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Power BI Interactive Analytics/Reports vs Paginated Reports

September 7, 2022
Aimee Krummenacher
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There are two different types of reports that can be created and published in the Power BI environment: Power BI Reports and Paginated Reports. The differences between these two types of reports are described below.


Typical Power BI Reports are built with the Power BI Desktop App and are designed to be more graphical and analytical in nature. They are designed to be interactive, so they consist of a series of dashboards and screens that are best viewed online. These reports may contain anything from tables or matrices of data to complex graphs, charts, and maps, which are called Visualizations. You can also set up hierarchies and data models that enable you to drill into or drill through to more detailed data. You can interact with the data to gain insights into trends and progressions over time.

This type of report is best used for summarizing and analyzing data and is intended to be used to provide insights into the data that will help you make informed business decisions. Instead of just looking into what happened at a given point in time, the business analytics features of Power BI enable you to dig into why something happened.

Some good examples of Power BI Reports are an Executive Dashboard showing progress against key performance indicators or key metrics, territory maps showing sales against goals for each region, or a breakdown of equipment failures by a component code.


At times you have reporting needs for more traditional reports that provide pages and pages of data. If this is the case, you can use the Power BI Report Builder application to create Paginated Reports. This is a completely different tool than the Power BI Desktop App. Report Builder could be thought of as the Power Platform version of SQL Server Reporting Services (SSRS).

The Report Builder app is more like a traditional report builder application that will accept parameters and group data, wrapping results over multiple pages instead of limiting the size of a table to a single screen. This type of report is best used for sharing large amounts of data, but it is only a snapshot of what happened at a specific point in time. To analyze the data and drill into why something has happened or see trends over time, Power BI report visualizations are a better tool.

Some good examples of Paginated Reports are Customer Invoices or Statements that need to be sent to customers on a regular basis or sales reports that list all the details of sales occurring over a set period.


Here is a comparison of some key characteristics of Power BI Reports and how they differ from Paginated Reports:


Please contact us to explore how SDP can leverage these reports to create a competitive edge for your business.


Aimee Krummenacher is a Project Manager/Business Analyst at Software Design Partners.