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How to Publish Power BI Reports: A Step-by-Step Process

How to Publish Power BI Reports: A Step-by-Step Process


Power BI is an incredibly effective business intelligence tool that bridges the gap between data and decision-making. One of its key features, however, is the ability to work in real time. To do this, you must first learn how to publish Power BI reports and dashboards with your teams - and potentially the public.

Publishing reports will open the door to real-time collaborations where data analysis, insight sharing, and idea generation become very effective. In this step-by-step guide, we’ll look at how to make a Power BI report public for your team members and how to make the most of the powerful Microsoft software.

How to Publish Power BI Reports

Before learning how to publish Power BI reports, it should be noted that changes made to the published report won’t be reflected in the original Power BI Desktop file. So, you can use this process to share a Power BI report with other users without any risk of losing the original data and visualizations.

Publishing Power BI reports is relatively easy, although you will naturally need to be online at the time of doing this or completing subsequent real-time collaborative work. Once you are, learning how to publish a report in Power BI is quite easy and can be completed through the following steps;

  • Open Microsoft Power BI and sign in to your account,
  • From the ‘Home’ ribbon near the top of your screen, click ‘Publish’. Alternatively, you can navigate to ‘File’, ‘Publish’, ‘Publish to Power BI’.
  • Select a destination from the list of destinations shown in the pop-up wizard. You can either scroll through the list or use the ‘Search’ box to type the destination.
  • Once the right destination is highlighted, click ‘Select’ at the bottom right of the pop-up wizard.

Following this, the Power BI report will be published to your Power BI site. This will only take a few seconds. Once completed, the pop-up wizard will confirm this and provide an html link that can take you to the published report. This will be presented as “[name of report].pbix.

This link can then be sent to other team members. However, you should not panic if you do not make note of the address as you can find this from inside your Power BI report at any time by clicking the ‘Share’ button. This will subsequently give you the sharing link and provide the option to share it directly with colleagues via Outlook, PowerPoint, or Teams.

Publishing Power BI Dashboards

While a Power BI report is a comprehensive dataset view that delivers detailed analysis and meaningful insights, Power BI dashboards are offer a one-page summary that is focused heavily on visual representation. So, while the two terms are often interchanged by users, they are different items that have contrasting functions.

Like reports, dashboards can be shared. As such, knowing how to publish a dashboard in Power BI opens the door to new capabilities, not least in facilitating quick data-driven decisions.

The process of publishing Power BI dashboards is relatively simple too. Firstly, you will need to create the dashboard by completing these steps;

  • Sign in to your Power BI account and find the right Power BI report,
  • Click ‘Project-Analysis’ under the ‘Reports’ tab,
  • Click the chart near the top left and then click the ‘Pin’ icon,
  • Enter the name for this dashboard in the ‘New Dashboard’ text box and click ‘Pin’,
  • Pin each additional chart but click ‘Existing Dashboard’ before hitting ‘Pin’.

The complete dashboard should now show under the ‘Dashboards’ section of ‘My Workspace’. A dashboard can be published through the same method as the report, creating a shareable link for colleagues to access the dashboard.

Alternatively, you could share a Content Pack. This includes the dashboard, report, and dataset. From the Power BI workspace, click the ‘Settings’ icon (depicted as a gear) and click ‘Create Content Pack’. The pop-up box will allow you to decide whether to send the content to ‘Specific Groups’ or ‘My Entire Organization’.

When scrolling down, you will also notice that the ‘Select Items To Publish’ area allows you to individually select which dashboards, reports, and datasets should be included. This provides the most convenient way to publish a dashboard internally with as much or as little additional data as required.

If you ever need to edit the Content Pack, such as adding new items, you can do this by clicking the ‘Settings’ icon and clicking ‘View Content Pack’ instead of ‘Create Content Pack’. Any changes will be made almost instantaneously.

Publishing Power BI to the Web

When publishing Power BI reports for collaborative work, you will be online. However, you can also use a powerful publish to web feature that lets you embed interactive content (such as data visuals) to websites, blog posts, social media, and emails. It is a feature that’s available on all editable reports from My Workspace.

Publishing publicly to the web is different from publishing Power BI Reports using the above methods because the content is designed to be accessed by external audiences rather than exclusive to internal connections. When looking at how to publish Power BI reports to web, then, it’s good to know that viewers do not have to be signed up to the software to view the reports.

While you are essentially creating a connection between your Power BI report (or at least specific visuals) and the target website/online platform, the process is still very simple;

  • Open the Power BI report that has the visuals and sign in to your account.
  • Navigate to ‘File’, ‘Embed Report’, ‘Publish To Web (Public)’.
  • Read the pop-up wizard and click ‘Create Embed Code’.
  • Review the warning info and click ‘Publish’.
  • On the next pop-up wizard, use the ‘Size’ and ‘Default Page’ drop-down menus.

This pop-up window also provides the email link to your published Power BI report as well as the HTML embed code that can be added to your website or target channel. Either of these can be copied with a single click before being pasted in the appropriate location.

Knowing how to publish a Power BI report to web will allow you to provide readers, customers, and relevant parties access to responsive visualized data that automatically updates when you change the data within the Microsoft software.

Before you can get started, though, a Microsoft Power BI license to publish to web from My Workspace will be required. When looking to publish Power BI reports to web from workspaces, you’ll need a Microsoft Power BI Pro or Premium Per User license instead.

Accessing Published Power BI Reports

Microsoft Power BI isn’t only designed to help you share reports and visual data with colleagues. It also allows them to share their reports with you. So, as well as knowing how to publish the dashboard to the private site in Power BI, you must learn how to access Power BI reports that others have published for your benefit.

Firstly, the person who created the report needs to know where to publish Power BI reports and consider how that affects you. If the content is published to a website or social media through the ‘publish to web’ process, you can access it in the same way that any other user would - by visiting the web page where it has been published.

For private published Power BI reports that are designed for internal communications, you can access the data via an email link sent by the creator or directly from inside your Power BI account. Once signed into your account, you can access published reports that have been shared with you via the following steps;

  • Navigate to ‘Browse’ from the left sidebar,
  • Click ‘Shared With Me’,
  • Find the right report (the word report will appear to the right of each available one),
  • Select the appropriate report page from the ‘Pages’ tab on the left sidebar.

Once you have opened the right page, you can then use the various filters from the ‘Filters’ tab on the right sidebar to see the data you need. When you hover over the visual, you’ll be able to view any permissible actions by clicking the ‘Filters And Slicers’ icon (upside down pyramid).

The ‘View’ icon will allow you to see the content as ‘Full Screen’, ‘Fit To Page’, ‘Fit To Width’, or ‘Actual Size’ solutions.

Deploying Power BI Reports

Asking “Where does Power BI publish to?” is one of the most important parts of the entire process. While the software will guide you through the procedure and notify you about significant issues at each stage, you must pay close attention.

The deployment of Power BI reports and visual data will affect;

  • Who can access the charts or data visualizations you’ve shared,
  • How it will be shared with colleagues and relevant users,
  • Where Microsoft Power BI users will find the shared reports and dashboards,
  • How collaborations and edits can be made to the shared work.

Generally speaking, you will only publish to web when you are happy for information to be seen by anyone. For example, you may want to show the demographic results of your market research.

However, when reports include sensitive information (such as personal information from a survey responder), you must only publish to private channels that are only accessible by authorized members of your team. Reports relating to the company’s financial performance are another scenario where deploying reports via the private site in Power BI is the only choice.

When you take the internal route, though, you must also check that recipients know how to view published reports in Power BI. Power BI Pro users can also deploy to an app workspace content and assign four types of roles (Viewer, Contributor, Member, and Admin) to relevant parties.

It should also be noted that data from other BI platforms can be deployed to Power BI. Deployment can be completed to a test environment or production environment.

Power BI Publish to Web Feature

The Microsoft Power BI publish to web feature is a particularly popular solution for content creators or businesses that wish to create engaging content or share data in a visual manner that audiences will understand with ease.

As such, a growing percentage of the five million plus Power BI subscribers now use this feature. However, it should be noted that it isn’t available for reports that colleagues have shared with you or any reports that have row-level security in place.

One of the great features of the publish to web tool is that you can also quickly edit, update, refresh, or stop sharing any previously published visuals with real-time results. From a visual perspective, you should pay attention to the following line:

<iframe width=”number” height =”number” src= “https…

The iframe relates to the size of the embedded content as shown on a target website. If it currently leaves you with grey backgrounds, you can increase the size manually. When you do, be sure to increase the height and width according to your ratio (4:3 or 16:9).

Meanwhile, if you need to manage your embed codes, you can do this from inside the workspace. To do this, simply;

  • Click the ‘Settings’ icon at the top menu,
  • Scroll down and click ‘Manage Embed Codes’,
  • Click on the “...” next to the appropriate embed.
  • Choose ‘Get Code’.

Depending on the credentials you have been afforded by your employer, it may be necessary to request permission from the administrator. The pop-up wizard will inform you of this after clicking ‘Publish To Web (Public)’ as mentioned above.


Publishing Power BI to Office 365

Power BI’s capabilities of turning complex data into visualizations that guide key business decisions can make it a valuable tool for Office 365. It is user-friendly, provides actionable insights, and works with a varied range of data sources including Excel spreadsheets. Many colleagues will prefer accessing the visual data through the software packages that they know and are comfortable with.

To access Power BI in Office 365, users must have a valid license to use the service. Assuming you do, you’ll need to log into your account and open the ‘App Launcher’ from the top of the screen. The ‘Power BI’ icon should be then clicked to launch the Power BI dashboard. From here you can see the reports that have been shared with you or analyze the data insights accordingly.

When wanting to embed and publish Power BI reports to Office 365, you can achieve this by sharing the content via Office 365 SharePoint online. To do this, you should follow these steps;

  • Open the Office 365 portal and log into your Power BI account,
  • Navigate to ‘My Workspace’ and find the report you want to share,
  • Click the ‘File’ menu and click ‘Embed In SharePoint Online’,
  • Copy the link shown in the pop-up wizard,
  • On Office 365 SharePoint Online, create a new modern page,
  • Click the ‘+’ sign at the bottom, followed by the Power BI icon,
  • Click the ‘Add Report’ button and paste the link you copied,
  • Confirm publishing the page.

The Power BI report will now be live on the Office 365 SharePoint portal with your team, who can access as explained above through their App Launcher. Better still, all of the sophisticated capabilities of Power BI will be incorporated into the Office 365-based interactions.

How to Publish Data from Power BI  

As well as sending the reports and dashboards, you may wish to learn how to publish data from Power BI. Datasets are sources that are ready for visualization and may be produced by connecting to a data source from another BI platform, uploaded from a Power BI Desktop file, or uploaded from Excel and other integrated software.

Either way, team members may find that data analysis is easier when they have the raw data or may be tasked with creating the reports and dashboards themselves. Once you have the datasets ready (through any of the methods), the process of publishing them is the same as creating a content pack for dashboards. However, you must ensure that the right datasets are selected from the tab.

Data from Power BI can also be published and shared via;

  • Embedding to third-party applications,
  • Exporting to PowerPoint,
  • Exporting to Excel or CSV formats,
  • Printing data or dashboards out on paper,
  • Embedding to Microsoft Teams.

It is also possible to publish data from Power BI to web, although visualizations are the better choice in most scenarios. When sharing datasets internally, people that access it may be met with a ‘read-only mode’ message. This prevents the dataset from being tampered with - accidentally or not. Meanwhile, row-level security (RLS) can be used to restrict which users can access each part of the data.

The owner also has the ability to either enable or disable the use of datasets across multiple workspaces. This is found under the ‘Tenant Settings’ section of the ‘Admin Portal’ within the workspace which includes the data, reports, and dashboard.

Through the sharing of datasets and visualized data, teams will be positioned to make quick decisions and share the necessary info or charts to the public.

Distributing Power BI Reports to Licensed and Non-Licensed Consumers

While Power BI is designed for reports to be consumed directly by licensed users, it is possible to mass distribute reports without requiring report consumers to log into Power BI or any of the other platforms mentioned above.  You can do this by scheduling the automated generation and distribution of your reports.


PBRS (Power BI Reports Scheduler) is a tool that allows you to automate the delivery of Power BI reports to various destinations, such as email, SharePoint, OneDrive, Dropbox, FTP, Google Drive, etc. You can schedule the reports to run at specific times or based on certain triggers, and customize the output format and delivery options. By using PBRS, you can share and distribute your Power BI reports with your colleagues, clients, or stakeholders in a timely and convenient way.

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