How to use Power BI report builder for Paginated reports
Microsoft Power BI has made life easier for business owners and helped them achieve higher efficiencies. The possibilities with Power BI are endless, and leveraging data analysis using Power BI has helped some companies achieve benchmark results.
While most large corporations are using Power BI for everyday business operations, there is a large percentage of medium and small businesses that are not using Power BI for various reasons. In this blog, we will be explaining what is Power BI report builder and an easy and step by step procedure to build paginated reports.
What is Power BI report builder ?
It is a tool within the platform you can use to author paginated reports that you create with your data. You will need the Power BI report builder to design a paginated report and publish it to the Power BI service.
This report can then be shared with anyone. The best part of the algorithm is that you can specify each piece of the information and direct the software to take data from a particular source and then process it in a specific way and display it. You can preview the outcome before publishing, and after that, the processor will do all the jobs as per your specification.
Difference between Power BI reports and paginated reports
Initially, everyone is confused between a Power BI report and a paginated report. Most probably, you are confused about using a report and wondering why you need a paginated one.
We would like to explain this using a simple example. If you have a Power BI report with many tables in it, you will probably need to scroll the page to view the complete one. While printing, the only part of the report that is printed is the one that you can see.
You cannot print the whole of the report using the Power BI desktop, and this is where the role of the Power BI report builder comes into play. Every paginated report created using the report builder is printed in full, including all the content on your report with one command.
Explaining the process of creating paginated reports
In this section, we explain every step from the starting to help you understand and also create your first report.
To start with, install the Power BI report builder from Microsoft’s official website using this link.
You can now start by linking the report to any of the published datasets on the Microsoft service. Remember that you must have a premium, professional subscription or work with Power BI embedded to connect with an online dataset.
Connecting the report to a published dataset
The best part about the report builder is that unlike the desktop version, you get a variety of data sources options. Currently, the available options that you can use for your report are –
- Azure SQL Database and Data Warehouse
- SQL Server via a gateway
- Power BI Datasets
- Azure Analysis Services (via SSO)
- SQL Server Analysis Services via a gateway
Getting started with an excel sheet
As you can see, there is no option to upload excel sheets for the paginated reports directly, but we understand that most of the companies prepare their reports in Microsoft Excel. For this reason, we will be explaining the step by step procedure on how you can create a paginated report using an excel file.
1. Opening your excel file and copying the path
As there is an option to directly add an excel file, start with uploading your excel file on OneDrive. Go to OneDrive and click on “open” in the top left corner and click on “open in App.”
After the file opens in the Excel app, click on “file” and then info. You will get to see the web path for the excel sheet. Make sure to copy the path.
2. Connecting the path to Power BI
Next in line is selecting this path and connecting it to Power BI. This way, you will be able to connect your report to the Power BI server. Simply go to your Power BI desktop and click on get data, and among all the options, select the “Web” option.
Paste the link that you have copied from excel. Make sure that the ending of the link is at .xlsx for it to work correctly. Delete all the text that you see after the extension.
3. Checking and changing the data
Simply click on the source while you are viewing your datasets and making some changes. This will show you the data source, and you have to make sure that Web. contents are mentioned in the source line as this will prevent any errors in refreshing.
Now that you see the data in the Power BI dashboard, you can make any changes and make it according to your needs. Make sure to keep only the relevant information and remove rows or columns which you do not need while creating the paginated report.
After doing all the changes, click on close, apply, and then publish the report to the Power BI server where you can use it for anything. Make sure to open the published report in the relevant Workspace and configure the refresh schedule as per your needs.
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4. Starting with the report builder
Follow these easy steps –
- Right-click on the data sources option in the report builder
- Select the option – Add Power BI Dataset Connection
- Select the Workspace to which the data model was published
- Then, select the particular data set
5. Creating a dataset
After having your data source in place, the first step is to create a dataset. Right-click on the data source that you have just added and click on to create a dataset.
Give a name to your data set, and then you come to the central part of the “Query designer.” In this section, you can create fields of the data type that you wish to make reports for. After selecting all the fields, you can drag them to the empty query execution area. Clicking on any box will give you all the details of the relations and parameters of the data.
Make sure to add parameters as per your needs, after doing all the changes and click on ok.
You have now added all the information, and the report is ready for printing and all other activities.
- You can also use the chart, matrix, or table wizards to add visualization to your reports. The maps wizard is used to create reports with geographical data. When you select a particular wizard, it guides you step by step and selects the data from the specified data sets. After getting data, it combines it with the report layout and presents the final report directly
You can make any changes to your report, and adding functions to it is easy, just like you would do in the Power BI desktop.
6. Publishing the report
Finally, you can publish the report to the Power BI service, which can be used to share or print at any place or by any of your associates.
Creating a subscription for your reports
Like the other subscription options, you can create email subscriptions to your paginated reports and add people. All the things in the subscriptions are customizable, and you can specify the people, time, and the frequency of your emails. Every email will have the report as a PDF attachment.
Some tips and hacks for creating paginated reports efficiently
There are some common mistakes that new users make while understanding what is Power BI report builder. We are listing some hacks and tips that will help you in creating reports efficiently.
1. Use less number of datasets
You will initially feel tempted to use different datasets for every column of data. In the long term, this will decrease your performance and make things complicated. Make sure to use less number of datasets which is simple and will increase performance.
2. Create groups for your data
You will be having one data source or row repeated many times in your reports. This is common in most reports, and creating groups can increase your efficiency and even help get more insights from the same data.
The steps to make groups are –
- Create a new table
- Reduce the content of the table to one cell
- Place a rectangle within the cell that you created
- Initially, the setting will be row group properties
- Change it to “group on the repeating value”
Paginated reports is one of the most used features in Power BI, and using it effectively helps you increase coordination and creates room for new ideas. Make sure to follow the steps in the post and experiment further to build insightful reports for your business.
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