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  • Roy Mizrahi

POWER BI – PUBLISH TO WEB

There are several different ways of sharing content using Power BI. Most of the methods require the consumers to have paid Power BI subscriptions - either Power BI Pro or under Power BI Premium capacity. Looking for a FREE way to share your reports? you better read this post carefully!


A FREE way to share Power BI content is using Publish to Web method. Moreover, using the Publish to Web method of sharing content in Power BI allows you to share Power BI content with consumers who don’t have a Power BI account at all.


As you can guess, there are some disadvantages using this methodology, and we will cover them all in this post. This post will provide you all the details you need about Publish to Web feature of Power BI. The post will firstly cover the advantages of using the Publish to Web method, as well as detailed explanation of using the feature, but make sure you read it all to learn the risks before using the Publish to Web method.



When Should You Use Publish to Web Method?


Let's suppose you have published a Power BI report into Power BI Service, and you want to share it with others. You have no limitations regarding the users of the report, regarding the information in the report, and you want to share it with the wide public. You want to allow the public the ability to use the report, read it, and interact with all the features you have created. You don’t want the users to be able to edit the report. No question at all – use Publish to Web.



What is Public to Web Method?


Publish to Web is actually creating an embedded code for Power BI report published into Power BI Service. You then can use the code in a web page. By doing that, you provide the public read access to your report. The wide public will be able to use the report as any other user – interact with it, slice, click the different visuals and see all the information the report provide. The users will not be able to edit the report, but all other features are accessible for any user.



Step by Step Publish to Web


1. Publish a Power BI report into Power BI Service.

2. Open the report in Power BI Service.

3. Click on "File" menu option – see below.

4. Choose "Publish to Web" – see below.



5. A message box will pop up and alert that you are going to create an embed code that you can include on a public website. The message highlight that you may use Publish to Web method on a publicly website, and not internally. One more thing to mention, and I will elaborate more later in the post, is that the report published remain synchronized with the source report published in Power BI Service.



6. Click on "Create embed code".

7. Another message box will pop up to warn you that you have to check confidentiality. Once published – anyone on the internet can access the report and of course the data it contains. It is a reminder to recheck that you don’t publish confidential or proprietary information or an individual personal data.



8. Click on "Publish".

9. Success! Next, you will get the embed code including a link to share via email. You also have the ability to play with the size of the screen for the embed code received.



As mentioned, for using the report and all the features it contains, users don't need to be signed in to Power BI Service. Actually, they don't even need to have a Power BI account. Moreover, you can share reports with users who don't even know what Power BI is (if there are any…). One more feature of this method is that you can use the embed code and add it to your HTML page. I used this feature in MRBI Website. Feel free to play with the report and realize that the report is fully interactive.

Here is a report shared using the Publish to Web method - https://www.mrbi.biz/live-dashboard



Updating the Report


Updating the report is easy, as the embed code (and the link) are synchronized with the report itself, hence changes made in the report, will be reflected in the embed code. The embed code is just a reference of the original report published in Power BI Service. The report shown in the embed is exactly the same report that is published in the web. Moreover, if you schedule a data refresh, the report published using the Publish to Web method, will always be updated and provide the updated data to users.



Delete the Report from the web


Deleting the report published is even easier than publishing it.

1. Go to Power BI Service.

2. Click on Setting.



3. Click on Manage Embed Codes.



4. You will then see the list of reports that have embed codes. Click the 3 dots on the right hand side of the report you want to delete.



5. Click "Delete".



Once you delete the embed code, no-one would be able to access this report from public web.

Trying click the link or the embed code will provide the message below:


Disadvantages


As mentioned, there are few disadvantages using the Publish to Web method for sharing Power BI content. Most of the disadvantages are related to security. You have to take these points into consideration as you think of a way to publish your Power BI content.

Considering using Publish to Web?

Remember:


1. Security Security Security

Sharing the Power BI Content using Publish to Web method, means you share the content with everyone. Whether you share the content via email, or through the web, it is open to everyone. Anyone with the link or embed code can interact with the report.


2. Share Share Share

Whoever got the link or the embed code, can share it with anyone. As you can see in the report above, on the bottom right hand, you can find a share button. Users can share the report easily using social media or sending the link.



3. The report is FULLY published

All the pages of the report are visible for users, while using the Publish to Web method to share Power BI content. You can't choose the pages you want to share and those you want to hide.


When You Should NOT Use Publish to Web?


Publish to Web is recommended to be used for sharing public data with no confidential information or private information. You should not use Publish to Web method in the cases below:

1. Publishing reports with confidential data of business.

2. Sharing Dashboard – you can not share dashboards using Publish to Web method.

3. Publishing reports with RLS (Row Leve Security). The reports published to Web provide access for users regarding all the data included in the reports, and no RLS are available.

4. Provide Edit access – you can not provide edit access to reports shared using Publish to Web method.

5. Sharing with specific groups – you cannot define groups and share reports with them only.



Summary


As described above, sharing Power BI content for FREE is available using Publish to Web method. There are few more advantages of using this method for sharing Power BI content, such as the ease of use, synchronization between the report shared and the original report, no need for a Power BI account to interact with the report and the ability to embed it to your website or blog easily. However, the Publish to Web method have no security options at all. As you publish a report using this method, the report is open for anyone with the link to it.

To summary, Publish to Web method is recommended to share public reports with no confidentiality nor private information. It I not recommended for confidential or sensitive data.


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