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Using Power BI with SharePoint Online, Office 365

Organizations looking to maximize the impact of the data visualization features of MS Excel 2013 should think about leveraging team sites in SharePoint Online, Office 365, to provide users with a unique method of consuming this information.

An Office 365 enterprise subscription is required. The Power BI Sites app can be added to any Office 365, Enterprise subscription registered for Power BI.

With the Power BI Sites app, Any Excel Report (up to a maximum size of 250 MBs) can be viewed in any browser supported by SharePoint Online, without an Excel client. The first step is to use the app to transform a standard SharePoint Online site into a Power BI site. Once the Power BI site has been set up, any document library in SharePoint Online can be used to store Excel reports. The Power BI site “is just another, richer view of these reports”. So any effort to manage reports in the Power BI site, will take place in the document library serving as the repository for the report, as well.

Another unique feature of Power BI sites are Power View sheets. These web pages provide consumers with “the option to view those Power View sheets in HTML5, rather than in Silverlight.” Once the Power View sheets feature has been enabled, a wider range of devices (including Surface Pro tablet computers) powered by a diverse set of Internet Explorer browsers with be able to render Excel reports. Microsoft makes no guarantee as to compatibility with either Chrome, Firefox, or Safari browsers, but, presumably, this new feature will expose the content to consumers using iOS or Android powered devices to consumer the content.

Viewing Excel reports in a supported browser does not mean giving up controls like accessing file management features or the ability to edit a report. A “View Full Size Report” feature can be found in the lower left corner of a browser window.

Power BI sites also provide a thumbnail viewing feature for reports, which provides consumers with an option to simply glance at a report prior to actually opening it.

SharePoint-Videos offers an App for SharePoint Online for its award-winning help system for SharePoint, VisualSP. Organizations subscribing to an enterprise Office 365 plan can use our help system to add training content on Power BI, Power BI sites, Power View Sheets and Power Maps directly to the SharePoint Online computing experience for users. Please contact us to learn more.

Ira Michael Blonder

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