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Power BI – December 2020 – Small Multiples

Small Multiples are now part of some of the main visuals so lets take a look at them using Adventureworks data

To take advantage of this at present you have to switch it on in Preview features in Options / Preview Features


Using the Clustered Column Chart

Note that there is a small multiples area to place data items

Currently the Small multiple categories based on Group are ordered alphabetically. It looks like better sorting will be coming in later releases

It would be nice to be able to shade the multiples slightly as background because Europe and North America are difficult to differentiate

Also there are only three groups so the last grid is empty. I attempted to make the visual long and narrow to try and get all three multiples on the same row but it wouldn’t let me.

As a consequence, it may be worth thinking about only doing small multiples on groups that don’t leave you with a blank grid.

The next possible issue is the Calendaryear axis only being available for the bottom charts. this may also be confusing when you are looking at a few multiples.


Be careful what you are adding to your Bar chart. This started of as a visual counting product Sub categories ‘Total quantity’. I thought it would be nice to split these up by the Product category Accessories / Bikes/ Clothing and Components

However, this would only work if each small multiple group had the Product sub categories available to them only. And every group shares the same list so we have lots of empty values

As you can see, this grouping does not work. You will have to think carefully about this. The small multiple group should really share the same Axis information to make it work at the moment.

This now makes sense because each Group is selling the same Product Categories.

So the Bar chart small multiples are not suitable for situations where the small multiple group doesn’t have the same axis information because the axis is shared


This is a good one. the Line Chart clearly shows where each group starts and ends.

There are 4 categories which means there are no empty areas.

So far this is the best example of the Small multiple in action


This is just as successful as the line chart as they are so similar

Each group is easily viewed.

After looking at the Small Multiples so far, I would definitely say that the Line and Area charts are the best use cases for the Small multiples. they look good and are easy to understand.

But you need to put some thinking into the best data items to display in your small multiple visuals to ensure your users still get the best from the report.

February 2021

Really good news on the small multiples update

You can now format to make the visual easier to read by the user

This resolves a few of my issues before about how confusing this column chart looked before.