Power BI service features by license type

There are two kinds of Power BI per-user licenses: free and Pro. Which type of license a user needs is determined by where content is stored and how they'll interact with that content. Where content can be stored is determined by your organization's license type.

Licenses and license types

One type of license, Power BI Premium capacity-based license, allows users with a free license to act on content in workspaces that are assigned to Premium capacity. Outside of Premium capacity, a user with a free license can only use the Power BI service to connect to data and create reports and dashboards in My Workspace. They can't share content with others or publish content to other workspaces. To learn more about workspace types, see Types of workspaces. To discover more about Power BI Premium, see What is Power BI Premium?

A Power BI license with free and Pro per-user license only uses a shared and limited capacity to process content. If content is stored in that shared capacity, users who are assigned a Power BI Pro license can collaborate only with other Power BI Pro users. They can consume content shared by other users, publish content to app workspaces, share dashboards, and subscribe to dashboards and reports. When workspaces are in Premium capacity, Pro users may distribute content to users who don't have a Power BI Pro license.

When using Premium Per User licenses, content created by a Premium Per User licensed user can only be shared with other users that have a Premium license, unless that content is specifically put on a workspace hosted on a Premium capacity. The table below summarizes the basic capabilities of each license type.

License type Capabilities when workspace is in shared capacity Additional capabilities when workspace is in Premium capacity
Power BI (free) Access to content in My Workspace Consume content shared with them
Power BI Pro Publish content to other workspaces, share dashboards, subscribe to dashboards and reports, share with users who have a Pro license Distribute content to users who have free licenses

For a comparison of Power BI Pro and Power BI Premium, see the Power BI features comparison section of Power BI pricing.

To learn more about the capabilities your license provides, see Feature availability for users with free licenses and Types of licenses for Power BI consumers.

Next steps

Power BI has introduced Power BI Premium Gen2 as a preview offering, which improves the Power BI Premium experience with improvements in the following:

  • Performance
  • Per-user licensing
  • Greater scale
  • Improved metrics
  • Autoscaling
  • Reduced management overhead

For more information about Power BI Premium Gen2, see Power BI Premium Generation 2 (preview).