How Sankey Chart in Power BI Convey Effective Message to Stakeholders

Implementation guide to creating Sankey chart in Power BI using Hollywood Most Profitable stories data.

Sankey Chart in Power BI
Image by Unsplash


For every data analysis project, data visualization plays an important role. When we think about data visualization, plenty of charts/graphs are coming to our minds. Earlier, we used bar, line, pie, etc, some common format charts.

The visualization world is changing, many chart formats are joining. Out of them, Sankey Chart is very popular.

In this blog, you will learn how to build a Sankey Chart in Power BI using one Kaggle data set.

What is Sankey Chart

If you search in Google with “Sankey Chart”, you find the below definition about Sankey Diagram.

“Sankey diagrams are a type of flow diagram in which the width of the arrows is proportional to the flow rate”

Sankey Chart represents data flow from one set of values to another set of values. Instead of using a bar chart, you can use the Sankey chart for a better visualization approach.

Know the Data

I choose a data set from Kaggle.

It is about Hollywood’s most profitable movies released between 2007 and 2012.

It has different information like movie titles, genres, studio, profitability, ratings, etc.

Kaggle Data — Hollywood Profitable Stories — Visualization
Image by Author

Your Learning Objectives

From this case study, you can learn the following things.

  1. Media Data Analysis
  2. How to create a Sankey Chart in Power BI
  3. The idea for sample possible reports with media data

Import Data

  • Let’s start with the Get Data option under the Home tab. As this is a CSV file, select the Text/CSV option from the drop-down list
  • Select the file named HollywoodsMostProfitableStories.csv
  • After selecting the file, data will be displayed in the below format
Power BI — Get Data — Text/CSV
Image by Author
  • Click on Load and save data.

Transform Data

You need to do some changes to start with your visualization

  1. Change the Summarization from Sum to Average for Average score % and Rotten Tomatoes %
  2. For the Year field, make is Don’t Summarize
  3. You can create one calculated measure named No. of Films which is the count of films.

Data Visualization

Power BI offers different advanced visuals. These are all supported by 3rd party providers.

We need to first import required visuals from AppSource after clicking “Get more visuals” under the visualization section.

Get More Visuals

  1. Click on Get more visuals under the Visualization section → Click on Get more visuals out of the displayed 4 options.
  2. Power BI Visuals dialog box opens. Please check, by default AppSource tab should be selected.
  3. Now in the search box, type “Sankey” and click on the search icon.
  4. Displays a list of visuals that are enabled with animated features.
  5. Select the visual “Sankey Chart” and click on Add button.
  6. Now this visual adds to the visualization section.
Sankey Chart — Power BI — Advanced Analytics
Image by Author
Import Visuals — Sankey Chart
Image by Author

Sankey Chart

To create Sankey Chart, please follow the below steps.

  1. Select Sankey Chart visual from the visualization pane.
  2. Make the graph canvas area a little bit bigger based on your choice.
  3. Add Genre in Source, Lead Studio in Destination, and Profitability in Weight. I didn’t add any field in the Source labels as it is not giving any value to the chart. You can check to add any measure column and observe the effects.
Sankey Chart — Power BI — Visualization
Image by Author

4. You can do some formatting for this visual.

5. Make the chart Title to right align and increase the text size to 25.

6. For Data labels, put some dark color if it is not selected, increase text size like 13 or 14. You can enable the Force Display option. If it is on, then all values will be displayed.

7. If we enable the Data Link option, the values will be displayed like below. But I feel, it is not looking good. You can play with this option.

Image by Author

8. If you want, you can try out other formatting options based on your requirement. I have done the basic formatting.

Findings from this Analysis

This Sankey chart helps to understand the following things

  1. The Profitability relation between Genre and Lead Studio.
  2. The cyclic ribbon size is changing based on the profitability value
Image by Author
Image by Author

Possible Visuals from this data

For Sankey Chart, it will be better to keep it on one page. Otherwise, the data will not be in a readable format.

You can create some more reports based on this data set. For example,

  1. Top 10 Films based on Audience Score % with Rotten Tomatoes % (Clustered Bar Chart)
  2. Worldwide Gross by Lead Studio and Genre (Nested TreeMap)
  3. Yearly Profit Trend (Line Chart)
  4. No. of Films by Lead Studio and Genre (Stacked Column Chart)
  5. many more etc.
Image by Author
Image by author

Publish to Power BI Service

All reports are ready. After saving the file, you can publish this page to Power BI Service or you can very well display this page on the Power BI desktop only.

Sankey Chart Power BI Custom Visuals
Image by Author


Please find the code from below GitHub link.


In this guided project we learned about the following things.

  1. Media Data Analysis
  2. How to create a Sankey Chart in Power BI
  3. The idea for sample possible reports with media data

If you have any questions related to this project, please feel free to post your comments.

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