Are you tired of struggling to share your Power BI reports with the right people? Look no further! In this article, we’re gonna show you 7 different ways to share your Power BI reports like a pro.
I’ll take you through the traditional sharing methods like sharing via a power bi app or direct sharing, as well as some lesser-known methods like using teams or embedding reports.
You will find the pros and cons and some recommendations on which ones to use. So, let’s get started and learn how to share your reports like a boss!
Table of contents
One way to share your reports in Power BI is by sharing the PBIX file. You create pbix files when saving a report/dataset from Power BI Desktop. Anyone that has a copy of the pbix file can open it and consume the report.
- does not require licenses
- the receiver does not need access to a workspace or app
- available offline without internet
- stale copy – you can come back to the current situation
- does not refresh automatically
- does not enforce row-level security
- impossible to keep track of who has access to the report
- sharing happens manually
As you can imagine, this is a very manual method without any security or control whatsoever. Developers should keep track of their files and versions.
Yet as distribution method for sharing I do not recommend this method.
Another method to share reports is direct sharing. After uploading a report, these show up in the power bi service in your selected workspace. You can share these reports in the Power BI service directly with people (or security groups).
The easiest way to do this is by opening a report (through a workspace). In the report view you can then click Share in the taskbar in the top.
- receiver does not need access to workspace or app.
- easy to discriminate who can see what content on report level
- You can configure who can reshare reports, build reports on the underlying dataset
- Works with reports from My Workspace
- difficult to keep track of who has access to the report
- difficult to apply access in bulk. Configured report by report.
Direct sharing can be a very convenient way to quickly show someone a report, even when this report resides in My Workspace. However, it’s an intensive activity to keep track of which users/security groups have access to which report.
And this sharing method allows the sharer to configure whether the consumer can reshare or build reports based on the dataset. That’s a lot of responsibility. Use this method sparingly for only specific cases.
You can also share reports through workspaces. Any user (or security group) with access to a workspace can see all its contents. Any future additions are available in the workspace.
To make sure users have access to a workspace you can navigate to the workspace, then click on Access, add the user’s email and assign the user a role.
- user is able to access any future content in the workspace
- central place to see multiple reports.
- wrong updates to a report only flow to an app after updating the app
- user gets full access to all items in the workspace. Depending on their given role, they can create, delete, add or share items, publish content to an app etc.
After direct sharing a report, the user can find the report under Browse -> Shared with Me. Alternatively you can also share the generated link to the report, but the user will then have to save the link.
Those who need to maintain reports, update them or keep track of what’s going on in a workspace, those users really benefit from access to an entire workspace. This is not a place for the general report consumer. Even if he/she has a viewer role.
Power BI App
You can give a user access to a Power BI App. Users get a read only experience to all items from the workspace that are included in the app. With the new app experience you can even define multiple audiences within the same Power BI App.
To create an app you should first create a workspace. After publishing content to this workspace you can select Create App from within the workspace. After configuring this app, authorized users can open the app by going to the Apps section in the Power BI service.
- you can share bundled content, with custom navigation, links and even videos.
- Apps contain cached version of reports. Changes in reports only show after update.
- Supports deployment pipelines
- You can configure which audience has access to which reports
- Even though you can give each audience access to different reports in an app, you can only have a single app per workspace
I recommend this method when you want to share reports with your audience. It’s convenient, secure and makes sure any future content is available through the same link.
Other Sharing Methods
Besides the traditional sharing methods you can find other methods to share reports. I will cover some here.
Tab in Teams
A convenient way to access a report is through a teams chat or channel. You can easily embed a Power BI report within a teams chat/channel. To do that you
- navigate to a chat / channel
- click on the + icon on the top right. The Add a Tab pop-up appears
- Select Power BI
- Select your desired report and click Save
After saving your report a new tab appears in the channel/chat. To access the report you can now simply click on the tab.
The same access rules apply as to any other Power BI report. The user needs to have a Power BI license and the tab respects any Row Level Security available.
Users can view any Power BI report in the Power BI mobile app. Simply download the app for Android/iOs, log in, and you are good to go. The default looks of the reports will resemble the ones from the desktop version. The reports can in that state be hard to read and interact with.
To fix this, developers can create separate views that are optimized for mobile consumption. To configure this a developer can:
- open the desired report Power BI Desktop
- navigate to the View tab in the ribbon
- Select Mobile Layout.
From here the user can create a specific canvas, reorder the visualizations
You can integrate your report with different locations. The following options work with any Power BI licensing (except free).
Embed to SharePoint Online allows you to place a report on a SharePoint page. Any user that arrives at that page will get a warm welcome from your report.
If you don’t have any sensitive data, you can also embed or publish your report to the web. Power BI then generates a public URL you can use to embed your report to a blog, a public page or any other tool that supports embedding.
Lastly there’s also the option to embed a report to a secure portal or website. You can use this option to embed reports on internal web portals like Sharepoint 2019.
You can configure all three of these by opening a report, select File, then Embed Report and select your desired option.
As you have seen there are different methods to share reports in Power BI. After you have published your reports to the Power BI Service, you will find yourself with different options to serve the reports.
From a Mobile App, to the browser, SharePoint pages and even Teams is an option. The possibilities are becoming more numerous every day.
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