One of the key differentiating factors between Tableau and Power BI has always been Tableau’s ability to create a truly custom visualization. It seems that Microsoft has finally done something about that fundamental disadvantage and put a great free tool out in the world in the process. Charticulator is a new app from Microsoft’s Research which allows anyone to create a custom visual from a small dataset to use wherever they like, or deploy it as a custom visual in PowerBI to use against real-world datasets. I’ve been mostly underwhelmed and in some cases downright frustrated with third-party custom visuals in the PowerBI marketplace up to this point. If they keep this tool up-to-date and not just a one off ‘research’ project, it will really give organizations the ability to employ, customize and maintain Power BI as a custom analytical platform.
I haven’t had a chance to put it through the paces yet, so I can’t speak to how well it could be depended on in an enterprise deployment scenario, but my initial impression is very positive… I’m amazed at the number of truly bespoke visuals that this tool could generate in a matter of minutes.
You can try Charticulator here.
One of my favorite demos of the tool is here.
Just remember to connect it to a summarized ‘narrow’ dataset since the main point is mapping data visual attributes to each column, not performing aggregations. A .csv import of under a thousand records should work just fine.