2. Bar and Column Charts


Bar and column charts are found in almost every Power BI report. In this lesson, we’ll look at the variants of these charts, including stacked, clustered and 100% stacked bar and column charts.


Bar Charts and Column Charts

  • Bar charts display data as a series of horizontal bars
  • Column charts display data as a series of vertical columns

Stacked and Clustered Charts

  • A stacked chart divides each bar or column into segments, then stacks these segments into a single total bar for each category
  • A clustered chart divides each bar or column into segments, then presents these segments in a cluster for each category

100% Stacked Chart

  • The 100% stacked bar chart is a version of the stacked bar chart where each bar is a constant length, and can be used to compare proportions across categories


Bar and column charts are among the simplest and most common charts you'll use in your reports.

In this lesson, we'll look at all the different bar and column charts available in Power BI.

Our data set includes detailed address information for each company and assigns each company to a region and sub-region.

Let's say we want to compare revenue by region.

We'll drag the Revenue field to the canvas, then drag Region on top, to create a column chart.

We can see that the Northwest and South regions have the highest revenue, followed by Midwest, with the West region some way behind.

This chart displays our data as a series of vertical columns.

Let's switch from a column to a bar chart by clicking the clustered bar chart icon in the Visualizations pane, the chart now displays our data as a series of horizontal bars.

The various types of bar and column charts can be found at the top row of the Visualizations pane.

If we hover the mouse over the chart types, we can see that we've been using a Clustered bar chart and column chart, we also have the option of a Stacked bar or column chart.

If we select a Stacked bar chart, we see that the visual does not actually change.

To illustrate the difference between the clustered and stacked charts, we'll add the Sales Person field to our chart as a Legend.

A legend separates our value, in this case revenue, by the specified field.

We can see that each bar has been split into segments for each sales person, the segments are stacked together to form the bar we saw previously. Hence the name Stacked bar chart.

This specific stacked chart allows us to see how much each sales person is selling in each region.

If we switch to a Clustered bar chart, we see that each sales person has their own individual bar and each of these bars is clustered together for each region.

The stacked bar chart is more useful if you want to compare total sales for each region, while the clustered chart is better if your aim is to compare the performance of individual sales people. However since we have 15 sales people, both of these charts are a little bit too difficult to read.

Let's remove the Sales person legend by selecting the X in the Legend well.

The final bar and column chart option is the 100% Stacked chart.

Let's imagine we now wanna see which sub-regions provide the most revenue in each region.

We'll create a new chart dragging revenue and region to the canvas.

This time we'll change the chart type to 100% Stacked bar chart, we'll also add Sub-region as a legend.

In this chart each region is a constant length, while each sub-region shows the revenue generated as a percentage of the larger region category.

For example, about 75% of the revenue in the Northeast region comes from the Mid Atlantic sub-region, with a remainder coming from the New England sub-region. The 100% Stacked bar chart is useful when we're interesting in the proportion of data falling into a specific category, rather than the top line number.

Note that a smaller number of categories in each bar makes it easier to read and derive insight from this chart.

These Clustered, Stacked and 100% Stacked charts cover the full range of bar and column charts in Power BI, in the next lesson, we'll move forward and examine the formatting options available for our charts.

Dashboards and Visualizations
Introduction to Visualizations in Power BI


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