Paginated Report Visual and exporting data for printouts.

The story is very simple, but it is often needed. In this case, you have a Power BI report and your Sales managers needs reports, which can be used offline. In Germany we like Printouts 😊
So, I created a Power BI Reports which connects to a database and provides insights to each customer. But  this report is not designed for print out and the consumers want to analyze the data, and if needed, they want to generate a printout with some needed data.

When you build a Power BI which should be re-used with Paginated Reports, you should build explicit Measures, because with RS you cannot build implicit Measures. This report is published to the service, because with Paginated Reports you can connect to this dataset and so, you must not rebuild the model. Now I have created a Paginated Reports which connects to this data model which shown below.

Now I created the reports which are designed for printouts and saved them to the service.

Next, I used the Paginated Report visual inside of Power BI Desktop and embedded the Paginated Report with the Company Name property as the parameter. I also activated in the properties of this visual the Toolbar (needed for exporting) and the auto-apply of filters.

After publishing this Power BI Report again, it looks like this and your Sales managers can analyze the data and, export the needed information or print out the pages:

So, I think it is very useful to re-use your datasets, because your model only exists on time, and this makes the maintenance a little bit easier.

Process SQL Analysis Services Cubes via the Azure Data Factory

If you work with Analysis Services on Azure, it is another way to process a cube. On premises you use mostly the SQL Server Agent to do this, but this option is not given on Azure. There you can use Azure Automation, PowerShell, or a Data Factory (ADF). This post is dedicated to the ADF, because mostly you need to process a table, partition, or the whole database after you made a data intake.

First we need to grant permissions to the SSAS Cube from the ADF. So, we need to create a managed identity. To get the needed data, open the properties of the ADF at the Azure Portal.

With the Tenant and the ADF ID, we can build the credential-

Next, connect to the AS instance via the Management Studio and go the server administrators and add this user. Via the Azure portal it is not possible, but after that, you can view the result.

To check the result, if a refresh has worked, I have added a View to my data source and imported the data inside the cube.

You should format the column as a date type and format the column as a G, so you also get the time inside the output.

Okay, the infrastructure is ready! Now, we can add a new pipeline inside our ADF with a web activity.

This is the schema: https://<region><servername>/models/<modelname>/refreshes
For the fifth point add following URL for the authentication. https://*

The following XMLA code will initiate a full process

    „Type“: „Full“,

    „CommitMode“: „transactional“,

    „MaxParallelism“: 2,

    „RetryCount“: 2,

    „Objects“: []

After running the ADF pipeline you should get a full refresh of the cube:

How to make a Power BI report more useful for your users?

In the past I have seen so many reports which are not very handy for the users. The reports had a good data model, cool measures, good visualizations, but mostly it can only handle by the authors or product owners. The reason was mostly, that other users do not get help how to use the reports and/or visuals. So, here are some ideas how to provide some help to the report consumers:

1. An introduction page
Build up a page which provides some explanation about the report and the story. You can also build up s page like this for every chapter.

It is also very good to provide here some screenshots of every page with some explanations and some buttons which refers the users to the page. It is also a good idea to provide some links to your data catalog which explains your used data and KPI’s.

2. Use tooltips for providing help

If you have some visualizations who need an explanation, maybe you have a chart which have a hierarchy and a forecast. This can be very complex for a business user to use this visual, so it is good idea use a tooltip for this.

3. Use page help with bookmarks

You can implement bookmarks to display help for your whole page. To do this, make a screenshot of your page, put this image into Power Point or another tool to create images, descibe the visuals and put this picture back to a bookmark inside Power BI

So, this can be very helpful for you report users …

…. to be continued.