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Power BI July 2021 Update
Part two of a four-part series of blogs

This month's update sees the launch of small multiples, a range of new dynamic format properties and the roll-out of sensitivity labels.

  1. Power BI July 2021 Update
  2. Small multiples (this blog)
  3. Lots more conditional properties available
  4. Sensitivity Labels

We've been creating our idiosyncratic monthly blogs on Power BI updates since November 2016, and also deliver online and classroom Power BI courses.

Posted by Andy Brown on 26 July 2021

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Small Multiples

This exciting feature is now integrated into Power BI!

Small multiples

Small multiples allow you to show the same chart for each value in a dimension (so here we're comparing sales by region for each of 5 habitats).

The above screen-shot shows that small multiples look better if you have a non-prime number of small charts (6 charts would have looked much better, as we wouldn't have the strange empty bottom-right space).

Creating small multiples

To create small multiples, start with a normal line, bar, column or area chart:

Column chart

Make your chart quite big - in a moment it will have a lot of little baby charts to show!

Drag the field whose value you want to compare for each small multiple onto the Small multiples field well card:

Small multiples card

Drag a field into this area of the field well.

Choosing the number of charts per row/column

Our chart has 2 rows and 3 columns.  To set how many charts will appear in your small multiples grid, change these options:

Grid layout

In the Grid layout card, set the number of rows and columns. Any unused "boxes" will be left blank.


Repetition of axis titles and labels

Bear in mind that the Y axis titles and labels will appear once and once only to the left of your small multiples, and the X axis titles and labels once and one only below them:

Axis titles

The axis titles and labels shown in the red boxes above are NOT part of your small multiples; they're part of the containing chart visual.

Small multiple titles

Small multiples look better (I think) with the titles below each chart:

Small multiple titles

Here we've moved the titles below each chart.

It's easy enough to move your titles:

Small multiple title properties

In the Small multiple title formatting card, choose where to position the titles for each mini-chart.


Formatting small multiples

You can control how small multiples appear using more options on the Grid Layout formatting card:

Grid layout full list

Most of the options control how (or whether) lines between the small multiples appear. By setting the inner and outer row and column padding to 0, as here, no other colours show through apart from the background colour you set for each small multiple.


You can set conditional formatting for the background colour of small multiples in the usual Power BI way:

Background colours conditional

Here the background colour of each small multiple has been set to the value of a field in the Habitat table.

However, if you then try to customise the colour formatting of the data series (shown in red in the screen-shot above) you seem to lose the conditionally formatted background colours.

Sorting small multiples

You can sort small multiples using the usual visual header icon:

Sorting small multiples

There's a separate menu option for sorting small multiples.

The sort menu includes any fields used by your visual, including (for example) any measure that you've created and added as a visual tooltip.

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