Quickstart: Create a Power BI report for Power BI Report Server

You can store and manage Power BI reports on premises in the Power BI Report Server web portal, just as you can store Power BI reports in the cloud in the Power BI service (https://powerbi.com). You create and edit reports in Power BI Desktop, and publish them to the web portal. Then report readers in your organization can view them in a browser or in a Power BI mobile app on a mobile device.

Power BI report in the web portal

Here are four quick steps to get you started.

Step 1: Install Power BI Desktop optimized for Power BI Report Server

If you've already created Power BI reports in Power BI Desktop, then you're almost ready to create Power BI reports for Power BI Report Server. We recommend installing the version of Power BI Desktop optimized for Power BI Report Server so you know the server and the app are always in sync. You can have both versions of Power BI Desktop on the same computer.

  1. In the report server web portal, select the Download arrow > Power BI Desktop.

    Download Power BI Desktop from the web portal

    Or you can go directly to Microsoft Power BI Desktop (Optimized for Power BI Report Server - October 2017) in the Microsoft Download Center.

  2. In the Download Center page, select Download.

  3. Depending on your computer, select:

    • PBIDesktopRS.msi (the 32-bit version) or

    • PBIDesktopRS_x64.msi (the 64-bit version).

  4. After you download the installer, run the Power BI Desktop (October 2017) Setup Wizard.

  5. At the end of the installation, check Start Power BI Desktop now.

    It starts automatically and you're ready to go. You can tell you have the right version because "Power BI Desktop (October 2017)" is in the title bar.

    Power BI Desktop October 2017 version

  6. If you're not familiar with Power BI Desktop, consider watching the videos on the welcome screen.

    Power BI Desktop start screen

Step 2: Select a data source

You can connect to a variety of data sources. Read more about connecting to data sources.

  1. From the welcome screen, select Get Data.

    Or on the Home tab, select Get Data.

  2. Select your data source -- in this example, Analysis Services.

    Select data source

  3. Fill in Server, and optionally, Database. Make sure Connect live is selected > OK.

    Server name

  4. Choose the report server where you'll save your reports.

    Report server selection

Step 3: Design your report

Here's the fun part: You get to create visuals that illustrate your data.

For example, you could create a funnel chart of customers and group values by yearly income.

Design a report

  1. In Visualizations, select Funnel chart.
  2. Drag the field to be counted to the Values well. If it's not a numeric field, Power BI Desktop automatically makes it a Count of the value.
  3. Drag the field to group on to the Group well.

Read much more about designing a Power BI report.

Step 4: Save your report to the report server

When your report is ready, you save it to the Power BI Report Server you chose in Step 2.

  1. On the File menu, select Save as > Power BI Report Server.

    Save to the report server

  2. Now you can view it in the web portal.

    View the report in the web portal

Considerations and limitations

Reports in Power BI Report Server and in the Power BI service (http://powerbi.com) act almost exactly the same, but a few features are different.

In a browser

Power BI Report Server reports support all visualizations, including:

  • Custom visuals

Power BI Report Server reports don’t support:

  • R visuals
  • ArcGIS maps
  • Breadcrumbs

In the Power BI mobile apps

Power BI Report Server reports support all the basic functionality in the Power BI mobile apps, including:

  • Phone report layout: You can optimize a report for the Power BI mobile apps. On your mobile phone, optimized reports have a special icon, Phone report layout icon, and layout.

    Report optimized for phones

Power BI Report Server reports don’t support these features in the Power BI mobile apps:

  • R visuals
  • ArcGIS maps
  • Custom visuals
  • Breadcrumbs
  • Geofiltering or bar codes

Next steps

Power BI Desktop

There are so many great resources for creating reports in Power BI Desktop. These links are a good starting point.

Power BI Report Server

More questions? Try asking the Power BI Community