Create Power BI reports in the SQL Server Reporting Services Technical Preview

In today’s post, we’re picking up where we left off yesterday with the announcement of the availability of the new Technical Preview of Power BI reports in SQL Server Reporting Services.

Let’s jump into some basic scenarios that are supported in the technical preview with Power BI reports.

How to create and save a Power BI report to Reporting Services

To create a new report, double-click on the Power BI Desktop icon on the desktop of your virtual machine.  Please keep in mind the preview only supports using the version of Power BI Desktop installed directly on the VM.

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Currently, you are limited to creating a Power BI report against reports that connect live to Analysis Services (Tabular or Multidimensional) and publish it to Reporting Services.  We plan on adding support for other data sources and using Power Query features in a future preview.

To connect to one of the existing sample data sources on the server, click on ‘Get Data’. Choose SQL Server Analysis Services from the data source options and click Connect.

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When the pop-up menu appears, enter ‘localhost’ in the Server field and hit OK. Do NOT change the option currently marked ‘Connect live’, as you will then be unable to save your report to the server when you are finished creating it.

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You will see a sample data source available to use for your report, in addition to any Analysis Services data models you have loaded as well.

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Select one of your data sources, click OK, and you may now begin creating your report. If you have never created a Power BI report before, I strongly recommend checking out the Power BI Desktop Getting Started Guide.

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Once you have finished creating your report, go to the File menu and choose “Save As” to save the report. You will have the option to save the report locally, or to save to an instance of SQL Server Reporting Services.

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Select SQL Server Reporting Services, and you’ll be presented with a new pop-up window:

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Here, you need to enter the Reporting Services web portal URL – the format is the same as what you used to access the web portal through the web browser.

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After hitting OK, you can name and save the file to server. If you have created any folders, you can navigate through them here as well.

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After completing the save, a message will appear showing you have successfully saved your report to the server. Clicking the “Take me there” link will open the report in your browser where you can interact with your report.

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How to open/save a Power BI report from Reporting Services

From the Reporting Services web portal on your VM, click the “…” button in the right-hand corner of the Power BI report you wish to edit.  The new context menu will appear with several options.  Select ‘Edit in Power BI Desktop’ to launch the local Power BI Desktop on the VM so you can edit your file.

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When you are finished editing, simply select Save in the File menu or in the toolbar to save your changes back to the server.  The green “Connected” icon is present, which lets us know it is already connected to a Reporting Services instance.

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Adding Comments to your Power BI reports

Another new feature we’ve added is the ability to add and view comments about a report you’re viewing, including Power BI reports.

By default, any user who has Browser permissions or higher for a report will be able to add new comments, in addition to being able to edit or delete their own comments.  They can also reply to other users’ comments.  Content Managers will also be able to delete other users’ comments, or disable comments for users on an existing report.

To add a new comment, click the Comments button on any report page to expand the Comments pane:

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Once expanded, you can enter your comment in the text box and click Post Comment to save.  Your comment will be added at the top of the comment thread by default.  In addition, you can add attachments to any comment you create.  This is a helpful way to include the state of the report at the time you left your comment.   The attachment can be either an image file type or a PDF.    Simply select the “Attach File” button when you’re adding a new comment to include your attachment.  If it is an image file, you will have a small thumbnail of the file appear that you can select to view the image at full size.

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To reply to an existing comment another user has left, you can enter text in the area below an existing comment and click the Reply button.

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You can also edit and delete your own comments by using the edit/delete icons next to each comment you have left.

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Try it now and send us your feedback

One of the reasons we provided this early technical preview was to get your feedback – what you like, don’t like, what you’re hoping to see in the product, and anything else you’re curious about.  To help facilitate that communication directly with the product team, we have set up a special e-mail address that directs your feedback to the entire Reporting Services product team.  We can’t guarantee we’ll be able to respond to every piece of feedback personally, but it will definitely help us shape the product as we move forward with subsequent previews.