I Need Your Questions about Power BI and Paginated Reports

For a new series of posts to include tutorials and “how to” demonstrations for Power BI, SQL Server Reporting Services (SSRS) and Paginated Reports, I need your help to know what questions are most compelling and top of mind.

Please scroll to the Comments section at the bottom of this post and help me create a list with your questions and suggested topics.

What questions do you have and what do you need to learn how to do?

Make suggestions and cast your votes on others’ ideas for video posts, demos and tutorials you would like to see. I will add these to a list and work through as many as I can. The following are some rough topic areas and ideas to get started:

Power BI Solution Questions:

  • Power Query techniques
  • Data modeling techniques
  • DAX calculation techniques
  • Visualization best practices
  • How to design a specific report feature
  • Of the many choices or approaches to address a business need, which is a recommended practice?

Paginated Reports & SSRS Questions:

  • How do Paginated Reports work in the Power BI cloud service?
  • How are Paginated Reports and SSRS licensed from Microsoft?
  • When should I use Power BI vs SSRS or Paginated Reports?
  • Navigating between different report types

27 thoughts on “I Need Your Questions about Power BI and Paginated Reports

  1. Can I create PowerBI Paginated Reports in Visual Studio? OR Is there a way to version control reports created in PowerBI Report Builder? I am confused by Microsoft’s lack of focus on deployment pipeline on tools intended to make business decisions.

    • Simple answer is yes, however there are some new connection types supported only by Power BI Report Builder. The RDL file formats should be compatible. I agree with you about the gap in the DevOps & application lifecycle process. Opinions aside, the reality is that it is not likely to change. Visual Studio and BI Teams are separate product teams at Microsoft and have different goals and release cycles.
      You can manually add files to an Azure DevOps repo and use PowerShell to manage report deployment.

  2. My power bi report uses row level security based on the user’s id. Regions have multiple territories. If you are a regional manager you can see sales for your entire region. If you are a sales rep, you can only see sales in your territory. My paginated report is embedded in my power bi report. I need to pass the user ID to my paginate report and print the sales reports for the territories within my region if I am a regional manager or only print sales for my territory if I am a sales rep. I know I need to use url parameters, but can’t figure out how to do it. thanks!!

    • Hi Rita, I’m so sorry for the late reply. When you say that your Paginated report is embedded in the Power BI report, I’m not sure what you mean by that as there is no native embedding capability between these report types. If you are using a URL to pass the territory ID as a parameter, this should work.
      For the larger report to be secure, you should have RLS implemented in the source for that report so users can’t hack the parameters.

    • Nancy, extra pages are typically the result of pages that are too wide and/or when there is extra space at the bottom of the last page. Make sure that the width of the report body + the left and right margins are within the report page width. Also make sure that there is no extra white space after the last item or data region on the report. For the report width, body width and margins; check the properties of both the Report and the Body. I discuss pagination in detail in my book, Professional SQL Server 2016 Reporting Services.

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  5. Hi Paul I had a doubt when we open PowerBI Paginated reports in PowerBI it takes default value of the filters and runs the report if i dont want the report to run with default values without user pressing the view report then what is the option to do that… I will be grateful if you help me with this

  6. Hi Paul, thank you for this.
    here is my question : how can i use my ssrs report with a SSO based connection on my gateway (sql server type) ? It does not seems to work.

    Regards
    Thomas

  7. Hi Paul,
    Thank you for taking our questions. Here’s one that I’ve been curious about:

    I have a background in software development, so I’m used to using plain text files (such as .js files), and using Git for version control. In particular, I like using “Git diff” to see the difference between two versions of a file. The problem is pbix files are binary, so git diff doesn’t work. Is there any way to see the difference between two files or track changes?

    Thank you,
    Grant

  8. Hi Paul,
    Thank you for taking questions! I have one: I’m working with a team to develop a powerBI project. I have a background in software development, so I’m used to plain text files and Git. In particular, running “Git Diff” is nice because you can see the difference between versions. Is there something similar in PowerBI and .pbix binaries?
    Thank you!
    Grant

    • Grant, sorry to take so long to get back to you. The answer is Yes, there is a differencing tool for Power BI data models called the ALM Toolkit, which is now integrated with Power BI Desktop with the July update in the External Tools ribbon. See my recent post about this.

  9. Hi Paul,

    Thank you for opening for questions! I’m curious if there is a good way to track changes and track changes. I am a software developer, so I’m used to working with plain text files and using Git, but Git doesn’t work well with binary files like pbix files because it’s hard to run “Git diff” on binaries. Is there a way to do this in PowerBI?

  10. Hi Paul – Another topic which has been covered to a degree by other SME’S is using report URL and setting it to pass various values – I’ve again got this working for some values but the one I am struggling with is a way to control the parameter panel setting (rdl:parameterPanelState) – There is a setting referenced in microsoft support docs but I cant see to get this to work – Would be great to see this working and maybe other bits on Parameter URL tricks…

    Here is a snippet of the doco…https://docs.microsoft.com/en-us/power-bi/paginated-reports/report-builder-url-parameters)

    “Parameter panel state Specifies whether the the parameter panel is closed or open when the report loads, or is hidden altogether.

    rdl:parameterPanelState

    ‘collapsed’: load the report with parameter panel closed. The parameter button is enabled so that users can click the button to expand;
    ‘hidden’: load the report with parameter panel closed and the parameter button disabled;
    ‘expanded’ (default): load the report with parameter panel open and the parameter button enabled;”

  11. Hi Paul – I’ve successfully published a Power BI Paginated Report to Web Services where the data source used is a Power BI Dataset – This is working fine but what I find is I get white space showing in the parameter section (which I think is because I have a number of hidden parameters set up creating extra lines for hidden parameter – is this something you have come across and if so is there a fix – also I dont know how to control the size of the parameters – it all looks fine in the Report Design Tool but publishing the report seems to shrink them – any tips here I think would be great.

  12. Paul

    This seems like an excellent idea!

    We are trying to use PowerShell and the Power BI API to import RDL files from SSRS into Power BI but we have an on-premises version of Power BI Server.

    There are plenty of examples around but none of them seem to be tailored to the on-premises version!

    Ganners

  13. Is it possible to throw more light on how query parameters are set up in power bi file and how they get passed over to paginated report parameters to get just the report we need on the paginated side? There is a guy in a cube video for a single parameter but it does not really go well when trying to pass multiple parameters from power bi file to an associated paginated report file. Thank you in advance.

  14. Hi,

    Would like to know any way to schedule a refresh for data from Web pages without setting up a gateway connection.

  15. I’d like to know why anyone would want paginated reports. If our dear report reader needs to turn pages to find information, we are not doing our job. (Do you ever go to the second page on Google? And when it happens, isn’t it disappointing?)

  16. Hi Paul,

    I’m exeperienced using Qlikview and I’m in the process of learning PowerBI.
    One of the ways I wanted to learn was to try and make some graphs on the Covid-19 virus. One of the graphs I made in Qlikview shows the number of Covid-19 fatalities by country by day (where day 1 is 10 deaths).
    It also has two trend lines. Showing the trajectory of fatalities if the figures double every two and three days.

    I think this is quite a useful measure as you can see most countires have slowed the fataility rate. I wonder if this is somethig, it’s posisble to do in PowerBI ? (I’ve been struggling with this)

    An screen shot of the graph is here:
    https://ibb.co/DMLtqYh

  17. Consider discussing Error handling, and how to perform trouble shooting examples of unexpected errors. For example: connection to a Web site to download a table, and merging with a SQL Server table.

  18. Hi Paul, thank you very much for this initiative.
    I suggest trainings about Power query techniques especially on how to create functions and how to build a query with other {Let … In} inside it.

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