Author:  Marnel Catlett

Everything you need to know to get started with Paginated Reports.

Please note - All report examples are based on our Demo data.  Any similarities are purely coincidental.

Paginated reports


Step 1: What are paginated reports

These reports are called paginated because they're formatted to fit well on a printed page. One advantage is that they display all the data in a table, even if the table spans multiple pages. Paginated reports are sometimes called "pixel perfect" because report designers control the report page layout exactly.

Paginated reports are best for scenarios that require a highly formatted, pixel-perfect output optimized for printing or PDF generation. A profit and loss statement is a good example of the type of report you would probably want to see as a paginated report.  For more information, go to the Microsoft Support site. 

Step 2: Should I create a standard Power BI report, a Paginated Power BI report or use the Export to Excel functionality

  • If you need to interact with the data then you will have the best experience with a standard Power BI report and/or Dashboard.  Example:  I am a Sales Manager and I want to view the performance of my team and compare one period to another.
  • If you need a printed report or article (PDF document) that contains multiple pages of the data and there is no requirement to interact with it, then a paginated report is the best option.  Example:  I am giving my customer a list of all tickets associated with their projects.  This list can spread over multiple pages. **
  • If you need ad-hoc extracts of data the analyze in excel function provides this capability. Once extracted to Excel the data can be manipulated manually and printed as required.  Example:  I am doing a manual stock check so extract my stock list so that I can add stock counts and then once I have checked and confirmed the stock levels I can save and distribute the results either by email or hardcopy.

**The increased cost of the licensing to enable effective use of the paginated reports, including development and maintenance of these reports are well worth it when your reports stretch over multiple pages and have to be manipulated manually on a frequent basis.

Step 3: What do I need to use Paginated Reports

In order to view a paginated report in Power BI you will need a change to your Power BI license.

The licensing options to publish and access Paginated reports are now available via two Power BI licenses mechanisms.

  • Power BI Premium per User – every user that wishes to view a Paginated report must have a Power BI Premium Per User license. The cost of the Premium license is $20 (Pricing & Product Comparison | Microsoft Power BI), compared to the existing Pro license of $10 per month. You may be able to get a reduction on this through a Microsoft Partnership.
  • Premium Capacity – any level but starts at $5000/month (Designed for enterprises and the end user does not need any license).

For the Premium Per User license (Option 1), only users with this license will have access to these reports. If paginated reports are published in a premium capacity (Option 2) then the report/s will be available to anyone within the organisation.

These options give you flexibility with regards to your situation and the number of users who will be accessing these reports.

Step 4: Okay, I want Paginated Reports - now what?

  • You can create a paginated report directly from an existing report (You need to install the Power BI Report Builder on your desktop)
    • Using this option makes building the report easy as all the data sources are linked and new reports can be published straight into the relevant workspace.
  • You can start from scratch (only recommended for advanced users)
  • There are a lot of helpful videos, tutorials and instruction manuals available online to enable you to create and use paginated reports.

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