SD
it-pm IT-21 Piemonte Piedmont PM
it-ml IT-67 Molise Molise ML
it-mh IT-57 Marche Marche MH
it-lm IT-25 Lombardia Lombardy LM
it-lg IT-42 Liguria Liguria LG
it-lz IT-62 Lazio Lazio LZ
it-fv IT-36 Friuli-Venezia Giulia Friuli-Venezia Giulia FV
it-er IT-45 Emilia-Romagna Emilia-Romagna ER
it-cm IT-72 Campania Campania CM
it-lb IT-78 Calabria Calabria LB
it-bc IT-77 Basilicata Basilicata BC
it-pu IT-75 Apulia Puglia PU
it-ab IT-65 Abruzzo Abruzzo AB

Mexico: States

ID Abreviatura ISO Name Name-en Postal
mx-zac Zac. MX-ZAC Zacatecas Zacatecas ZA
mx-yuc Yuc. MX-YUC Yucatán Yucatan YU
mx-ver Ver. MX-VER Veracruz Veracruz VE
mx-tla Tlax. MX-TLA Tlaxcala Tlaxcala TL
mx-tam Tamps. MX-TAM Tamaulipas Tamaulipas TM
mx-tab Tab. MX-TAB Tabasco Tabasco TB
mx-son Son. MX-SON Sonora Sonora SO
mx-sin Sin. MX-SIN Sinaloa Sinaloa SI
mx-slp S.L.P. MX-SLP San Luis Potosí San Luis Potosi SL
mx-roo Q.R. MX-ROO Quintana Roo Quintana Roo QR
mx-que Qro. MX-QUE Querétaro Queretaro QE
mx-pue Pue. MX-PUE Puebla Puebla PU
mx-oax Oax. MX-OAX Oaxaca Oaxaca OA
mx-nle N.L. MX-NLE Nuevo León Nuevo Leon NL
mx-nay Nay. MX-NAY Nayarit Nayarit NA
mx-mor Mor. MX-MOR Morelos Morelos MR
mx-mic Mich. MX-MIC Michoacán Michoacan MC
mx-mex Méx. MX-MEX Estado de México Mexico State MX
mx-jal Jal. MX-JAL Jalisco Jalisco JA
mx-hid Hgo. MX-HID Hidalgo Hidalgo HI
mx-gro Gro. MX-GRO Guerrero Guerrero GR
mx-gua Gto. MX-GUA Guanajuato Guanajuato GT
mx-dur Dgo. MX-DUR Durango Durango DU
mx-dif CDMX. MX-DIF Ciudad de México Mexico City DF
mx-col Col. MX-COL Colima Colima CL
mx-coa Coah. MX-COA Coahuila Coahuila CA
mx-chh Chih. MX-CHH Chihuahua Chihuahua CH
mx-chp Chis. MX-CHP Chiapas Chiapas CP
mx-cam Camp. MX-CAM Campeche Campeche CM
mx-bcs B.C.S. MX-BCS Baja California Sur Baja California Sur BS
mx-bcn B.C. MX-BCN Baja California Baja California BN
mx-agu Ags. MX-AGU Aguascalientes Aguascalientes AG

Netherlands: Provinces

ID ISO Name Name-en
nl-zh NL-ZH Zuid-Holland South Holland
nl-ze NL-ZE Zeeland Zeeland
nl-ut NL-UT Utrecht Utrecht
nl-ov NL-OV Overijssel Overijssel
nl-nh NL-NH Noord-Holland North Holland
nl-nb NL-NB Noord-Brabant North Brabant
nl-li NL-LI Limburg Limburg
nl-gr NL-GR Groningen Groningen
nl-ge NL-GE Gelderland Gelderland
nl-fr NL-FR Fryslân Friesland
nl-fl NL-FL Flevoland Flevoland
nl-dr NL-DR Drenthe Drenthe

UK: Countries/Regions

gb-wls GB-WLS Wales
gb-sct GB-SCT Scotland
gb-nir GB-NIR Northern Ireland
gb-eng GB-ENG England

USA: States

ID Name Postal
us-mi Michigan MI
us-ak Alaska AK
us-hi Hawaii HI
us-fl Florida FL
us-la Louisiana LA
us-ar Arkansas AR
us-sc South Carolina SC
us-ga Georgia GA
us-ms Mississippi MS
us-al Alabama AL
us-nm New Mexico NM
us-tx Texas TX
us-tn Tennessee TN
us-nc North Carolina NC
us-ok Oklahoma OK
us-az Arizona AZ
us-mo Missouri MO
us-va Virginia VA
us-ks Kansas KS
us-ky Kentucky KY
us-co Colorado CO
us-md Maryland MD
us-wv West Virginia WV
us-de Delaware DE
us-dc District of Columbia DC
us-il Illinois IL
us-oh Ohio OH
us-ca California CA
us-ut Utah UT
us-nv Nevada NV
us-in Indiana IN
us-nj New Jersey NJ
us-ri Rhode Island RI
us-ct Connecticut CT
us-pa Pennsylvania PA
us-ny New York NY
us-ne Nebraska NE
us-ma Massachusetts MA
us-ia Iowa IA
us-nh New Hampshire NH
us-or Oregon OR
us-mn Minnesota MN
us-vt Vermont VT
us-id Idaho ID
us-wi Wisconsin WI
us-wy Wyoming WY
us-sd South Dakota SD
us-nd North Dakota ND
us-me Maine ME
us-mt Montana MT
us-wa Washington WA