Paginated reports in the Power BI service

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You've learned about Power BI reports, and those are the types of report you're most likely to encounter. However, there is another type of report called a paginated report. Report designers can share paginated reports with you in a workspace in a Premium capacity, or an app from that workspace.

What is a paginated report?

These reports are called paginated because they're formatted to fit well on a printed page. One advantage is that they display all the data in a table, even if the table spans multiple pages. Paginated reports are sometimes called "pixel perfect" because report designers can control the report page layout exactly.

When report designers create a paginated report, they're really creating a report definition. It doesn't contain the data. It specifies where to get the data, which data to get, and how to display the data. When you run the report, the report processor takes the report definition, retrieves the data, and combines it with the report layout to generate the report. Sometimes, the report displays default data. Other times you need to enter parameters before the report can display any data.

Parameters for the report

And that's typically the extent of the interaction - setting the parameters. If you're a billing analyst, you may use paginated reports to create or print invoices. If you're a sales manager, you may use paginated reports to view orders by store or sales person.

This simple paginated report generates profit by year, after you select the Year parameter.

Simple one parameter report

Compared to paginated reports, Power BI reports are much more interactive. Power BI reports allow for ad hoc reporting, and support many more types of visuals, including Power BI visuals.

Identify a paginated report

In content lists and on your Home landing page, paginated reports can be identified by their icon paginated report icon. A paginated report can be shared with you directly, or as part of a Power BI app. If the report designer gave you permissions, you'll be able to re-share the paginated report and subscribe yourself and others.

report list showing different icons

Interact with a paginated report

The way you interact with a paginated report is different from other reports. You can do things like print, bookmark, export, and comment, but there is less interactivity. Often, paginated reports require input from you to populate the report canvas. Other times the report displays default data and you can enter parameters to see different data.

Paginated reports are formatted to fit well on a page and to print well. What you see in the browser is what you see when you print. Plus, if the report has a long table, the entire table prints, even if it spans multiple pages.

Paginated reports can have many pages. For example, this report has 563 pages. Each page is laid out exactly, with one page per invoice and repeating headers and footers. When you print this report, you'll get page breaks between invoices.

Page one of a paginated report for Tailspin Toys

In this sales order report, there are three parameters: Business type, Reseller, and Order number.

report with three parameters

To change the information being displayed, enter new values for the three parameters and select View report. Here, we've selected Specialty bike shop, Alpine Ski House, and order number SO46085. Selecting View report refreshes our report canvas with this new sales order.

change the parameters

The new sales order displays, using the parameters we selected.

a new sales order

Some paginated reports have many pages. Use the page controls to navigate through the report.

page controls

Export the paginated report

You have a variety of options for exporting paginated reports, including PDF, Word, XML, PowerPoint, Excel, and more. When exporting, as much of the formatting as possible is preserved. Paginated reports exported to Excel, Word, PowerPoint, MHTML, and PDF, for example, keep the "pixel perfect" formatting.

a new sales order

four different export types

Subscribe to the paginated report

When you subscribe to a paginated report, Power BI sends you an email with the report as an attachment. In setting up your subscription, you choose how often you want to receive the emails: daily, weekly, hourly, or monthly. The subscription contains an attachment of the entire report output, up to 25MB in size. Export the entire report or choose the parameters ahead of time. Choose from many different attachment types, including Excel, PDF, PowerPoint, and more.

Formats for subscribing

Considerations and troubleshooting

  • A paginated report can appear blank until you select parameters and choose View report.

  • If you don't have any paginated reports, it could be because nobody has shared this type of report with you. It could also mean that your system administrator hasn't enabled paginated reports for you.

Next steps