Microsoft announces general availability of custom visual developer tool for Power BI

Power BI Windows

The easiest way to create custom visuals is by using the PowerBI command line tools which can be easily to installed via NPM. The command line tools provide everything you need to develop visuals and test them in live PowerBI reports and dashboards. Microsoft yesterday announced the general availability of this new tool.


External Libraries: One of the biggest asks was to use external libraries. Since the new tool uses the standard typescript compiler, you can bring in any external library of your choice and use it within your visual.

Visual Isolation: All custom visuals will run in a sandboxed IFrame. This will allow you to use particular versions of libraries and global styles, without the fear that you’ll step on anyone’s toes.

Backward compatibility: By following clear versioning practices, we’re reiterating our commitment to stability and backward compatibility. Visuals created with the new tool will continue to work with all upcoming versions of the Power BI service and Power BI Desktop.

Command-line tools: The new developer tool is purely command-line based, and works across platforms with any IDE of your choice. Our web developer tools, while still functional today, will be deprecated in the future, so we recommend using our new developer tool instead.

Developer Visual: We have created a companion visual that allows you to test your visual inside a report with real data. It also allows you to inspect your data within the visual, as well as react automatically to code changes to refresh the visual code, styles, and data-bindings.

Source maps: With this new approach we are able to generate source maps so you can easily debug your typescript code in the browser or IDE.

Download the new tools here and read more about them here.