Reports in Power BI

What is a Power BI report?

A Power BI report is a multi-perspective view into a dataset, with visualizations that represent different findings and insights from that dataset. A report can have a single visualization or pages full of visualizations. Depending on your job role, you may be someone who creates reports and/or you may be someone who consumes or uses reports.

This report has 3 pages (or tabs) and we're currently viewing the Store Sales Overview page. On this page are 6 different visualizations and a page title. Visualizations can be pinned to dashboards and when that pinned visualization is selected, it opens the report it was pinned from.

If you're new to Power BI, you can get a good foundation by reading Power BI basic concepts

Reports are a feature of Power BI service and Power BI Desktop. The experience of working with reports is almost identical. However, for mobile, you can't create reports but you can view, share, and annotate reports.

Advantages of reports

Reports are based on a single dataset. The visualizations in a report each represent a nugget of information. And the visualizations aren't static; you can add and remove data, change visualization types, and apply filters and slicers as you dig into the data to discover insights and look for answers. Like a dashboard, but more-so, a report is highly interactive and highly customizable and the visualizations update as the underlying data changes.

Dashboards versus reports

Dashboards are often confused with reports since they too are canvases filled with visualizations. But there are some major differences.

Capability Dashboards Reports
Pages One page One or more pages
Data sources One or more reports and one or more datasets per dashboard A single dataset per report
Available in Power BI Desktop No Yes, can create and view reports in Desktop
Pinning Can pin existing visualizations (tiles) only from current dashboard to your other dashboards Can pin visualizations (as tiles) to any of your dashboards. Can pin entire report pages to any of your dashboards.
Subscribe Can't subscribe to a dashboard Can subscribe to report pages
Filtering Can't filter or slice Many different ways to filter, highlight, and slice
Set alerts Can create alerts to email you when certain conditions are met No
Feature Can set one dashboard as your "featured" dashboard Cannot create a featured report
Natural language queries Available from dashboard Not available from reports
Can change visualization type No. In fact, if a report owner changes the visualization type in the report, the pinned visualization on the dashboard does not update Yes
Can see underlying dataset tables and fields No. Can export data but can't see tables and fields in the dashboard itself. Yes. Can see dataset tables and fields and values.
Can create visualizations Limited to adding widgets to dashboard using "Add tile" Can create many different types of visuals, add custom visuals, edit visuals and more with Editing permissions
Customization Can do things with the visualizations (tiles) like move and arrange, resize, add links, rename, delete, and display full screen. But the data and visualizations themselves are read-only. In Reading view you can publish, embed, filter,export, download as .pbix, view related content, generate QR codes, analyze in Excel, and more. In Editing view you can do everything mentioned so far and so much more.

Report creators and report consumers

Depending on your role, you may be someone who creates reports for your own use or to share with colleagues. You want to learn how to create and share reports. Or, you may be someone who receives reports from others. You want to learn how to understand and interact with the reports.

Here are some topics, by role, to help you get started.

If you will be creating and sharing reports

If you will be receiving and consuming reports

Tip

If you didn’t find what you’re looking for here, use the Table of Contents to the left to browse all report topics.

Next steps

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