Embed Power BI in SharePoint Online; Office 365 Integrated Sharing

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So far, you’ve learned about four ways of sharing Power BI content. In this post, you’ll learn about another method of sharing which is named Embed in SharePoint online. Embedding in SharePoint online is an excellent method to share Power BI content through a SharePoint portal. Because Power BI and Office 365 accounts are bound to each other, this method of sharing is prevalent for SharePoint users. You can use SharePoint as a portal for users to refer to it. Power BI content then can be easily shared through that portal with Office 365 users. If you like to learn more about Power BI, read Power BI from Rookie to Rock Star book.

Read my other blog posts about other methods of Sharing:

How to Embed in SharePoint Online

To use this method, you need to have a Power BI report published in the service. This method only works for Power BI reports (Not Dashboard). To share a report with this method, after logging into the service, and opening a Power BI report, you can click on File menu and then choose: Embed in SharePoint online.

The next step will generate a link that can be used in SharePoint. Just copy the link from this step;

The URL achieved from the step above is needed in the SharePoint online for embedding the Power BI Report. Login now to your SharePoint Online tenant. You can go to Pages section.

Create a New Site Page (or you can even edit an existing page)

You can name this page, something like “Power BI Embedded into SharePoint Online”, then click on Add icon to add a new object, and from all items list, select Power BI.

The Power BI component is now inserted to your page. Click on Add Report (At the time of writing this post, you can only embed report, not dashboard, into SharePoint online)

You can now, paste the embedded URL from the previous step for the Power BI report into this section, and select the page (if Power BI report has multiple pages).

As soon as you make these changes, you’ll see the preview of the report on the page.

You can now publish the page. Once the page is published, the Power BI embedded part will be part of it. The Power BI embedded in the SharePoint online page will be interactive like a standard Power BI report.

How to Share a SharePoint page with Power BI report embedded in it

After embedding the Power BI report into the page, let’s see how you can share it with others. A SharePoint page can be shared with other SharePoint online users (which usually are also Office 365 users). However, one important note is that; if a Power BI report is embedded in this page, then users need to have Power BI accounts to see it, and also their account should have access to that Power BI report as well. It means you need to manage permission in two locations; SharePoint online page, and Power BI report.

Access to SharePoint

You can share the page with other users, simply using the Share icon at the top right-hand side of this page.

You can then add people from Office 365 accounts into the list.

If you take a closer look at the screenshot above; I shared it with three types of accounts;

  • Power BI pro account; this is the account named “Reza Rad” in screenshot
  • Power BI free account
  • An Office 365 account with no Power BI license in it.

Power BI permission

Users also need to be permitted to access the Power BI report. To handle their permission, you can use Manage Permission part of dashboard sharing. To manage permission on every item (dashboard, report, or dataset) individually, you can go to the Dashboard in Power BI service, click on share, and go to Access tab, then click on manage Permission.

Manage permissions will show you a detailed list of access to the dashboard, reports, and datasets. In the left-hand-side of the Manage Permissions section, you will see related reports and datasets. You can click on the report.

By clicking on a report or dataset, you will see the permission specified for that object. And you can change it. For example, user reza@radacad.com has access as Read to the report in below screenshot.

Now, let’s see what each user will see when they log in to this page.

A user who is a Pro user, and the content is shared with him/her in Power BI service, and the page is shared with him/her in SharePoint Online will see the page fully visible.

Other users, however, can’t see the page entirely. If users don’t have a Pro subscription, or if it is not part of a Power BI premium capacity can’t see the content and will see error as below;

The Important take away from this example is as below;

users need to have Power BI account. The Power BI report should be shared with them in the service, and the SharePoint page should be shared with them. Power BI accounts only can use this page if they are part of a premium capacity or Power BI pro accounts.

Advantages and disadvantages of Embedding in SharePoint Online

Like all other methods, this method also has pros and cons.

Advantages of Embed in SharePoint Online

One portal for all content

With SharePoint online, you can share other documents as well. Why not using it for all other documents, and also the Power BI report. You can have one portal that is the central sharing portal for your Office 265 tenant. Users usually love the integrity.

Embedding is simple

Unlike Power BI Embedded, embedding in SharePoint online is easy. You just get the URL and embed it into a Power BI object in the SharePoint online. You don’t need to write a single line of code for that purpose, but with Power BI Embedded you do need a developer.

Disadvantages of Embed in SharePoint Online

Power BI Service Golden Plate is missed

One of the great aspects of Power BI components is the service. If you use embedding in the SharePoint, then users will use that as the portal for reports. Power BI Service has many exciting features, which may not be well used in this scenario, such as Alerts, feature dashboards, the dashboard itself, Q&A, and many other items. Users can still log in to Power BI service and see the report, but the experience that you create for them with SharePoint online would not be there.

Two places for managing permissions

At the time of writing this post, you need to manage permission in Power BI Service, and also in SharePoint online. This would take some time for maintenance, and also some reconciliation to check on those people who have access to the page are always permitted to read the report or not. Hopefully, this issue resolves quickly in next few version upgrades of Power BI Service.

Summary

In summary, embedding in SharePoint Online is an easy way of adding an interactive Power BI report into a SharePoint online page. This method gives you the ability to have a central SharePoint portal for all your content as well as Power BI report. Users do need to be part of a paid Power BI subscription to use this feature. However, they will lose the functionalities available for them in the Power BI service, because those are not available in the SharePoint. In the next blog post, I’ll talk about Power BI Embedded.

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Reza Rad
Reza Rad is an Author, Trainer, Speaker and DW/BI Consultant. He has a BSc in Computer engineering; he has more than 15 years’ experience in databases, programming and development mostly on Microsoft technologies. He is a Microsoft MVP in Data Platform for seven continues years (from 2011 till now) for his dedication in Microsoft BI. He is author of some SQL Server and BI books, and also Power BI online book; from Rookie to Rock Star.

4 Comments

  • Hello Reza
    Thanks for making this simple.
    So you know if there are any plans to make a single point of admin for the SharePoint online method ?
    Like perhaps sharing App spaces to it ?
    Thanks
    Jude

  • Hi, and thanks for a great how-to.
    Our companys cloud policy prevents us from creating Office 365-accounts, instead we are planning to set up PowerBI as an on-prem server. Is embedding in SharePoint possible with PowerBI on-prem?
    Thanks! /Martin

    • Hi Martin,
      Embedding feature is a service only feature at the moment because it connects to the service through API.
      There MIGHT be plans to bring it for report server in the future. but I’m not aware of anything in that area

      Cheers
      Reza

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