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Creating app workspaces to share content with others in Power BI
Part three of a five-part series of blogs

You can package reports, datasets and dashboards into app workspaces, and share these with other people in your organisation and beyond (these used to be called content packs). This blog explains how to do this, and why you'll need Power BI Pro to do so.

  1. An introduction to app workspaces
  2. Creating an App Workspace
  3. Adding content to an app workspace (this blog)
  4. Viewing a shared app workspace, and publishing apps
  5. How to import apps, whether created by your organisation or another company

This blog is part of a longer series, which together comprise a full online training course in Power BI Service.  You can see get details of our classsrom Power BI training courses here.

Posted by Andy Brown on 03 July 2017

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Adding content to an app workspace

After creating an app workspace you see this screen, with the name of the app workspace shown at the top:

Workspace contents

You can create new connections to data, but you're more likely to want to add existing reports.

You'll probably now want to add existing datasets, reports or dashboards to your workspace.  One way to do this is to package them up as a content pack; the other way is to re-publish them from Power BI Desktop.  Both ways are shown under separate headings below.

What you can't do is copy and paste (or at least, that's what this forum discussion says).

Method 1 - re-publishing reports from Power BI Desktop

Provided that you created your reports originally in Power BI Desktop, you can publish them again, but this time to your app workspace:

Publish tool

With a report open, first choose to publish it from Power BI Desktop in the normal way.

Obviously if you created a report in Power BI Service, you'll first have to choose from the File menu to save this as as PBIX file.  You can then open this PBIX file in Power BI Desktop, and publish it from there.

Now choose to publish your report to your new app workspace:

Choosing a workspace

Here I'm publishing this report to Summary of all reports.


You can now recreate any dashboards you need within this workspace:

App workspace contents

Here I've published and then renamed two reports, and also created a dashboard.


Method 2 - packaging reports as a content pack

The other way to get reports into your new workspace is via a content pack.  First choose to create one:

Creating a content pack

Choose this option to create a content pack.

Ignore the message about using app workspaces, and give your content pack a name and assign your app workspace to it:

Creating content pack

Content packs will be deprecated at some stage, but for the moment they work fine. You'll need to assign your Summary of all reports app workspace to it.


Tick the things you want your pack to include:

Tick objects to include

Here I've gone for the full Monty.

Now select your new (empty) app workspace:

Select app workspace

Click on your app workspace to select it.


Choose to get data for this:

Get data option

Click on this icon at the bottom left of the screen.


Choose to get a content pack:

Choose get content pack

Click on this button.


Under My Organization, choose to get the pack you've just created:

Select content pack

Select the content pack you've just created (mine was called test) and choose to "get it now".


However, this doesn't solve the problem, as you'll see if you choose to publish your app workspace:

Publish app

If you click on this button to publish your app, you'll see an error message.


This is the error message you'll see:

Can't share content

You can't share content from content packs.

However, you CAN now copy the contents of the content pack:

Copy a content pack

Click on any of the items in the content pack, and choose to copy it.

You now see this message:

Copying content pack confirmation

You can confirm that you want to copy the contents of the content pack.


What a palaver!

Updated app workspace

Your app workspace now includes all the reports, dashboards and datasets in the content pack. Phew.


However, even after copying a content pack, it still doesn't seem possible to publish it as an app:

Can't publish app

The message you get when you try to publish an app containing reports copied from a content pack.

Given the long procedure and the uncertainty of the outcome, I think I'd be tempted to bite the bullet and republish your reports from Power BI Desktop.

Footnote: changing the image next to a workspace

So according to this Microsoft webpage, you can change the icon appearing to the left of a workspace:

Change workspace icon

Bored of the blue circle? Apparently you can change it to a picture!


You can do this by selecting the workspace, and showing this menu:

Edit workspace menu

However, try as I might I can't get anything to appear apart from the bottom two options.


If anyone can tell me what I've missed, I'd love to hear from you (I suspect this is an option which was included in Power BI within Office 365, but has now been removed).

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