Power BI reports can be easily embedded into a SharePoint site to enable data visualizations across teams and to consolidate important links and pages of information with Power BI reports or dashboards that visualize data. By embedding Power BI in a SharePoint site you can provide access to a wider user group while still maintaining control of viewership of the data.
We’ll explain how to use SharePoint to present Power BI reports, some quick tips on how to edit SharePoint sites in general, and some alternative methods for sharing Power BI reports with a wider audience without having to open it up to an entire SharePoint audience that are worth being aware of.
Let’s jump in!
Table of Contents
How Power BI Works with SharePoint
There are two primary ways of working with Power BI and SharePoint. The first is using SharePoint as a DataSource for Power BI reports with either a saved Excel file or connecting Power BI to a SharePoint list. The second way is embedding a Power BI Report to provide quick access to data along with other SharePoint content.
We’ll focus on embedding Power BI reports and dashboards into SharePoint sites, but it’s important to know that the two platforms work fairly well together. By hosting documents in SharePoint, you avoid the need to establish a Power BI gateway to connect to files that may be saved on a local network drive.
Presenting a Power BI Report on a SharePoint Site
Presenting a Power BI report on a SharePoint site involves sharing the report with your SharePoint audience. To do this, publish your Power BI report to the Power BI service, then use the “Share” option to get a link to the Report and add it as a SharePoint Web Part.
The first step of this process is publishing a report from Power BI Desktop to the Power BI Service at PowerBI.com. Because SharePoint is cloud hosted, the Power BI report also has to be cloud hosted for SharePoint to access the file. There are many benefits of publishing it such as setting up automated refreshes.
Without publishing it to PowerBI.com the best you can do is add the .pbix file as a link to download, but all users would have to have the Power BI desktop app installed to open it and manually refresh it which isn’t ideal.f
Embedding Power BI Reports in SharePoint
Embedding Power BI reports in SharePoint is done by using the Power BI Web Part in SharePoint Online. To embed a report, add the Power BI web part to your SharePoint page, then link it to your Power BI report. This creates an interactive report within SharePoint that users can interact with.
Here’s how in more detail.
Step 1.) Get a Power BI Report Link
To embed a Power BI report in SharePoint, you first need to obtain the report link from Power BI. Navigate to your report within the Power BI service, click on File, Embed Report, SharePoint Online. This will generate a special link that you can use to embed the report directly into SharePoint Online.
Copy the link that appears in the Embed link for SharePoint dialog box. We’ll use this in a later step.
Step 2.) Edit a SharePoint Site
Editing a SharePoint site to include Power BI reports involves accessing the site’s edit mode. If you don’t have access, contact your SharePoint Admin. From the site you want to modify, click the “Edit” button in the top right corner.
This launches the SharePoint edit mod which lets you add, delete, and modify page elements.
Step 3.) Create a New SharePoint Section
Creating a new section in SharePoint is done by selecting the + icon to add a new section to your page. SharePoint works on a hierarchy level. SharePoint Pages, Sections, and Web Parts follow a hierarchical structure that organizes content within a SharePoint site.
- SharePoint Pages serve as individual screens or documents within a SharePoint site Think of pages as the canvas on which you build your content layout.
- Sections are subdivisions within a SharePoint Page. They organize the page into distinct areas, allowing for different types of content to be grouped together. Sections help in structuring the page by dividing it into columns and rows where content can be placed.
- Web Parts are the building blocks placed within Sections. They are individual components, like Power BI visuals that display content, such as text, images, links, lists, or custom applications.
After the section is added, we need to bring in the Web Part.
Step 4.) Add the Power BI Web Part
To add the Power BI web part to your SharePoint section, select the + icon within the section where you want to embed the report. Search for and select the Power BI web part from the list of available web parts. This allows you to specify the location on the SharePoint page where the Power BI report will be displayed.
Sections are added with the green + button on the left. Once a section is added, mouse over the section and there is another + sign at the top middle of the section to add a web part.
If you don’t immediately see the Power BI Web Part, you can either scroll to the bottom of the list, or search for it in the Web Part dialog box.
Step 5.) Add the Link to SharePoint
After adding the Power BI web part, you will need to add the link to your Power BI report in the web part settings. Press “Add Report” then paste the report link you obtained earlier into the report link field on the right panel. This links the Power BI report to the SharePoint page, making the report visible and interactive for SharePoint users.
This step completes the embedding process. If it doesn’t appear immediately, give it a few seconds to let SharePoint sync with the Power BI Dashboard.
Once SharePoint loads the Power BI report, there are a few additional options you can adjust, such as which report page you want to display, whether or not you want the navigation panel available, the ability to show or hide the filter pane or action bar etc.
Step 6.) Publish the SharePoint Changes
After making your desired changes, press the “Republish” button at the top of the SharePoint site to save changes and make the new Power BI Web Part available for others to see.
By Embedding Power BI into SharePoint you can quickly share insights in the same place that teams and co-workers go to find other sources of content.
Embedding Power BI Reports in Websites Other Than SharePoint
Power BI reports can also be embedded in websites other than SharePoint using the Power BI Embedded service. which is a separate SKU from regular Power BI. This service allows developers to integrate Power BI reports into custom applications and websites, extending the reach of Power BI analytics beyond the Microsoft ecosystem.
Power BI Embedded is purchased separately from a normal organization’s instance of Power BI and is typically purchased based on the amount of compute power needed to host the report.
You can learn more about Power BI Embedded from the following Guy in a Cube video, which is a little bit older at this point in time but gives an overview of the product.
As always, we recommend looking up the current pricing from Microsoft as it changes frequently.
Generating Reports Directly in SharePoint
At this time there are no methods for generating reports directly inside of SharePoint. Microsoft’s solution is to create a report or dashboard using Power BI and embedding the Power BI report in a SharePoint page using the Power BI SharePoint Web Part.
While this method isn’t as direct as building a report directly in SharePoint it’s a fairly mature integration and works pretty seamlessly. Power BI also gives you many advanced features and functions that businesses users will find useful.
Sharing Power BI Reports as Apps
If you don’t want to give people full access to a report using a SharePoint site but want to give users something more robust that access to a Power BI Workspace there are Power BI Apps which are good in-between solution. They give developers a way to combine reports from a workspace and present them based on audiences, or groups of users that only have access to specific pages. Apps can also be pushed out to users and don’t require report viewers to access a workspace.
To learn more about Power BI Apps, check out our explanation of what Power BI Apps are compared to Reports and Dashboards and how to Create and Edit Power BI Apps.
Microsoft has made a lot of progress recently in making it easy for business users to share content across the many different Microsoft Services that are available. SharePoint and Power BI work almost seamlessly together at this point and will likely only continue to expand on their integration.
To embed a Power BI Report into a SharePoint site, you have to get the Share to SharePoint from a published Power BI Report, then go to the SharePoint page you want to embed the report on and either add a Web Part directly into an already existing section or add a new section, and then add the Power BI Web Part. A panel appears on the right side that accepts the copied link and gives some additional options on how to present the report.