Using Power BI’s new Slicer and Reference labels

Erik Hamoen
4 min readNov 21, 2023


The new card visual (Including reference label) and the new slicer are some amazing additions to upgrade your Power BI reports. In this short blog, I’ll quicky show you how to create this:

To use the new slicer, you only need to make sure you’re on the November 2023 version. The preview feature is automatically turned on (and can be switched off in the Preview feature settings page)

From the visual pane, you can select the new slicer (notice the little lightning bolt):

Now add your data field and go to formatting:

  1. In the slicer settings, Turn off the single select (unless you want single select of course)
  2. In Layout, I select 1 column, 2 rows. I know I have only two values, if you have more and want to see all of them at the same time, select the number of rows you need. If you have so many that It won’t fit, you can select the scrolling option at Overflow.
  3. In Callout values, select the Default state, now you can change to font color, size, alignment. You can also turn on the Label, which is shown under the slicer value. This can be change to above, but for some reason, I can’t increase size just yet. If you’re looking for changing the background, that needs to be done at the Buttons selection.
  4. When you’re happy with how it looks like, you can change the State to Hover, On press and Selected to change the looks of these states.
  5. The Images part is not really what I was expecting to see. You can select an image from your dataset (which is nice), but I also wanted to be able to change the picture, depending on the selected state. But who knows what the feature holds for us.
  6. After adding your image, you can control the transparency, saturation, and blur. To emphasize on the “not selected state” of my slicer, I put the saturation all the way to 0% for default, 50% for hover and 100% of Selected.
  7. At the last part, the Buttons, change the formatting options to your liking. I really like these accent bars we already know from the Card visual.

The card visual is upgraded and now we can use reference labels to give little bits of extra information to the report users.

Now, this can be a bit confusing at the beginning to be honest, because there are so many settings!

  1. In the formatting options of your card visual, go to reference labels.
  2. Select the series you want to add reference labels to. Please note that the All option won’t give you the ability to add a label.

3. Now you can add one or multiple labels, after that, select the your label in the “select Label” menu, this gives you the all the possibilities to changes the formatting, including the Details.

The Details is like a label, for your label. In the example on top of this page, I use it for example to show how much off-budget I am. Using condition formatting for the font and background color and a nice measure at the data:

_Sales Reference Label = IF( [€ Sales] > [Target] ,FORMAT([€ sales] - [Target] , "€#,##0") & " ↑" ,FORMAT([€ sales] - [Target] , "€#,##0") & " ↓" )

4. Once you setup the (details for) your labels, switch the series back to All. Now you can select the Divider and background (unless you already formatted the background per series).

Round up

This blog only focused on the reference label and the new slicer, but did you know that we can also use tooltips on slicers and cards now?! These are only the second milestone for the card and the first milestone for the slicer, and there will be so many more good things coming our way!

You can download my example here.

Take care.

Originally published at on November 21, 2023.