What is Microsoft Power BI?

In this tutorial, we will study what is Microsoft Power Bi, and also we will discuss how it works.

There is a step-by-step guide, where you can find all about Microsoft Power Bi and its use. We will discuss here:

  • What is Bi?
  • What is Microsoft Power Bi?
  • Different Power Bi versions?
  • Why we use Power Bi?
  • Who uses the Microsoft Power Bi?
  • What is a Power Platform?
  • Various power Bi tools
  • What are the data sources in Power Bi?
  • Power Bi license and pricing
  • How to download and install Power Bi Desktop?
  • What are the competitors of the Power Bi?
  • Advantages of Power Bi
  • Drawbacks of Power Bi

In July 2011, Microsoft developed the Power Bi app. Which is mostly used for creating and represent the visualization of large data. More than 5 million subscribers are using this application. Let’s have a look at this brief explanation with an example of power bi.

What is Bi?

Business Intelligence, a technology that is used to analyze data and provides information to an organization or a user.

Read: 5 Simple and Powerful Power BI dashboard examples

What is Microsoft Power Bi?

Microsoft Power Bi is a part of the power platform of Microsoft. It is a collection of various software services, apps, and connectors that create and build visualization data from multiple different types of data sources. The data sources may be an excel, or a cloud-based collection like SharePoint online, SQL server, etc.

With power bi, we can easily connect to the data sources to get data, create different types of visualization. Also, it allows to a user save, publish and share the report with others who want it.

Read: Microsoft Power bi report vs dashboard

Version of Microsoft Power Bi

Microsoft introduced Power bi on July 11, 2011. That was the initial version of Power Bi. Now the updating version is May 2021(2.93.384.0). But the stable release is March 2021(2.91.383.0).

Why we use Power Bi?

There is a certain question in our mind, why do we use power bi or what are the needs?. Here is the answer, which we discussed below:

  • Power Bi works as a real-time dashboard, which is a type of data that updated automatically with the currently available data.
  • It’s easy to connect multiple data sources to get data and build the visualization.
  • It has a number of visuals, along there are custom and open source visuals are available.
  • It allows asking questions and get an answer from the data using the Q&A feature.
  • It offers a secure connection to your data source in the cloud.
  • You can embed Your power Bi report to the PowerApp and Sharepoint.
  • It offers quick deployment, a summarization of business data to get more ideas from this.

Read: 19 Power bi best practices

Who uses Microsoft Power Bi?

Power Bi is one of the most powerful tools for analyzing data. More than 5millions people are using this tool in their business. Also, it is widely used in many developed countries like the USA, Canada, Brazil, Australia, etc.

This is an important and professional tool for:

  • Data Analyst
  • Business Analyst
  • Project manager
  • Data scientist
  • IT professional
  • Business developing team

What is Power Platform

In the above description, we described that Power Bi is part of the power platform. So there is a question what is a power platform? Here we explain it below:

Microsoft Power platform mainly consists of Microsoft Power App, Power Automate, Power Bi, Power virtual agent.

  • Microsoft Power Apps is using to rapidly create a custom business app by connecting to your data without wasting much time and expenses.
  • Microsoft Power Automate is a service that helps to automate a business process flow in between app and data.
  • Microsoft Power Bi is a service that allows us to create and build visualization using data from multiple data sources.
  • Microsoft Power virtual Agents is a tool that allows making a chatbot, which can help a customer with customer services immediately.

What are the power Bi tools?

Now we will see what are tools are available in Power Bi. There are several tools are available in Microsoft Power Bi. Some important tools are:

  • Power Bi Desktop is a tool that allows us to create and build reports easily getting data from data sources. It is a Windows desktop-based free application using on PCs and desktops. Primarily it is used for building, designing, and publishing reports.
  • Power Bi Services is a SAAS-based online service means it works as Software as a Service. Its a cloud-based tool which is known as power bi for office 365. All the functionalities like building, hosting, administrations, storing, sharing all happen in the cloud. The cost for this $9.99 user per month.
  • Power Bi Mobile Apps is a mobile-based application for android and Ios mobile or tablet devices that allowing you to quickly view your reports anywhere.
  • Power Bi Report Builder is a tool that used for creating paginated reports(that report which designed to be shared or printed) that publish on the Power Bi server.
  • Power Bi Report Server is a cloud-based on-premise reporting solution where you can publish or host your report after creating them on Power Bi Desktop.
  • Power Bi Gateway acts as a bridge in-between Power Bi services and on-premises data sources. It keeps your dashboards and reports up to date by connecting with on-premises data sources.

Read: How to combine multiple files from SharePoint folder in Power BI

What are the data sources in Power Bi?

There are various types of data sources are available in Power Bi. By connecting these data sources users can get data for building to visualize. The user may get their data from Excel files, SharePoint Online, SQL Database, Odata feed, PDF, Oracle Database, etc.

How to get your data from Data sources in Power BI?

You can get your data just by clicking on get data. Then there will be a screen that appears with having a number of options. You can select from them and connect your data from data sources.

what is microsoft power bi
Get data from data sources

Power Bi Licensing and Pricing

There are currently three kinds of licensing are available in power bi. These are given below :

Microsoft Power Bi LicensingPricingFeatures
Microsoft Power Bi Free/DesktopFreeIt is the free version of Microsoft Power Bi.
It has access to content in My Workspace.
Content refreshes daily.
The data capacity of 1GB per User.
Microsoft Power Bi Pro$9.99 per userIt is the full version of Microsoft Power Bi.
It has access to publish content to other Workspace, shared dashboards, and reports.
Content refreshes 8/day.
The data capacity of 10GB per User.
Microsoft Power Bi Per user Premium$20 per userIt is used for a large organization with a great number of users.
It has access to publish content to other Workspace, shared dashboards, and reports to other users who have per user premium license, pro license, and free license.
Content refreshes 48/day.
The data capacity of 100GB per User.
various type of licensing and there features

Read: Display COVID-19 Power bi report in PowerApps

How to download and install Power Bi Desktop?

To download and install you have to follow the below steps.

Step 1: Do visit on below link.

Step 2: Click on Download Free.

download free version of power bi desktop
download free version of power bi desktop

Step 3: Then you will be redirected to another page. choose your language(by default it is English). and click on the Download.

Step 4: Here you can download the version of power bi Desktop that matches the architecture(x86 or x64) of your windows.

Download version Power bi desktop
Download version Power bi desktop according to the architecture of computer

Step 5: Click on Next.

Step 6: Install it then. Signup with your Microsoft 365 account or school account or organization account.

Step 7: When run the Power bi Desktop application, the welcome screen will be open like this:

what is microsoft power bi
Welcome page of Power Bi Desktop

Step 8: By clicking on Get data, you can pull your data from different sources and visualize it. We will learn about this oncoming tutorial.

Read: How to embed Power bi report in PowerApps portal

What is Microsoft power bi free?

  • Microsoft power bi offers a free trial version, which is known as Microsoft power Bi free. This version is a web-based cloud application.
  • This version is for individual or single users. Although this free version has several limitations too. These are:
  • In this version, users can import data and reports from excel, CSV, and Power Bi desktop files. Also, it allows accessing them via mobile devices.
  • Users can publish the report on the web. Apart from that users can access on-premises data via a gateway.
  • With this free version, users can’t share the dashboard and reports with other Bi users.
  • It does not allow publishing the report in SharePoint, and Premium.
  • In this free version, users can’t use Microsoft Office 365 in Power Bi.
  • Users can’t access the app workspaces and also e-Mail subscription.
  • This version is best for small businesses and startups. Also Business with fewer data to analyze.

Read Power bi sort by measure

What is Microsoft power bi pro?

  • Microsoft Power Bi Pro is a chargeable version, which currently charges $9.99 per user per month.
  • The pro license has all the features of the free version along with some additional features. These additional features are:
  • This version has 10GB of storage with a maximum of 1GB report size. Also 8 automated refreshes per day.
  • It allows consuming streaming data in your dashboard and reports at 1 Million rows per day.
  • Users can integrate or collaborate with the office 365 team in Power Bi.
  • The Pro user can share reports and dashboards with another pro user.
  • Users can access the app workspaces.
  • The user has an e-Mail subscription and can embed APIs and controls.
  • This version is best for medium to large businesses. And corporations having large data.

Read Power bi measure divide

What is Microsoft power bi report builder?

Microsoft Power Bi Report Builder is a tool that can use to authoring paginated reports that can be created with your data and publish in the Power Bi service.

You can preview your outcomes before publishing, then you can publish it Power Bi service. You can share this report with anyone.

What are paginated reports?

Paginated reports are also known as pixel-perfect reports. This means the report is formatted to fit perfectly on a page. These reports are designed to be shared and printed. This report also can control the layout of their report page exactly. This report has its own designing tools.

Competitors of the Power Bi

There is also alternative business intelligence is available which is giving tough competition to Microsoft Power Bi. These applications are also categorized in common with Microsoft PowerBi. From these applications, we are mentioned some important application are mentioned in below:

  • Looker
  • Tableau Desktop
  • Qlik Sense
  • ThoughtSpot
  • Oracle Analytics Cloud
  • Sisence
  • Domo
  • Bold BI and so on.

Advantages of Microsoft Power Bi

Now we will learn what are the benefits we will get or what are the advantages of using Microsoft Power Bi. These are:

  • Microsoft Power Bi is easy to use. Even a user can use this application having basic knowledge.
  • It is very simple to handle.
  • It offers pre-built dashboards and reports
  • Provide real-time dashboard updates.
  • You can add, remove, restore visualizations.
  • Integrate your visualization with Python and R coding.
  • Save your report on both the cloud and local system.
  • Securely publish your reports.
  • Quickly retrieve or analyze your data.

Read: Power BI: How to Connect Most Recent File from a Folder

What are the drawbacks of Power Bi?

After advantages, now we will focus on drawbacks of the Power Bi. There are some disadvantages available in Microsoft Power Bi. We have to focus on that. These are:

  • Microsoft Power Bi does not provide any data cleansing solutions.
  • There is a limitation of data sharing.
  • Dashboards and reports only shared with users, who are from the same organizations.
  • Power Bi can’t handle the relationship between tables properly.
  • PowerBi won’t accept a record of more than 250MB.

You may like to read:


Microsoft Power Bi, a business intelligence tool has been widely used in a lot of organizations all over the world for building various types of visualizations using data from resources.

From this above article, we learnt:

  • What is BI
  • What is Microsoft Power Bi and its version?
  • What are the Power Platforms?
  • What are the tools are using in the Power Bi platform?
  • Where to download and how to install Power Bi Desktop in your local system?
  • What are the advantages and disadvantages of Microsoft Power Bi?
  • Competitors of the Power Bi