Publishing a report from Power BI Desktop to PowerBI.com can be achieved by pressing the publish button on Power BI Desktop Ribbon but it’s just the beginning of the process to publish and share reports. PowerBI.com has a number of different components that are important to have an understanding of, such as workspaces, sharing, and different ways to package and present reports.
We’ll explain the essential components of Power BI, including Desktop and PowerBI.com, publishing reports, managing workspaces, license requirements, and some additional information that’s good to know about such as different ways to share reports once they’ve been published to the cloud.
Let’s dive in!
Table of Contents
Power BI Desktop vs PowerBI.com
Power BI Desktop is a free application that allows users to create and design reports locally on their computer. It is ideal for data exploration and necessary for Power BI report creation. PowerBI.com is a cloud-based service that enables users to share and collaborate on reports and dashboards. It acts as a central repository where reports created in Power BI Desktop can be published and accessed by others in the organization.
Report developers use Power BI Desktop to create reports, PowerBI.com is the Microsoft service backed by the Azure cloud that allows you to make reports available to be viewed by others, schedule data refreshes, and maintain enterprise level control over who gets to see what data.
It’s worth noting that as Microsoft evolves the Power BI platform, there are an increasing number of capabilities of PowerBI.com that mitigate some of the need to use Power BI Desktop to build reports, but it’s still a work in progress.
Publishing from Power BI Desktop
To publish a Power BI report, save your work in Power BI Desktop, and click the Publish button from the Home Ribbon, and select a Workspace. When you click OK, the report will be uploaded to PowerBI.com. It can then be viewed and shared with other users.
The Publish button is on the right side of the Home Ribbon under the Share section of Power BI Desktop.
When you click it, you may be prompted to log into your Microsoft Account. Power BI needs to know which instance of PowerBI.com to sync and publish to.
Once logged in, a dialog box will appear asking you to select a Workspace to publish to. You can either publish to My Workspace, or a Workspace that’s already been created.
While publishing reports to a workspace, it’s important to note that it’s not terribly easy to move reports between workspaces once published. You basically have to copy a report to a new workspace and delete an old one, so choosing the right workspace upfront is a time saver.
Once you select a Workspace Power BI will publish from Desktop to the PowerBI.com Service.
Go to PowerBI.com login and navigate to the workspace you selected to view the published report.
When publishing to PowerBI.com there are some licensing restrictions that you should be aware of, as not all users have the capability to publish to PowerBI.com.
Power BI Publishing License Requirements
Publishing reports to PowerBI.com requires users to at least have a Power BI Pro license. Microsoft offers several licensing tiers, with Pro being the lowest paid tier. This license allows for the distribution of reports and dashboards to other users within the organization.
People consuming the reports also need a Power BI Pro license, unless your organization pays for Power BI Premium capacity where you can have as many viewers as you want without licenses using a reserved compute instance.
However, even with Premium Capacity, Power BI developers need a Pro license to publish reports to the Power BI Online Service.
You can learn more about pricing and licensing from the official Microsoft website: Pricing & Product Comparison | Microsoft Power BI
Power BI Workspaces Explained
Power BI workspaces are containers for dashboards, reports, datasets, and dataflows, enabling teams to collaborate on BI projects. They help organize content and manage access permissions. There are two different types of workspace. My Workspace and Team Workspaces.
Each user has their own My Workspace that only they have access to. Additional workspaces can be created that contain reports and have users assigned to them. Think of these as areas where teams can collaborate and share among a designated group of people.
Once logged into PowerBI.com, you can view the available workspaces by clicking the Workspaces button on the left side which will expand a list of Workspaces that you have access to. It will then show you all of the contents of the workspace which includes the reports, semantic models, dashboards and other items.
The choice between My Workspace and Creating a new workspace depends on the nature of your project and collaboration needs.
Adding Users to Power BI Workspaces
To add users to a Power BI Workspace, first open a workspace in PowerBI.com then select Manage Access from the top of the workspace. A panel will appear on the right side where you can Add People. Type their name or e-mail and it will automatically be filled in for you.
Workspace admins can add members by specifying their email addresses and assigning roles, such as Admin, Member, Contributor, or Viewer, each with different levels of access and permissions. This granular control helps in managing who can view, edit, or manage the BI content, ensuring data governance and security within your organization.
Once a member is added they’ll receive an e-mail inviting them to collaborate in the workspace.
Sharing Published Power BI Reports
Another option for publishing Power BI reports to viewers is to share a report direclty with someone isntead of adding them to a workspace. To share a report, first publish it to PowerBI.com and add it to a workspace. Then navigate to the workspace and click the Share Button next to the report name.
Once you hit the share button a menu will come up giving you the ability to enter a recipients name, e-mail address or share by copying a link that provides a URL to send in an e-mail or other document.
Once again, anybody that receives a link to a Power BI report will need to have a Pro license. Microsoft allows for a 30-day trial, but viewers will eventually need to be licensed.
Shared reports allow users to interact with the data, offering a dynamic way to explore insights and make data-driven decisions.
How to View Published Power BI Reports
Viewing published Power BI reports is straightforward. Once a report is published to PowerBI.com, users with appropriate permissions can access it by logging into their Power BI account at PowerBI.com. Reports can be viewed on web browsers or with the Power BI mobile app.
Power BI Reports vs Dashboards vs Apps
Reports are detailed analyses created in Power BI Desktop and published to PowerBI.com, consisting of one or more pages of visualizations.
Dashboards are single-page, customizable canvases that display visualizations from multiple reports. Dashboards are made on PowerBI.com from previously published reports.
Apps are packages of dashboards and reports that are published by Power BI designers for end users to consume.
Each serves a different purpose in the data analysis and sharing process, catering to various user needs and scenarios.
To publish a report from Power BI Desktop to PowerBI.com open a report in Power BI Desktop, save the report, and click the publish button from the home ribbon. Then select a workspace to publish the report to, you can either publish to your own private “My Workspace” or you can create a new workspace and add different users to it. Once people are added they’ll have access to create, edit, delete or view depending on the role assigned to them.
Many of the permissions around creating and modifying workspaces are controlled at the Power BI tenant level, so if you don’t see the ability to create a new workspace you may need to contact your Power BI admin to get elevated privileges to do so or have them create one for you.
As an alternative to sharing reports through a workspace you can share them directly with users, user groups, with links or through Apps which are tied to workspaces but operate outside of them.