Getting Started with Power BI Report Server
Part three of a three-part series of blogs

Power BI encourages you to publish reports to an online service so that you can share your beautiful reports with the world. If you'd rather keep them a secret you can use Power BI Report Server to deploy your reports to an on-premises server, as this blog series shows you.

  1. Installing Power BI Report Server
  2. Configuring Power BI Report Server
  3. Power BI Desktop for Report Server (this blog)

Posted by Andrew Gould on 19 March 2019

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Power BI Desktop for Report Server

You may be familiar with creating reports in the Microsoft Power BI Desktop application and then publishing these reports to the online Power BI Service.  If you want to save reports to a Power BI Report Server you'll need a different version of Power BI Desktop with the catchy name of Microsoft Power BI Desktop (Optimized for Power BI Report Server)!

You can have both the regular and Report Server versions of Power BI Desktop installed at the same time.

Obtaining the Software

One way to download the application is from the Web Portal.  Navigate to the Web Portal as described in the previous part of this blog series and click the download arrow button shown in the diagram below:

Download

Click the download arrow button and choose Power BI Desktop from the menu.

You'll be taken to the download page for the application:

Download

Click the Download button to obtain the software.

Choose the 32-bit or 64-bit edition of the software then click Next.

64 bit

We're choosing to download the 64-bit edition of the software.

When the file has finished downloading, double-click it to launch the installer:

Launch

Double-click the file to launch the installer.

 

You can then follow the simple wizard to install the software.

Running the Application

When you've finished installing the software you can run it from the Start menu, as shown in the diagram below:

Run application

Each version of Power BI Desktop has a distinct icon. The regular Power BI Desktop application has a bright yellow icon with a black graphic. The icon for the Report Server version has the colour scheme inverted.

 

Run the application by clicking the icon shown above. 

Using the Application

Using the Report Server version of Power BI Desktop is almost identical to using the regular version of the application.  There are some minor differences, as summarised below:

  • You can save a report to a Power BI Report Server.
Save to report server

Installing a Power BI Report Server would be pointless if you couldn't save reports to it!

 
  • You can open reports directly from a Power BI Report Server.
Open from report server

If you've saved a report to a report server, you can also open it from that location.

 
  • You can't use Preview features.
Preview

In the regular version of Power BI Desktop you can choose File | Options and settings | Options in order to enable Preview features. These aren't available in the Report Server version of the software.

 

Saving to a Power BI Report Server

Once you've created a report you can choose to save it to a Power BI Report Server as shown below:

Save

From the menu choose File | Save as | Power BI Report Server

 

You can then enter the URL of the Web Portal to connect to the Power BI Report Server:

URL

Enter the URL of the Web Portal that you created in the previous part of this blog series.

Click OK then enter a file name and click OK again to save your report:

Save

Enter a file name in the text box and click OK.

 

Viewing the Saved Report

When you have saved the report to the report server you can choose to view it immediately:

View report

Click the Take me there link to open the Web Portal in your default browser and navigate to the report you have just saved.

From the Web Portal you can return to the home page to view any other content that has been saved to the Power BI Report Server:

View report

Click the Home link at the top of the report to return to the home page of the Web Portal.

Saving Other Content to a Power BI Report Server

Users of SQL Server Reporting Services, SQL Server Report Builder and SQL Server Mobile Report Publisher may be interested to know that you can also publish content created in these applications to the Power BI Report Server.  The diagram below shows how to do this in Report Builder: 

Report Builder

In Report Builder you can connect to a Power BI Report Server using the Web Service URL and save your reports directly to this server.

In Mobile Report Publisher you can add a connection to the Power BI Report Server using the URL of the Web Portal:

Mobile Report Publisher

Once you've added a connection to the Power BI Report Server you can choose it when you save a report.

Each type of report you save to the Power BI Report Server occupies a separate section on the Web Portal home page:

Content types

Power BI reports and Mobile reports each have an obviously-named section.

SSRS reports created in Report Builder or Visual Studio are assigned to the Paginated Reports category.

 
  1. Installing Power BI Report Server
  2. Configuring Power BI Report Server
  3. Power BI Desktop for Report Server (this blog)
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