Data Visualization, Power BI, Workout Wednesday

Custom labels on bar and column charts in Power BI

Did you know that you can create labels on bar charts that don’t use the fields in the field wells? You absolutely can!

I did this in the exercise for Workout Wednesday 2023 for Power BI Week 20.

A Power BI report showing small multiple column charts with custom labels on each column.
Power BI report containing a column chart with small multiples that show custom labels on each column.

Notice the label on each column that shows the year and average game length in h:mm format.

These custom labels are available for any bar or column chart – small multiples are not required.

How to add custom labels

The setting for these labels is a little bit hidden. On my column chart, I went to Format Pane, located the Data labels section, and found the Values area. Under Values, there is a toggle for Custom label that must first be enabled before populating the Field below it.

You can drag any field in the fields list into the custom label field. It only accepts one field, so if you want to display multiple values, you’ll need to create a custom column to concatenate values. That is exactly what I did in my example report.

You can control the orientation and position of the labels (mine are set to horizontal and inside base). You can also format the label values and background.

Happy labeling!

3 thoughts on “Custom labels on bar and column charts in Power BI”

  1. Hi Meagan,
    It does not appear to be working on a Line Chart where multiple measures (lines) are being displayed.
    I am using the Series dropdown to identify my measures.
    I have 5 different Series, and for each one I wish to display the Label for an Alternate (but very related) measure. (Reason for doing so is too involved to explain in short message).
    The reality is that my Alternate label is not appearing.
    What is the best way to give feedback on this?

      1. The issue applies to ALL Chart Types. I have since discovered that the problem is where the Custom Data label is BLANK it does not replace the original. In my case, I specifically want to suppress the display with blank. I have a sample pbix model, with minimum data, built just to highlight the issue.

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