Create workspaces with your colleagues in Power BI

In Power BI, you can create workspaces, places to collaborate with colleagues to create and refine collections of dashboards and reports. Then you bundle those together into apps that you can distribute to your whole organization or to specific people or groups.

Power BI apps

When you create a workspace, you're creating an underlying, associated Office 365 group. All the workspace administration is in in Office 365. You can add colleagues to these workspaces as members or admins. In the workspace you can all collaborate on dashboards, reports, and other articles that you plan to publish to a wider audience. Everyone you add to an app workspace needs a Power BI Pro license.

Did you know? Power BI is previewing a new workspace experience. Read Create the new workspaces (preview) to see how workspaces will change in the future.

Video: Apps and app workspaces

Create an app workspace based on an Office 365 group

When you create an app workspace, it’s built on an Office 365 group.

  1. Start by creating the workspace. Select Workspaces > Create app workspace.

    Create app workspace

    This will be the place to put content that you and your colleagues collaborate on.

  2. Give the workspace a name. If the corresponding Workspace ID isn't available, edit it to come up with a unique ID.

    This will be the name of the app, too.

    Name the workspace

  3. You have a few options to set. If you choose Public, anyone in your organization can see what’s in the workspace. Private, on the other hand, means only members of the workspace can see its contents.

    Set Private or Public

    You can't change the Public/Private setting after you've created the group.

  4. You can also choose if members can edit or have view-only access.

    Set edit or view-only

    Only add people to the app workspace so they can edit the content. If they're only going to view the content, don't add them to the workspace. You can include them when you publish the app.

  5. Add email addresses of people you want to have access to the workspace, and select Add. You can’t add group aliases, just individuals.

  6. Decide whether each person is a member or an admin.

    Set Member or Admin

    Admins can edit the workspace itself, including adding other members. Members can edit the content in the workspace, unless they have view-only access. Both admins and members can publish the app.

  7. Select Save.

Power BI creates the workspace and opens it. It appears in the list of workspaces you’re a member of. Because you’re an admin, you can select the ellipsis (…) to go back and make changes to it, adding new members or changing their permissions.

Edit workspace

When you first create it, you may need to wait an hour or so for the workspace to propagate to Office 365.

Add an image to your Office 365 app workspace (optional)

By default, Power BI creates a little colored circle for your app, with the app's initials. But maybe you want to customize it with an image. To add an image, you need an Exchange Online license.

  1. Select Workspaces, select the ellipsis (...) next to the name of the workspace, then Members.

    Select Workspace Members

    The Office 365 Outlook account for the workspace opens in a new browser window.

  2. When you hover over the colored circle in the upper left, it turns into a pencil icon. Select it.

    Office 365 pencil icon

  3. Select the pencil icon again, and find the image you want to use.

    Select the pencil again

  4. Select Save.

    Select Save

    The image replaces the colored circle in the Office 365 Outlook window.

    Customized image

    In a few minutes, it will appear in the app in Power BI, too.

    Customized image

Add content to your app workspace

After you've created an app workspace, it's time to add content to it. It's just like adding content to your My Workspace, except the other people in the workspace can see and work on it, too. A big difference is that when you get done, you can publish the content as an app. When you view content in the content list of an app workspace, the app workspace name is listed as the owner.

Connect to third-party services in app workspaces

Apps are provided for all the third-party services Power BI supports, making it easy for you to get data from the services you use, such as Microsoft Dynamics CRM, Salesforce, or Google Analytics. You can publish organizational apps to give your users the data they need.

In the current workspaces you can also connect using organizational content packs, and third-party content packs such as Microsoft Dynamics CRM, Salesforce, or Google Analytics. Consider migrating your organizational content packs to apps.

Distribute an app

When the content is ready, you choose which dashboards and reports you want to publish, and then you publish it as an app. Your coworkers can get your apps in a few different ways. You can install them automatically in your coworkers' Power BI accounts if your Power BI administrator gives you permission. Otherwise, they can find and install your apps from Microsoft AppSource, or you can send them a direct link. They get updates automatically and you can control how frequently the data refreshes. See Publish apps with dashboards and reports in Power BI for details.

Power BI apps FAQ

How are apps different from organizational content packs?

Apps are the evolution of organizational content packs. If you have organizational content packs already, they'll continue to work side by side with apps. Apps and content packs have a few major differences.

  • After business users install a content pack, it loses its grouped identity: it's just a list of dashboards and reports interspersed with other dashboards and reports. Apps, on the other hand, maintain their grouping and identity even after installation. This makes it easy for business users to continue to navigate to them over time.
  • You can create multiple content packs from any workspace, but an app has a 1:1 relationship with its workspace.
  • Over time we plan to deprecate organizational content packs, so we recommend you create apps from now on.
  • With the new workspace experience preview, we are taking the first steps towards deprecating organizational content packs. You can't consume or create them in preview workspaces.

See How are the new app workspaces different from existing app workspaces? to compare the current and new app workspaces.

Next steps