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What Power BI report server is, and how to create reports through it
Part three of a five-part series of blogs

Puzzled as to why there are two near-identical versions of Power BI Desktop? Wondering if web portal is anything like Power BI report server? Confused as to what a paginated report is? This blog answers all these questions, and more!

  1. Power BI Report Server
  2. Installing and Setting Up Power BI Report Server
  3. Creating paginated reports (this blog)
  4. Publishing Power BI reports to Power BI Report Server
  5. Creating mobile reports for Power BI Report Server

Posted by Andy Brown on 23 December 2020

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Creating paginated reports

Here's what a paginated report looks like:

A paginated report

You can create a paginated report in either Report Builder or SQL Server Reporting Services (both applications produce the same reports).

Follow the steps below to create a paginated report from Power BI Report Server.

Whereas Power BI reports are designed to be viewed on screen, and don't handle printing or page breaks well (if at all), paginated reports are designed for printing grouped datasets spanning multiple pages.

Starting to create a paginated report

To begin, choose to create a new paginated report:

Creating a paginated report

Choose this option to create a new paginated report.

 

Installing Report Builder

Power BI Report Server will now ask whether you want to use Report Builder as an editor for your paginated reports (and whether you want to install it):

Report Builder

Click on the button shown to download and install Report Builder.

Report Builder is a standalone application which allows you to create one paginated report at a time.  If you're going to be doing much work on paginated reports, you'll be far better off creating them in SQL Server Reporting Services instead (here's why).

You'll be taken to a website from which you can download Report Builder:

Downloading Report Builder

Click on the obvious button!

As always, click on the installation file when it's downloaded to run it:

Installation file

Here's what it looks like in Edge.

 

If you've previously installed Report Builder on your computer, you may be asked to upgrade (I was):

Upgrading Report Builder

Choose to upgrade if appropriate.

 

You can make your life easier by typing in the path to your report server, so that Report Builder knows where to publish reports to:

Report server path

Specify the path for your report server.

 

After a few other questions not shown above you'll be asked to install the software:

Install button

Click on the button to install Report Builder.

 

I had various messages about files being used, like this one:

Files in use

I chose to close down Power BI Report Server and SQL Server Management Studio, but even then got messages about numbered processes still in use. I chose to ignore these, and everything installed perfectly.

 

Creating reports

When installation is complete, you'll be asked to confirm that you want to proceed:

Connecting to report server

Confirm that you want to connect to your report server.

 

You can then create your report!

The report builder interface

The oh-so-familar (at least to the author) Report Builder interface. If you want to learn how to create reports, consider booking onto one of our Reporting Services or Report Builder courses.

To give you an idea of what Report Builder is like, here's a finished report in design view:

A sample report

A report listing films in a database, grouped by director.

Saving (publishing) your report

When you've finished designing a report (you can press F5 at any time to test what it will look like) you can save it:

Saving a report

You can save your report in any of the usual Windows ways.

 

You can then give it a name:

Report name

I've called my report Films by director, and saved it on the report server.

Viewing your report

When you press F5 to refresh your report server, you should see your paginated report!

Viewing reports

You can click on your report to show its contents.

 

Anyone who has used SQL Server Reporting Services' web portal will recognise that pretty much nothing has changed!  This is because Power BI Report Server - despite the name - is actually just SSRS Report Server with the extra ability to host Power BI reports.

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