Power BI Desktop Scatter Chart

Power BI Tip: Use a Scatter Chart to Create a Calendar Report

Power BI Desktop Scatter Chart

The Scatter Chart in Power BI and Excel is very useful chart for visualizing three different metrics in tandem. But with a little bit of work you can use a Scatter Chart to create a Calendar chart for visualizing your metrics across the days of an individual month.

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To configure a Scatter Chart too mimic a Calendar type report, you need the following:

1) An attribute for the day number of the week (1,2,3,4,5,6,7).
2) An attribute for the day number of the month (1,2,3…29,30,31).
2) An attribute for the week number of the month (1,2,3,4,5,6).
3) An attribute for sorting the week numbers in reverse order.
4) A business metric you wish to represent in the report.

Most of these items you can get from a traditional date dimension. In this example, I’m utilizing the Adventure Works DW database which has a date dimension table.

To set up the Scatter chart correctly, configure the visualization as seen in this screen shot from Power BI Desktop.


I want to point out a couple things here. First, you can optionally add a field to the Legend to differentiate between the weekend and weekdays or to identify holidays, as seen below.

Power BI Desktop Scatter Chart

Secondly, in order to display the Calendar in the correct order, we actually need to reverse the order to the Week numbers so that the first week of the month is numerically higher than the last week of the month. To do this I used a TSQL Case statement to populate the new column in the Adventure Works Date dimension table:

[WeekNumberOfMonth]  AS 
[WeekNumberOfMonthReverse]  AS 
    (case (datepart(week,[FullDateAlternateKey])-datepart(week,dateadd(month,datediff(month,(0),[FullDateAlternateKey]),(0))))+(1) 
        when (1) then (6) 
        when (2) then (5) 
        when (3) then (4) 
        when (4) then (3) 
        when (5) then (2) 
        when (6) then (1)  

In the above code snippet, I also included the TSQL I used to create the WeekNumberOfMonth column.

You may also notice that I included the days of the week names at the bottom of the chart. I kind of cheated here as the Scatter chart doesn’t allow string fields on the X axis. I simply used a text box to rig this up but when the charts resize it shifts out of position, so be aware of this.

The final step is to hide all the axes and the background if you desire. In my case I left the data labels visible to display the day of the month number.


Interested in other Power BI tricks? Check these out:

Import Excel Power View Reports into Power BI
Clean Your Power Query Code
Create Cool Slicers with Treemaps, Funnels, Column & Bar Charts


Let me know what you think! I thought this was pretty cool! Leave a comment down below. Thanks for reading!

5 thoughts on “Power BI Tip: Use a Scatter Chart to Create a Calendar Report”

  1. Nice article – lovely to present what is going on during the month. Battled to get my circles right and then I realised that I had to set the Start and End Values for the X & Y Axis to ensure that I had dummy values on either side

  2. Thank you for this article, it is really helpful.
    Hope that Power Bi will allow us to set the position of the category labels.

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