2024 Week 9 | Power BI: Use Bar Overlap and Border Formatting


Welcome to this week’s Workout Wednesday. This week, we are taking advantage of some new features in the February 2024 release of Power BI Desktop. We can now have bars overlap in a clustered column chart and hide the inner borders in a stacked column chart. This week, we’ll use those formatting options to create a one-page report about over-the-counter medicine sales for a fictional company. The data is made up to facilitate the visualizations. The three charts are required, but you can design the rest of the report as you see fit. 


1. Retrieve the single table of source data from Data.World

2. Create a chart with overlapping bars to show current year sales versus plan. Use the [goal] column for the plan values and [cy] column for current year sales values. The plan bar should be in the background. The current year sales should be in the foreground. Use an error bar to highlight the percent variance between sales and plan. Use color to indicate whether the percent variance is negative or positive. Label the percent variance above the bars. 

3. Create a stacked column chart that shows the contribution of each category to each quarter’s sales. Label each segment with the percent of the quarter’s sales. Label the total sales above each bar. Ensure the labels have at least 4.5:1 color contrast from their background

4. Create a small multiple line chart that shows the percent variance to prior year sales. Use the [py] column for prior year sales. Add a reference line for 0%. Use marker color to indicate whether the percent variance is positive or negative (hint: you can’t do this directly on a line chart). Add a data label to each point.

5. Ensure that the colors used in your report are easily distinguishable. You can use a tool such as Adobe’s color accessibility tool to check colors beforehand, or Coblis to check your report after it has been designed. 


You can find this week’s data on Data.World at https://data.world/mlongoria/wow2024wk9

Data.World requires you to create a free account to access the data. You may use the Data.World connector in Power BI or download the file to your local machine and connect to it there.



After you finish your workout, share on Twitter or LinkedIn using the hashtags #WOW2024 and #PowerBI. If you share on Twitter, please tag @MMarie, @shan_gsd, @KerryKolosko. Also make sure to fill out the Submission Tracker so that we can count you as a participant this week in order to track our participation throughout the year.


Solution file available for download via the Data Stories Gallery.

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