1. Publishing to the Online Service


In this lesson, we’ll introduce the Power BI service. We’ll discuss the main functions of the service, and outline the course. Finally, we’ll upload a dataset from Power BI Desktop to the service.

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  1. Capabilities of the Online Service (00:23)

    The Power BI online service is a cloud-based service letting you obtain insights from data. Officially, it’s just called Power BI, but we generally refer to it as the Power BI online service to avoid confusion with the overall family of products.

    The main functions of the online service are creating dashboards, obtaining insights from those dashboards, and sharing those dashboards and insights throughout your company. Some other functions, such as creating reports, are available in Power BI Desktop and the online service.

  2. Course Overview (01:29)

    This course is divided into three areas:

    1. Import data to the online service and create a dashboard

    2. Analyze a dashboard and obtain insights from it

    3. Learn how to share content and collaborate with others

  3. Updates and New Features (01:58)

    The online service receives frequent updates, but these updates do not follow a clearly defined schedule. These updates can sometimes introduce new features which replace existing features. As a result, you should be willing to adopt new features if you intend to use the online service frequently.

  4. Uploading a Report to the Online Service (02:41)

    We can easily upload a report from Power BI Desktop to the online service.

    To do this, we need to have an account for the online service.

    To upload a report, we open it in Power BI Desktop, then select Upload from the Home tab.

    We select the relevant workspace, and the report will be uploaded.

    We can then view the report in the online service.


In previous courses, we focused on developing reports in Power BI desktop.

In this course, we'll learn how to work with the Power BI Online Service.

In this first lesson, we'll learn how to publish a report from Power BI desktop to the online service.

The online service is officially called Power BI. However, this can cause confusion with the general family of products, so you may prefer to think of it as the Power BI Service or the Power BI Online Service. In addressing this topic, the first question we should consider is what we can do in the online service. In our first course, we learned about the most common workflow in a Power BI project.

In this workflow, we create a report in Power BI desktop, upload it to the service and share from there throughout the company. The Power BI Service is generally used to create dashboards, obtain insights from them, and then share those dashboards and insights throughout your company.

Throughout this course, we'll look at features in each of these three areas.

Note that there are some functions that are available in both the desktop and online service. For example, we have the ability of creating reports in both the online service and Power BI desktop. However, it's best practice to create reports in Power BI desktop, so we won't consider how to create reports in the online service in this course.

In the first few lessons, we'll learn about creating dashboards.

We'll look at how to import data directly into Power BI and create dashboards from multiple reports. Next, we'll look at how to analyze a dashboard and obtain insights from it using the Q&A and quick insight features. Finally, we'll look at the various sharing and collaboration options, including how to share dashboards, as well as creating apps and app workspaces.

Note that while the online service is updated frequently, it does not follow the same fixed monthly schedule as Power BI desktop.

While most of these updates are rather small, some do introduce significant new features. In fact, sometimes new features will replace existing ones. For example, the apps that we'll discuss later in this course replaced a previous feature called organizational content packs.

It's important to understand that there's no guarantee that older features will be supported in the future. When using the Power BI Service, you need to be willing to adopt new features as Microsoft adds them. In the visualization courses, we created two reports containing a wide variety of visualizations.

We'll upload both of those reports to Power BI, create a dashboard that combines visuals from both reports, and demonstrate the capabilities of Power BI using that dashboard. We'll start by uploading those two reports to Power BI. In a previous course, we briefly discussed how to upload a report to the online service, but we'll run through it again right now. Note that in order to use the online service, you'll need to create an account at powerbi.com. If you haven't done so previously, you might wanna do it now.

To upload a report, we'll navigate to the home tab and click the publish button.

You'll be prompted to sign into your Power BI account if you haven't already done so.

Once signed in, we're prompted to specify the workspace and finish the upload.

We've now uploaded the first of our two reports to Power BI. In the next lesson, we'll learn how to directly import a report into the Power BI Online Service.

Online Service and Data Connections
The Power BI Online Service


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