Glossary for Power BI service

Is this page helpful?

The Power BI service may introduce terminology that is unfamiliar or confusing. The glossary is a great place to look up terminology, you might even want to keep it bookmarked. Another great resource for learning about the building blocks that make up Power BI service is Basic Concepts. Basic Concepts gives a high level overview of the Power BI pieces and how they're connected.

This glossary is a community effort. Don't see a word here? Please ask us to add it (you can use the documentation feedback button at the bottom of this article.


account There are different types of Power BI accounts. A Power BI Pro account is a paid monthly subscription. A Power BI Free account enables viewing of content that’s hosted on Power BI Premium capacity.

admin portal The location where Power BI admins manage users, features, and settings for Power BI in their organization. (Note: Office 365, Azure, and PowerApps use admin center.)

aggregates When the values of multiple rows are grouped together as input on criteria to form a single value of more significant meaning or measurement.

aggregation The reduction of rows in underlying data sources to fit in a model. The result is an aggregate.

alert, alerts A feature that notifies users of changes in the data based on limits they set. Alerts can be set on tiles pinned from report visuals. Users receive alerts on the service and on their mobile app.

annotate To write lines, text, or stamps on a snapshot copy of a tile, report, or visual on the Power BI mobile app for iOS and Android devices.

answer card, answer page See Cortana answer card.

app, apps

app workspace All workspaces in Power BI except for My workspace are now app workspaces. The contents can be bundled into a Power BI app. Those stored in Premium capacity can be shared with Free users. Personal workspaces (under My workspace) can be hosted in Premium capacity.

AppSource Centralized online repository where you can browse and discover dashboards, reports, datasets, and apps to download.

ArcGIS for Power BI ArcGIS is a mapping and analytics platform created by the company ESRI. The name of the visual included in the Power BI visuals library is called ArcGIS for Power BI.

assign [Power BI Premium] Verb for moving a workspace into or out of dedicated capacity. Don't use promote for moving a workspace to dedicated capacity because this has the connotation of dedicated being superior to shared capacity.


BI, business intelligence

bookmark A view of data captured in the Bookmarks pane of a report in Power BI Desktop or service. In Desktop, the bookmarks are saved in the .pbix report file for sharing on the Power BI service

breadcrumbs The navigation at the top left to quickly navigate between app workspaces.


calculation A mathematical determination of the size or number of something.

certified custom visual A Power BI custom visual that has met requirements and passed strict security testing.

classification Also called data classification. This option can be turned on by Power BI admins to raise awareness of the level of security required for a dashboard. The classification types can be customized by an organization.

connect live A method of connecting to SQL Server Analysis Services data models. Also called a live connection.


content list The content index for an app.

content pack A collection of pre-packaged datasets, reports, and dashboards. Now apps, learn about the new workspace experience.

content view

Cortana answer card The dedicated report page to include in a Power BI report to be able to create custom Cortana answers.

Cortana answer page The name for the Cortana page that's shown to the customer.

cross filter, cross highlight

custom visual Visuals that are created by the community and Microsoft. They can be downloaded from the Office store for use in Power BI reports.


dashboard A selection of visuals that communicate status and metrics. A dashboard organizes and presents data in an easy-to-understand way.

data classification See classification

data connector See connectors

data model, Excel Data Model

dataset vs data source A dataset is a collection of data used to create visualizations and reports.

dedicated capacity [Power BI Premium] Data models running on dedicated hardware in Microsoft cloud data centers to help ensure consistent performance at scale. BI solutions are delivered to the entire organization regardless of Power BI license.

Desktop First instance: Power BI Desktop Subsequent mentions: Desktop

diamond Power BI Premium. The shape of the icon that signifies a workspace is a Premium capacity workspace.

drill up, drill down, drillthrough


Editing View The mode in which report designers can explore, design, build, and share a report.

ellipsis ...

embed code A common standard across the internet. In Power BI, the customer can generate an embed code and copy it to place content such as a report visual on a website or blog.

Embedded See Power BI Embedded.

embedding In the Power BI developer offering, the process of integrating analytics into apps using the Power BI REST APIs and the Power BI SDK.

environment [Power BI Desktop, Power BI Mobile, etc.] Use Power BI environment. For multi-tenant customers, use this term to refer to choosing the tenant to connect to. It's okay to use Power BI environment (tenant) in documentation where it may help business analysts who are familiar with the term tenant to know it's the same thing.


favorite, unfavorite Verb meaning to add to the Favorites list for quick access to frequently visited dashboards and reports in Power BI. When you no longer want them as a favorite, you unfavorite them.



focus mode [Power BI service]

Free account See account in this term collection

full screen, full-screen mode [Power BI service]


gateways or on-premises data gateways A bridge to underlying data sources. It provides quick and secure data transfer between the Power BI service and on-premises data sources that support refresh. Usually managed by IT.


high-density visuals Visuals with more data points than Power BI can render. Power BI samples the data to show the shape and outliers.

Home The default landing age for Power BI service users. Doesn't modify anything. Can be called Power BI Home or simply Home.


insights The automatic data analysis performed by running our insights machine-learning algorithms.



KPIs Key performance indicators. A type of visual.


left navigation (left nav) The controls along the left edge of Power BI service.

First instance: left navigation Subsequent mentions or tight spaces: left nav

list page or content list One of the section pages for the elements in the left navigation. For example, Favorites, Recents, My workspace, etc.


Mobile app Apps that allow you to run Power BI on iOS, Android, and Windows devices.

modeling [Power BI Desktop] Getting the data you've connected to ready for use in Power BI. This includes creating relationships between tables in multiple data sources, creating measures, and assigning metrics.

My workspace The workspace for each Power BI customer to create content. If they want to bundle anything created here into an app, and they have designer permissions, they upload it to the appropriate app workspace or create a new one.


native Included with the product. For example, Power BI comes with a set of native visualization types. But you can also import other types, such as custom visuals.

navigation pane See Left navigation

notification Messages sent by and to the Power BI Notification Center.

Notification Center The location in the service where messages are delivered to users, such as notice of sunsetting certain features.


OneDrive for Business vs OneDrive OneDrive is a personal account and OneDrive for Business is for work accounts.

On-premises data gateway


PaaS PaaS stands for platform as a service. For example, Power BI Embedded.

page Reports have one or more pages. Each tab along the bottom of the report canvas represents a page.

pbiviz The file extension for a Power BI custom visual.

pbix The file extension for a Power BI Desktop file.

permissions What a user can and can't do in Power BI is based on permissions. As a consumer you won't have the same permissions as a designer, administrator, or developer.

phone report The name for a Power BI report that's been formatted for viewing on the phone.

phone view The user interface in the Power BI service for laying out a phone report.

pin, unpin The action of placing a visual, usually from a report, onto a dashboard.

Power BI, Power BI service, Power BI Desktop, Power BI mobile, Some of the Power BI offerings. Power BI is the general term. It is often used in place of a full product name, such as Power BI service and Power BI mobile, after the first mention of the full product name.

Power BI Desktop Also referred to as Desktop. The free Windows application of Power BI you can install on your local computer that lets you connect to, transform, and visualize your data. Used by report designers and admins. For more information, see What is Power BI.

Power BI Embedded A product used by developers to embed Power BI dashboards and reports into their own apps, sites, and tools.

Power BI Premium An add-on to the Power BI Pro license that enables organizations to predictably scale BI solutions through the purchasing of dedicated hardware.

Power BI Pro license A monthly user license that provides the ability to build dashboards, collaborate on shared data, keep data up-to date automatically, audit and govern how data is accessed and used, and the ability to package content to distribute (Power BI apps).

Power BI Report Server A new branded offering of SSRS launching with Power BI Premium to allow organizations to build distributed, hybrid BI systems (a mix of cloud and on-premises deployments). Embedded provides a localized way to store and manage Power BI reports.

Power BI service An online SaaS (Software as a service) service. For more information, see What is Power BI.

Power BI service connector This connector enables Power BI Desktop users to connect to datasets in Power BI service from Desktop. They can create a model once and reuse it in many reports and dashboards.

Premium workspace A workspace running in dedicated capacity, signified to customers by a diamond icon.


Q&A The ability to type natural language questions about a dataset and get responses in the form of visualizations. Appears in the Power BI service and Desktop.

Q&A virtual analyst
[Power BI Mobile] For iOS, the conversational UI for Q&A.

QR codes [Power BI Mobile] A matrix barcode that can be generated for dashboards or tiles in the Power BI service to identify products. QR codes can be scanned with a QR code reader, or with the Power BI Mobile app on iOS or Android, to link directly to the dashboard or tile.

query string parameter
Add to a URL to pre-filter the results seen in a Power BI report. In the broadest sense, a query string recovers information from a database.

Quick Insights

quick measures


R, Microsoft R

Reading View Read-only view for reports (as opposed to Editing View).

real-time streaming The ability to stream data and update dashboards in real time from sources such as sensors, social media, usage metrics, and anything else from which time-sensitive data can be collected or transmitted.

Recent The container in the left nav that holds all the individual artifacts that were accessed last.

related content Shows the individual pieces of content that contribute to the current content. For example, for a dashboard, you can see the reports and datasets providing the data and visualizations on the dashboard.

relative links Links from dashboard tiles to other dashboards and reports that have been shared directly or distributed through a Power BI app. This enables richer dashboards that support drillthrough.

A multi-perspective view into a single dataset, with visualizations that represent different findings and insights from that dataset. Can have a single visualization or many, a single page or many pages.

report editor

report measures Also called custom calculations. Excel calls these calculated fields. See also measures.
report server An instance of a report server.

responsive visuals Visuals that change dynamically to display the maximum amount of data and insights, no matter the screen size.



screenshot Simple screenshots of a report can be emailed using the send a screenshot feature.

service See Power BI service

Settings The location for Power BI users to manage their own general settings, such as whether to preview new features, set the default language, close their account, etc. Also, users manage individual settings for content assets, alerts, and subscriptions. Represented by a cog icon.

share, sharing In Power BI, sharing typically means directly sharing an individual artifact (a dashboard or report) with one or more people by using their email address. Requires a Power BI Pro license for sender and recipient. On mobile devices, share can refer to native OS share functionality, such as "annotate and share."

Shared with me The container in the left nav that holds all the individual artifacts that were directly shared by another Power BI user.


SQL Server Analysis Services (SSAS)

SQL Server Reporting Services (SSRS)

streaming data See real-time streaming.

subscriptions, Subscribe
You can subscribe to report pages, apps, and dashboards and receive emails containing a snapshot. Requires a Power BI Pro license.

summarization [Power BI Desktop] The operation being applied to the values in one column.


Power BI dashboards contain report tiles.



value, values Numerical data to be visualized.

visual, visualization A chart. Some visuals are: bar chart, treemap, doughnut chart, map.

Visualizations pane Name for the visualization templates that ship in the shared report canvas for Power BI Desktop and the Power BI service. Contains small templates, also called icons, for each native visualization type.


workbook An Excel workbook to be used as a data source. Workbooks can contain a data model with one or more tables of data loaded into it by using linked tables, Power Query, or Power Pivot.

workspace Containers for dashboards, reports, and datasets in Power BI. See app workspace in this term collection.


The axis along the bottom, the horizontal axis.


y-axis The axis along the side, the vertical axis.


Next steps

Basic concepts for Power BI service consumer