How to use Microsoft Power BI Scatter Chart

In this Power BI Tutorial, we will learn about Power BI Scatter chart. Also, we will discuss the following topics:

  • What is Power BI Scatter chart?
  • When to use a Power BI Scatter chart?
  • Key features of Power BI Scatter chart
  • What are the key elements that need to create a Scatter chart?
  • How to create a Scatter chart on Power BI Desktop?
  • Power BI Scatter Chart category label
  • Power BI Scatter Chart play axis
  • Power BI Scatter Chart trend line
  • Power BI Scatter chart Quadrant line
  • Power BI Scatter Chart Format
  • Advantages and disadvantages of Power BI Scatter chart

What is Power BI Scatter chart?

The Power BI Scatter chart visual can be created and viewed in Power BI Desktop and Power BI.

  • A Scatter chart is a useful built-in chart in Power BI, which is used to visualize the relationship between two numerical variables. It is used in inferential statistics to visually examine the correlation between twovariables.
  • A scatter chart has two value axes to show. One is used as numerical data along a horizontal axis and another is used as numerical data along a vertical axis.
  • This chart represents the points at the intersection of an X and Y numerical value, combining these values in a single data point.
  • We can set the number of data points up to 10,000.

Here is an example of a Scatter chart on Power BI Desktop:

Example of Power BI Scatter chart
Example of Power BI Scatter chart

When to use a Scatter chart?

  • A scatter chart is used to show the relationship between two quantitative variables(i.e, two numerical variables on the X-axis and Y-axis).
  • A scatter chart is a good choice to plot two groups of numbers as one series of X and Y coordinates.
  • It would also be interesting to note the Scatter chart is the only animation chart by default in Power BI.
  • This visual is the only chart in Power BI that moves around when it is activated.
  • This chart is used to turn the horizontal axis into a logarithm scale.

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Key features of Power BI Scatter chart

Let’s discuss some key features of the Power BI Scatter chart:

  • Variance bar: The variance bar helps to visualize the difference track the movement between the data point over different time intervals.
  • Marker customization: There are different type of marker customization options which can be found under the appearance tab. Those are:
    • Shape- Choose from different shapes and styles like solid, border, and both.
    • Custom Image- Display the custom image insted of bubble standard bubbles display.
    • Marker size- It is used to customize the Marker size.
    • Color
  • Conditional Formatting: It is used to help visually highlight the data points by changing color based on a set of rules and usually prefered for outlier detection.
  • Axis ranges: We can divide the axis into different groups by using the axis range features.
  • Play axis: It is help to visualize the change in trend accross the assigned category in a short span of timewithout manually filtereing through the dashboard.
  • Analytics Sections: There are various ananlytics sections in Scatter chart. These are:
    • Referenece lines- We can add a reference line based on a consant or calculated values.
    • Horizontal and Vertical- It represents a static or dynamic reference line.
    • Custom- Line connecting two co-ordinate points.
    • Trend line- It provides a direction of the trend for underlying the data.
  • Data label customization: This visual offers the option to add both the category and value field along with different positioning options as part of the data label section. These options are:
    • Category
    • Legend
    • X value
    • Y value
  • Top N: Ranking and displaying the Top ‘N’ and group the remaining as other.
  • IBCS Scatter and Bubble: This custom visual provides supports IBCS Scatter and Bubble chart variation.

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Key elements of a scatter chart

We have to notice the requirements needed to create this visual as it is being selected in the Field settings panel.

  • Details: It is used to specify what categorial column visualized.
  • Legend: It is used to specify which column sub-divides the Details data.
  • X-axis: It is specify the Horizontal axis.
  • Y-axis: It is specify the Vertical axis.
  • Size: It is specify the column that represents the Marker size.
  • Play-axis: it is used to specify the column(mostly a date column) is responsible for the trend overtime.
  • Tool-tip: It is used to add a data field or measure to be included in information displayed when hovering on a mark in the chart.
Key elements of Scatter chart
Key elements of Scatter chart

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How to create a Scatter chart on Power BI Desktop ?

Now we will see how to create a Scatter chart on Power BI Desktop by following these easy steps:

Step-1:

Prepare the data, that you used to make the visual. Here we used Sample data based on products sold. You can download it from here for your practice.

Your data source may be an Excel sheet, SharePoint list, SQL data, etc.

Step-2:

Go to Get data > More… > All/File > Excel Workbook > Connect.

Get Data from various data sources
Get Data from various data sources

Step-3:

Select the Excel data > Open.

Create Scatter chart on power BI
Create a Scatter chart on power BI

Step-4:

A navigate page will appear. By selecting Excel data it will navigate to Power BI. Click on Load.

Create Scatter chart on power BI
Create a Scatter chart on power BI

Step-5:

On the Report page, click on the Scatter chart icon on the Visualizations pane and expand to fit the report page.

Scatter chart on power BI
Scatter chart on power BI

Step-6:

From the field pane, drag Product sub-category to Details, Sales to X-Axis, Profit to Y-Axis buckets of the Visualizations pane.

*Not every field needs to be specified to create a simple scatter chart. Only 3 of them are mainly required(i.e, Details, X-Axis, Y-Axis). The rest are using to add additional data to the Scatter chart.

Power BI Scatter chart
Power BI Scatter chart

Step-7:

We can enhance the Scatter chart by adding the rest additional data. Drag Product Category to Legend, Sales to Size, then the chart will look like this:

Scatter chart on Power BI
Scatter chart on Power BI

This is how to create a Simple Scatter chart on Power BI.

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Power BI Scatter Chart category label

Here we will see how to show the label of the category, by following this simple step:

Select the Scatter chart, Navigate to the Format pane > Turn on Category

Power BI Scatter Chart category label
Power BI Scatter Chart category label

Now we can see the category labels on the above chart.

Power BI Scatter Chart play axis

  • A Scatter chart not only shows values of three measures across different categories but also has a special feature Play axis that helps you to tell the story behind the data.
  • The play axis feature is part of the latest enhancements made to the advanced visual.
  • A play axis visual works like a dynamic slider that animates the report visual without clicking every time to change the filter value.
  • It allows choosing between a button or slider control and displays the summarized value across each play axis field using the play axis title position.

Here we will see how a Play axis works on a Power BI Scatter chart.

From the Field Pane, drag and drop Order Date to Play axis field. (A Play axis mostly uses the date/ time data).

Then hit the Play button, which appears on the visual. Like below:

Scatter chart Play axis
Scatter chart Play axis

The animation that comes up afterward shows the trends of the product over time(Yearly, quarterly, monthly or daily).

Power BI Scatter chart play axis
Power BI Scatter chart play axis

It shows which category of the product was leading or lagging at a particular period of time.

This is how a Play axis works on a Scatter Chart.

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Power BI Scatter Chart trend line/Ratio line

Trendline easily indicates the best fit of some data using a single line or curve.

A single trendline can be applied to a chart to give a clearer picture of the trend.

The line goes through the origin and allows us to see how much a given point deviates from overall.

For plotting a trend line or ratio line on the chart, we have to follow these easy steps:

Go to Analytics pane > expand Ratio line > Click on Add

Power BI Scatter Chart trend line/Ratio linePower BI Scatter Chart trend line/Ratio line
Power BI Scatter Chart trend line/Ratio line

*It is not a good idea to have both quadrants and the ratio/trend line in the same Scatter chart. So its good to remove the quadrants or average lines before plotting a ratio or trend line

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Power BI Scatter Chart quadrants

On the Power BI Scatter chart, an average line displays a dotted line between the chart indicating the average Profit or sales value.

This creates a sort of Quadrants where in comparison to the average, we can see the subcategories that have a lower scale and lower profit, higher scale and lower profit, lower scale and higher profits, higher scale and higher profit.

For creating quadrants, follow these below steps:

Go to Analytics pane > expand Average line > Add average line > Select Measure(Profit/Sales)

Power BI Scatter Chart quadrants
Power BI Scatter Chart quadrants

This is how to do Power BI Scatter Chart quadrants.

Power BI Scatter Chart Format

There is various way to format a Scatter chart on Power BI. Formatting the Scatter chart includes the changing the scatter or shapes, colors, Title and it’s position on the scatter chart, X-axis and Y-axis details, Customizing the data colors, Background color, chart’s border, and shadow, etc.

we can see various formatting options on the Format pane.

Scatter chart Format options
Scatter chart Format options

To illustrate the formatting options on the Scatter chart, we are going to use the scatter chart that we previously created.

  • General: This section is used to change the data volume, X and Y positions, responsiveness of the chart, weidth and height of the scatter chart.
  • Legend: We can show or hide the legend on the chart. Also, we can customize it’s name, position(i.e. top to bottom), color(grey to raddish), size, etc.
  • X-axis: Here we can set a start value and end value, display unit(auto to thousand), Text size(9 pt to 11 pt), font family, etc. By toggoling(on/off) the scatter chart gridline option we can show or hide the gridline on the chart.
    • Line color- For changing te gridline colors. (i.e. grey to black)
    • Stroke width- Use to change the gridlines width. (i.e. 1 to 3)
    • Line style- Choose the line style such as solid, dashed, dotted.
Grid format on Scatter chart
Grid format on Scatter chart
  • Y-axis: This format is almost similar to X-axis format.
  • Data colors: Here we can customize the each data colors by selecting the colors from color chart.
Scatter chart Data color format
Scatter chart Data color format
  • Shapes: We can format the size of the shapes(-10 to -7), Marker shapes(i.e. circle to triangle).
  • Plot area: Here we can add a custom image as background and make it transparence.
  • Category Labels: We can show or hide the label of the categories. Also, we can change the size and color of the category labels.
  • Title: Here we can hide or show the title on the scatter chart. Also, we can format the title, its alignment such as right, left, center(i.e. center), title’s background, font size, font color(i.e. black to blue) etc.
  • Border Color: By toggling the Color border option from Off to on,we can enable to border the marker shape.

Also, we can add shadow, border to the scatter chart. After applying the format, the chart will look like below:

Power BI Scatter Chart Format
Power BI Scatter Chart Format

This is how to do Power BI Scatter Chart Format.

Advantages and Disadvantages of Power BI Scatter chart

There are some advantages of the Power BI Scatter chart:

  • It show a relationship a trend in the data of variables.
  • It can help in finding correlations between variables.
  • It can represent both a positive or negative correlations.
  • It can eassily manipulate viewer’s perceptions and create an adverse impact.

Disadvantage of Power BI Scatter chart:

We can not use a scatter chart to show the relation of more than two variables.

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Conclusion

From this tutorial, we learned all about the Power BI scatter chart. And, also discussed

  • What is Power BI Scatter chart and it’s use?
  • What are the Key features and key elements of the Power BI Scatter chart?
  • How to create a Scatter chart on Power BI Desktop ?
  • What is Category label on Power BI Scatter Chart?
  • How play axis works on Power BI Scatter Chart?
  • Discussed about trend line and Quadrant line on Power BI Scatter Chart.
  • How to do Format on Power BI Scatter Chart?
  • Discussed about advantages and disadvantages of the Power BI Scatter chart.
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