A first look at Power BI Email Subscriptions

After some sneak peeks and announcements in the past, the email subscriptions feature for Power BI report pages is finally available. As announced in the Power BI blog, it is really easy to create your first subscription.

Create a new subscription

There is one thing you have to create as a prerequisite for email subscriptions in Power BI: you need a Power BI report published to powerbi.com. When you open that report, the menu bar now contains a new icon “Subscribe”.

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  • The configuration dialog allows a user to create multiple subscriptions (1).
  • Individual subscriptions can be activated / deactivated and deleted (2).
  • Subscriptions are based on report pages (select the page you’ll want to be subscribed to)
  • The overview aboutyour current subscriptions can be reached by the link in the settings dialog (4) OR by using the settings gear in the top Power BI menu.

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Test the subscription mechanism

After you’ve configured a subscriptions all you have to do is to update your dataset to get an email from Power BI. Now the question arises how can I refresh a dataset?

The refresh dataset option is hidden in the Datasets section and can be initiated there.

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After some minutes you should have received an email in your inbox. It contains a screenshot/picture of the subscribed report page and a link to open the report in powerbi.com.

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Manage your subscriptions

There are two ways of managing your subscriptions:

  1. Directly at the Power BI report. If you click the “Subscribe” button, you’ll see the list of defined subscriptions. Disable, delete add or update any of the subscriptions here.
  2. The second option is located in the Power BI settings area.

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First Thoughts

At first sight, the email subscription mechanism looks really promising, BUT: there are some things that will be hopefully improved in future releases:

  • The current subscription mechanism only allows to subscribe to a specific report page. No combined mail for all the pages of a report (Workaround: create subscriptions for every single report page)
  • The recipient of email subscriptions cannot be changed  at the moment, which is clear as subscriptions can only be created for the currently logged-in user.
  • The subscription cycle is currently bound to data refresh and limited to maximum one mail per day. As I’ve read in the Power BI documentation an email is only sent if data have really changed. Which leads to the discussion if a schedule based subscription mechanism would be better in that way (for example: send me the report every Monday at 8am regardless of data changes).
  • Custom visuals in Power BI email subscriptions: According to the documentation, custom visuals are not supported – BUT: in my test scenario they worked well. I used the AttributeSlicer and the visual is displayed correctly in the preview picture in the mail.

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Happy testing and enjoy more emails in your inbox! Smile 

Wolfgang

Further Links

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2 Responses to A first look at Power BI Email Subscriptions

  1. Tjerk Swijnenburg says:
  2. Great blog post Wolfgang.

    I did read in the blog post from the Power BI team that in a future release they have already mentioned that they will provide the capability for to create a subscription for other users.

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