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What Power BI report server is, and how to create reports through it
Part four 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
  4. Publishing Power BI reports to Power BI Report Server (this blog)
  5. Creating mobile reports for Power BI Report Server

Posted by Andy Brown on 23 December 2020

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Publishing Power BI reports to Power BI Report Server

To create a report for publication on Power BI Report Server, you must use Power BI for Report Server!

Power BI for Report Server is pretty much identical to Power BI Desktop, and you can run both applications side-by-side on your computer.  The main difference is that Power BI for Report Server is more stable: it doesn't include any preview features, and updates are only released about once a quarter (as opposed to once a month for standard Power BI Desktop).

Follow the steps below to create a Power BI report for viewing in Power BI Report Server.

Starting to add a report

You start to add a Power BI report in the same way as adding a paginated report:

Adding a Power BI report

Choose this option to create a new Power BI report.

Downloading and installing Power BI for Report Server

I've got Power BI on my laptop, but it's not the version for Report Server, so I've chosen to download the Report Server version:

Installing Power BI RS

Click on the button to download Power BI for Report Server.

You'll be taken to a website, where you can download the right version of Power BI Server:

Downloading Power BI for RS

Click to download the software (at the time of writing this is the May 2020 edition, which is 7 months behind the standard version of Power BI Desktop).

Choose whether you have a 32-bit or 64-bit computer:

64 bit choice

I've got a 64-bit laptop, as (almost certainly) will you - why can't it detect this though?

When the installation program has downloaded, choose to run it:

Installation file

What this looks like in Edge, for example.


After a couple of stages of the wizard, you'll be asked to choose an installation folder:

Installation folder

I've gone for the default, yet again!

You can now start the installation:

Instal button

Go for it!


You'll probably then need to confirm you want to proceed, after which time you'll see a status message:

Status message

Things are going swimmingly.

Finally, you'll see a completion message:

Finish message

You can now finish the installation.

Creating a Power BI report

When you create a new report again following the steps at the top of this page, you'll now be taken into Power BI for Report Server:

Power BI for Report Server

A trip back in time to the May 2020 version (at least at the time of writing).

Compare the two icons!

Two versions of Power BI

The one on the left is Power BI Desktop; the one on the right Power BI for Report Server.


You can then create your Power BI report:

Power BI list of films

This report was created using exactly the same data source as the paginated report for the previous page of this blog.

Saving your report to Power BI Report Server

When you've created your report, you can save it directly to Power BI Report Server:

Save to report server

Choose Save as, and choose to save your report to Power BI Report Server.

If this is the first time you've done this, you'll be asked to type in the location of your report server:

Report server location

Enter the location of your report server and select OK.

You can then give your report a name:

Report name

Here I've called this report Films for directors.



You could if you like click on the link to go to your report server.

Viewing your report in report server

When you press F5 to refresh Power BI Report Server, you'll see your new report:

New report

You can now click on your new Power BI report to view it.


When you view your report, you'll see the interface is a bit different to (and simpler than) Power BI Service:

Viewing report

Viewing a report through Power BI Report Server

I've been astonished throughout creating this blog by how simple the process is, and how clear it is what's going on behind the scenes.  I'm now a big fan of Power BI Report Server!

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