Publishing and sharing

Data is most powerful when shared with others - learn how to publish, export, share, and distribute your Power BI data insights.

You will learn how to...

Introduction to content packs, security, and groups

Welcome to the Publishing and Sharing section of the Guided Learning course for Power BI.

Now that you've learned how Excel and Power BI work seamlessly together, and you've learned all about the visuals you can create in reports and dashboards, you likely want to share them with your coworkers and friends. With Power BI, publishing and sharing are easy to accomplish.

This section shows you just how easy it is to bring Excel workbooks into Power BI, and demonstrates that Power BI and Excel make a great partnership.

Share and collaborate with colleagues in Power BI

Get introduced to the tools that make sharing and collaborating easier with Power BI

In this module, we cover the various ways Power BI offers for sharing and collaborating with your colleagues on your dashboards, reports, and data. For example, you can:

  • Publish your reports from Power BI Desktop to the Power BI service
  • Use Power BI mobile apps to view and interact with reports and dashboards
  • Create Content packs that package up a dashboard, report, and dataset to send to your colleagues. They can use it as a starting point and further enhance it.
  • Create Groups, which you can use as a security model to identify a subset of users who have access to dashboards, reports, and datasets you create.

Throughout much of this module we use the scenario of setting up a new finance group. We'll show how to set up the group, share dashboards, reports, and datasets into the group, and add members who'll have access to the items in the group.

Publish Power BI Desktop reports

Publishing your reports to the Power BI service is fast and easy.

Once you've completed authoring your report in Power BI Desktop, just select the Publish button on the Home tab in Power BI Desktop, and the process begins.

Your report and data, including visualizations, queries, and custom measures, are packaged together and uploaded to the Power BI service.


It's common to refer to Power BI Desktop reports as .pbix files, which is the extension they're given in Windows.

Once the upload is complete, a dialog box tells you the publishing process succeeded and a link is provided in that dialog to take you directly to your report in the Power BI service, in a web browser.

And that's it - it's easy to publish reports from Power BI Desktop to the Power BI service.

Print and export dashboards and reports

Sometimes you may want to bring a printed report or dashboard to a meeting, or so you can share it with others. With Power BI, there are a few days you can make printouts of your visuals.

In the Power BI service, select the ellipses (three dots) in the top-right side of the service, and select Print dashboard.

A Print dialog appears, where you can select the printer to which you want to send the dashboard, as well as standard print options such as portrait or landscape orientation.

Export data from a visual

You can also export the data from any visual in the Power BI service. Just select the ellipses on any visual, and then select the Export data button (the middle button). When you do so, a .CSV file is created and downloaded to your local computer, and a message appears on your browser (just like any other browser-initiated download) letting you know the download is complete.

You can also print or export directly from a report. When viewing a report in the Power BI service, select File > Print to open the print dialog.

And just like with a dashboard, you can export data from a visual within a report, too, by selecting the export button on a visual.

Manually republish and refresh your data

You can update reports and datasets that you've already published from Power BI Desktop to the Power BI service. To do so, select Publish from the Home tab in the ribbon.

When you publish a report that already exists in the Power BI service, you're prompted to confirm that you want to replace the previous dataset and reports with the edited version you just chose to update.

When you select Replace, the datasets and reports in the Power BI service are overwritten with the datasets and reports in the most recent Power BI Desktop version of the file.

And just like any other Publish event from Power BI Desktop, you see a dialog that tells you the publish event was successful, and you get a link to the report in the Power BI service.

This is a way to manually refresh your data. You can also automatically update datasets and reports; that process is covered in another learning topic.

Introducing Power BI Mobile

If you want to keep track of your data while you're on the move, you can use one of Power BI's mobile applications for iOS, Android, and Windows devices.

When using the Power BI app, first log in to your account using your Power BI service account information. On a Windows mobile device (in this case a tablet), the sign in looks like the following.

The first screen that you'll see displays all of the content to which you have access, including reports, dashboards, and groups. There are also sample dashboards you can use to get inspired, or just to see Power BI's capabilities. The app is designed to be touch-friendly: tap on a dashboard or report to view it full-screen and scroll through them using your finger.

You can open any of the dashboards by tapping on them. Within a dashboard, you can tap on a dashboard tile to focus on it in a larger view.

You can also annotate any insights that you discover by tapping the Annotate button in the top right corner. This allows you to draw on a focused tile to highlight particular areas of interest. The annotation tools are found along the bottom of the screen.

Share your annotated tile by tapping the Share link in the top right-hand corner.

Tap the Report link in the top right-hand corner to view the underlying report for a tile. This will display the exact same visualizations that you would see in a web browser or in Power BI Desktop, and also include the ability to interact with the report by tapping on bars, drilling down, or using slicers.

Create groups in Power BI

In this lesson, we start by creating a group. A group defines a set of users who have access to specific dashboards, reports, and data.

Groups in Power BI are based on groups in Office 365, so if you've been using Office 365 groups to manage your group's email, calendar, and documents, you'll see that Power BI offers the same features, and more. When you create a group in Power BI, you're actually creating an Office 365 group.

This module uses the scenario of setting up a new finance group. We'll show how to set up the group, share dashboards, reports, and datasets into the group, and add members who'll have access to the items in the group.

I start here in My Workspace. These are the dashboards, reports, and datasets that I've created or that someone shared with me.

Share and collaborate in Power BI

If I expand My Workspace, I can select Create a group.

Share and collaborate in Power BI

Here I can give it a name. We're using the scenario or a finance group, so I'll call it Finance. Power BI makes sure the name doesn't exist on the domain.

Share and collaborate in Power BI

I can set the privacy level by deciding whether anyone in my organization can see the contents of the group, or only its members.

I type email addresses, security groups, and distribution lists here. I select Add to make them members of the group, and save the group.

Share and collaborate in Power BI

On to the next lesson!

Build content packs

In this lesson, we create a content pack with existing artifacts we already have in Power BI, and then share those with colleagues.

In My Workspace I have a dashboard, the report underneath, and the dataset. I want to share them as a package with people in my organization, so they can reuse them.

Share and collaborate in Power BI

When I select the Settings icon (the gear in the top-right of the service), I can see how much storage I've used, and I can create a content pack.

Share and collaborate in Power BI

In the dialog that appears, I can choose whether to distribute it to specific people or groups, and also give it a title. It's also a good idea to provide a detailed description in the Description box, to people browsing for a content pack to know what it contains or what it provides.

Share and collaborate in Power BI

On the bottom of the dialog, I have an opportunity to upload an image for the content pack, and then the most important step: I select the dashboard I want to include in the content pack, and when I do so, Power BI automatically selects the report and dataset that are used in the dashboard. I cannot unselect the report or dataset, because the dashboard I want to include in the content pack requires them.

Share and collaborate in Power BI

I could also select other dashboards, reports, and datasets, but I won't now.

When I publish, the content pack is added to the organization's content gallery.

Share and collaborate in Power BI

On to the next lesson!

Use content packs

In previous lessons, we already created a content pack and a group. In this lesson, we're going to create an instance of the content pack for everyone in the group.

I start in My Workspace, ...

Share and collaborate in Power BI

... and switch back to the Finance group I created in the earlier lesson.

Share and collaborate in Power BI

The group doesn't have any dashboards, reports, or datasets yet. I'm going to use the content pack I created. I browse content packs from my organization rather than those from third-party services.

Share and collaborate in Power BI

I find the content pack I created a minute ago. I see why it's important to give it a good title, description, and image, so people can find it. I connect to it.

Share and collaborate in Power BI

Power BI imports the dashboards, reports, and datasets that are in the content pack.

Share and collaborate in Power BI

When I select the dataset, Power BI asks if I want to personalize the content pack.

Share and collaborate in Power BI

I'm creating a copy of the content pack that I can make changes to, and disconnecting it from the published version of the content pack. If the content pack creator makes changes to the published version, I won't automatically get those updates.

But I can edit the dashboard, the report, and even the dataset, if I want.

Share and collaborate in Power BI

So content packs are a simple way to reuse content created by other people in your organization.

On to the next lesson!

Update content packs

In this lesson, we're going to edit the original content pack we created previously, and see how that updates the other people who've connected to it.

I'm back in My Workspace, editing my original dashboard.

Share and collaborate in Power BI

Anytime I make any change to the dashboard, I get this reminder that I've changed something that I've shared with others in a content pack, and prompting me to update the shared version.

Share and collaborate in Power BI

I go back to the settings icon and select View content pack to see the content packs I've already published.

Share and collaborate in Power BI

I see the content pack I made. This little icon tells me I've changed something in the content pack, and I need to edit the content pack so others can see my changes.

Share and collaborate in Power BI

When I select Edit, I'm back at the screen where I can edit the title and description, but this time it has an Update button, so I select that.

Share and collaborate in Power BI

Power BI takes those changes and publishes the updated content pack to the content pack gallery.

Anybody who has connected to my content pack gets a message that the content pack has changed, and asks if they want to accept the changes or keep the older version.

So as the content pack owner, you can manage the versions that your colleagues are using.

Integrate OneDrive for Business with Power BI

In an earlier article we reviewed creating groups to help your organization manage and collaborate on content that's in Power BI. You can also use your Power BI / Office365 groups to collaborate and share by using OneDrive for Business.

Using OneDrive for Business as a source for your Power BI content gives you access to a number of helpful tools, such as version history. You can also share your files with an Office365 group from within OneDrive for Business to give access and allow many people to work on the same Power BI or Excel files.

To connect to a PBIX (Power BI Desktop) file on OneDrive for Business, log into the Power BI service and select Get Data. Choose Files under Import or Connect to Data, and then select OneDrive - Business. Highlight the desired file, and select Connect.

Your content appears in the left-hand side navigation bar.

Now, any changes made to the file on OneDrive for Business will be automatically reflected in the Power BI environment as well, and recorded in the version history.

Publish to web

In this lesson, we learn how to share a Power BI report on a web page, or share it through email, in just a few simple steps. This feature of Power BI is often referred to as Publish to web, and it's easy to use and to manage.

In Power BI, select the report you want to share, so it's displayed on the canvas. Then from the menu, select File > Publish to web.

From there, you see a dialog that explains you'll get an embed code that lets you include the report on a website or in mail.

When you select Create embed code, Power BI presents another dialog, telling you again that you're about to share your data with everyone on the Internet. Make sure that's okay!

Power BI presents a dialog with two links:

  • A link you can share in email, which show the report as a web page
  • HTML code (a link plus within an iframe) so you can embed the report directly into a web page

For the HTML link, you can choose from predefined sizes for the embedded report, or you can modify the iframe code yourself and customize its size.

You can simply paste the email link into a browser, and see your report as a web. You can interact with that web page just as you would if you were viewing the report in Power BI. The following images shows a Publish to web page, when its link was copied directly from that dialog into a browser:

You can also embed that iframe link into a blog post or website, or into Sway, too.

Want to delete an embed code you created? No problem. In Power BI, select the gear icon in the upper right corner, then select Manage embed codes.

The Power BI workspace shows the embed codes you've created (in the image below, there's just one). When you click the ellipses, you can then select to get the code for the embed code, or delete the embed code entirely.

And that's all there is to publishing your Power BI report to the web, and sharing it with the world. It's easy!

Completion of Power BI Guided learning

You did it! Congratulations! You've completed the Guided Learning course for Power BI. You've come full circle from learning the basic elements of Power BI, taken a tour through its software features and elements, and learned how they all work together.

This is the last section (and the final topic, unless you want to learn DAX) in the course, so if you went through all of these sections in order, take a moment to pat yourself on the back. Good job! You're now well versed in all these important concepts:

That's a lot of knowledge, and now that you have all this in your head, you're ready to go put it to use! Here are some links to downloads or to get your browser connected to the Power BI service:

There's more help and reference content available, too. Just go to the top of this page, and select Learning > Documentation to see our extensive set of Power BI reference content.

We hope you've enjoyed your journey through this Power BI Guided Learning experience. Best of luck to you, and may your Power BI visuals always be immersive and compelling.

One more section for DAX users

Still want more? Interested in using DAX (Data Analysis Expressions) to create, filter, or use custom columns and tables in Power BI? There's one more section targeted at people inclined to do some code work in Power BI, and it's called Introduction to DAX. Take a look if you're interested - it uses the same friendly approach as the rest of Guided Learning.


You've completed the Publishing and sharing section of Power BI Guided Learning. If you want an introduction to DAX, the language used to create Power BI queries, head to the next tutorial.

You learned how to...

Next Tutorial

Introduction to DAX


  • Davidiseminger
  • Maggie Sparkman
  • Adam Saxton