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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!
Here's what a paginated report looks like:
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.
To begin, choose to create a new paginated report:
Choose this option to create a new paginated report.
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):
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:
Click on the obvious button!
As always, click on the installation file when it's downloaded to run it:
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):
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:
Specify the path for your report server.
After a few other questions not shown above you'll be asked to install the software:
Click on the button to install Report Builder.
I had various messages about files being used, like this one:
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.
When installation is complete, you'll be asked to confirm that you want to proceed:
Confirm that you want to connect to your report server.
You can then create your report!
To give you an idea of what Report Builder is like, here's a finished report in design view:
A report listing films in a database, grouped by director.
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:
You can save your report in any of the usual Windows ways.
You can then give it a name:
I've called my report Films by director, and saved it on the report server.
When you press F5 to refresh your report server, you should see your paginated report!
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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