Power BI now supports paginated reports in Power BI Pro – Why this is a huge deal!
Nick Hilton | 24 November 22 | 3 min read
The modern interactive report format has taken over the BI world. Clickable, dynamic reports that empower developers and users alike to achieve what they want with data. Paginated reports may not be flaunting all that functionality, but they serve a specific purpose extremely well and utilising them can be extremely valuable.
Paginated reports are designed to be printed. Think of documents like invoices, school marking sheets, or purchase orders nowadays. Of course, with it so easy to share we don’t print them so much but that degree of control and precision is still an essential requirement for most organisations. We refer to this kind of design as pixel perfect.
Microsoft’s version of this was traditionally SSRS (SQL Server Reporting Services) and then more recently Power BI became a space where you can have paginated reports existing alongside standard PBI reports. Alternatively, there is a standalone Power BI Report Server for organisations that just want a more modern and future proof SSRS.
The reason paginated reports are a blind spot for many who use and develop Power BI content is because they’ve been locked behind the premium licencing pay wall. Before premium per user existed that was a huge barrier for many and even since then it’s a cost most people will prefer not to pay.
But no more…. Power BI paginated reports are now going to be supported by the standard pro licence!
By the end of 2022 Microsoft are going to make paginated reports available to users with the standard ‘pro’ licence which is a huge change! I’d guess professional licence holders make up the vast majority of Power BI users, I’d also take a guess that a huge proportion of these organisations utilising Power BI are using SSRS to produce paginated reports. I’m going to have to dig deep and report back on exactly what SSRS may be able to do that Power BI can’t do with paginated reports (if there is anything) but unless there’s any big hold ups then this is a fantastic opportunity to start producing or migrating reports into Power BI to unify and streamline your business intelligence reporting.
How do I get started with paginated reports in Power BI?
The good news is that Power BI report builder is free to download and that’s the paginated report equivalent to Power BI Desktop, I’d recommend downloading it, having a play, and seeing where you can get to. If you can publish those reports to Power BI and share them for users then fantastic, if not then you will be able to soon!
In an upcoming blog post we’re going to look at how to get started with Power BI report builder. I think this announcement is huge. I love what can be achieved with paginated reports and the potential for so many more people to make use of them is very exciting and will no doubt be a great way of delivering a huge amount of value very quickly.