Building Power BI Reports to Display Dynamics 365 Business Central Data

You can make your Dynamics 365 Business Central data available as a data source in Power BI Desktop and build powerful reports of the state of your business.

This article describes how to get started using Power BI Desktop to create reports that display Dynamics 365 Business Central data. After you create reports, you can publish them to your Power BI service, or share them with all users in your organization. Once these reports are in the Power BI service, users that are set up for it, can then view the reports in Dynamics 365 Business Central.

Get ready

  • Sign up for the Power BI service.

    If you haven't already signed up, go to https://powerbi.microsoft.com. When you sign up, use your work email address and password.

  • Download Power BI Desktop.

    Power BI Desktop is a free application you install on your local computer. For more information, see Quickstart: Connect to data in Power BI Desktop.

  • Make sure the data you want in the report is available as an API page or published as a web service.

    For more information, see Expose data through API pages or OData web services.

  • For Business Central on-premises, get the following information:

    • The OData URL for Business Central.

      Typically, this URL has the format http[s]://[computer]:[port]/[serverinstance]/ODataV4, for example, https://localhost:7048/BC160/ODataV4. If you have a multi-tenant deployment, include the tenant in the URL, for example, https://localhost:7048/BC160/ODataV4?tenant=tenant1.

    • A user name and web service access key of a Business Central account.

      To get data from Business Central, Power BI uses basic authentication. So, you'll need a user name and web service access key to connect. The account might be your own user account, or your organization may have specific account for this purpose.

  • Download the Business Central report theme (optional).

    For more information, see Using the Business Central report theme in this article.

Add Business Central as a data source in Power BI Desktop

The first task in creating reports is to add Business Central as a data source in Power BI Desktop. Once connected, you can start to build the report.

  1. Start Power BI Desktop.

  2. Select Get Data.

    If you don't see Get Data, select the File menu, then Get Data.

  3. On the Get Data page, select Online Services.

  4. In the Online Services pane, do one of the following steps:

    • To connect to Business Central online, select Dynamics 365 Business Central, then Connect.
    • To connect to Business Central on-premises, select Dynamics 365 Business Central (on-premises), then Connect.
  5. Sign-in to Business Central (one-time only).

    If you haven't signed in to Business Central from Power BI desktop before, you're prompted to sign in.

    • For Business Central online, select Sign in, and then choose the relevant account. Use the same account that you use to sign into Business Central. When done, select Connect.

    • For Business Central on-premises, first enter the OData URL for Business Central, then select OK. When prompted, enter the user name and password of the account to use for connecting to Business Central. In the Password box, enter the web service access key. When done, select Connect.

    Note

    Once you have successfully connected to Business Central, you won't be prompted again to sign in. How do I change or clear the account I'm currently using to connect to Business Central from Power BI Desktop?

  6. Once connected, Power BI contacts to the Business Central service. The Navigator windows appears and displays available data sources for building reports. Select a folder to expand it and see the available data sources.

    These data sources represent all the web services and API pages that are published for Business Central. The data sources are grouped by the Business Central environments and companies. With Business Central online, Navigator has the following structure:

    Note

    The structure for Business Central on-premises is different because it doesn't support API pages.

  7. Select the data source or sources that you want to add to your data model, and then select the Load button.

  8. If later you want to add more Business Central data, you can repeat the previous steps.

Once the data is loaded, you can see it in the right navigation on the page. At this point, you've successfully connected to your Business Central data, and you can begin building your Power BI report.

Tip

For more information about using Power BI Desktop, see Get started with Power BI Desktop.

Creating accessible reports

It's important to make your reports usable for as many people as possible. Try to design reports so that they don't require any special adaption to meet specific needs of different users. Make sure the design lets users take advantage of standard assistive technologies, like screen readers. Power BI includes various accessibility features, tools, and guidelines to help you achieve this goal. For more information, Design Power BI reports for accessibility in the Power BI documentation.

Creating reports to display data associated with a list

You can create reports that display in a FactBox of a Business Central list page. The reports can contain data about the record selected in the list. Creating these reports is similar to other reports, except there are a few things you'll have to do to make sure the reports display as expected. For more information, see Creating Power BI Reports for Displaying List Data in Business Central.

Using the Business Central report theme (optional)

Before building your report, we recommend that you download and import the Business Central theme file. The theme file creates a color palette so you can build reports with the same color styling as the Business Central apps, without requiring you to define custom colors for each visual.

Note

This task is optional. You can always create your reports, and then download and apply the style template later.

Download the theme

The theme file is available as a json file on Microsoft Power BI Community Themes Gallery. To download the theme file, do the following steps:

  1. Go to Microsoft Power BI Community Themes Gallery for Microsoft Dynamics 365 Business Central.
  2. Select the download attachment Microsoft Dynamics Business Central.json.

Import the theme on a report

After you've downloaded the Business Central report theme, you can import it to your reports. To import the theme, Select the View > Themes > Browse for themes. For more information, see Power BI Desktop - Import custom report themes.

Publish reports

After you've created or modified a report, you can publish the report to your Power BI service and also share it with others in your organization. Once published, you'll see the report in Power BI. The report also becomes available for selection in Business Central.

To publish a report, select Publish on the Home tab of the ribbon or from the File menu. If you're signed into Power BI service, the report is published to this service. Otherwise, you're prompted to sign in.

Distribute or share a report

There are a couple ways to get reports to your coworkers and others:

  • Distribute reports as .pbix files.

    Reports are stored on your computer as .pbix files. You can distribute the report .pbix file to users, like any other file. Then, users can upload the file to their Power BI Service. See Upload reports from files.

    Note

    Distributing reports in this manner means that refreshing data for reports will be done individually by each user. This situation might impact Business Central performance.

  • Share report from your Power BI service

    If you have a Power BI Pro license, you can share the report to others, directly from your Power BI service. For more information, see Power BI - Share a dashboard or report.

See Also

Enabling Your Business Data for Power BI
Business Intelligence
Getting Ready for Doing Business
Importing Business Data from Other Finance Systems
Setting Up Business Central
Finance
Quickstart: Connect to data in Power BI Desktop