Showing an alternate text when no data available in a Power BI chart visuals

If you have a visual in the Power BI, that based on some selections of a slicer it might return nothing, depends on the visual, you might get a blank visual, or some other types of improper view. In this blog, I share a simple trick that you can use to have an alternate message in those scenarios.

The problem

Assume that we have a column chart visual with a slicer besides it;

The normal behavior of a chart (column chart, bar chart, etc), when there is no data available, is more likely to not show anything, like below:

For some, this is not a great representation, and you might consider showing a proper message in that blank area. Something like this would be great;

Now let’s see how you can do that.

Create a measure for no data

The first step is to create a measure that checks if for the selection criteria is there a value or not, and based on that returns a message. This is the measure calculation I used;

No data = if(ISBLANK(SUM(FactInternetSales[SalesAmount])),"No data for the selected criteria","")

Create a card visual overlay

The next step is to create a card visual overlay on top of the column chart, and the card visual to show the measure’s value;

Because this card is the card that shows the error message, you might want to make the font color of that Red.

Turn off most of the visual properties

Turn off the category label, the background, visual headers, border etc. to make it just a pure text in the report.

Selection pane

As you can see in the screenshots above, I have opened the Selection pane on the Power BI desktop. This pane is very helpful when you have visuals overlaying on top of each other. It helps easier selecting them. To open the selection pane, click on the Selection under the View tab;

Set the Layout order

If the card is added on top of the column chart, then it is very likely that you get the card visual selected every time you want to click on a column, and this can be bothering the user a lot. You can change the order in the selection pane and bring the column chart at the top;

That’s it!

That’s all. now you can click on the slicer and see the impact in your report. I hope this simple solution helps you to have better visualizations.


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Reza Rad
Trainer, Consultant, Mentor
Reza Rad is a Microsoft Regional Director, an Author, Trainer, Speaker and Consultant. He has a BSc in Computer engineering; he has more than 20 years’ experience in data analysis, BI, databases, programming, and development mostly on Microsoft technologies. He is a Microsoft Data Platform MVP for nine continuous years (from 2011 till now) for his dedication in Microsoft BI. Reza is an active blogger and co-founder of RADACAD. Reza is also co-founder and co-organizer of Difinity conference in New Zealand.
His articles on different aspects of technologies, especially on MS BI, can be found on his blog:
He wrote some books on MS SQL BI and also is writing some others, He was also an active member on online technical forums such as MSDN and Experts-Exchange, and was a moderator of MSDN SQL Server forums, and is an MCP, MCSE, and MCITP of BI. He is the leader of the New Zealand Business Intelligence users group. He is also the author of very popular book Power BI from Rookie to Rock Star, which is free with more than 1700 pages of content and the Power BI Pro Architecture published by Apress.
He is an International Speaker in Microsoft Ignite, Microsoft Business Applications Summit, Data Insight Summit, PASS Summit, SQL Saturday and SQL user groups. And He is a Microsoft Certified Trainer.
Reza’s passion is to help you find the best data solution, he is Data enthusiast.

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