Information Technology Services
Information Technology Services

Power BI FAQ

ITS has gathered a listing of frequently asked questions related to Power BI.
To get started with Power BI service, please visit the Power BI service page.
If you have a question that is not found on the list, please fill out the Online Support Form or call us at 613-533-6666.

Q. What is Power BI?

Power BI is a collection of software services, apps, and connectors that work together to turn your unrelated sources of data into coherent, visually immersive, and interactive insights. Whether your data is a simple Excel spreadsheet, or a collection of data from different data sources.

Q. What is the Microsoft Power BI service?

The Power BI service is a cloud-based business analytics service that enables anyone to visualize and analyze data with greater speed, efficiency, and understanding. It connects users to a broad range of cloud-based and on-premises data through easy-to-use dashboards, interactive reports, and compelling visualizations that bring data to life. To begin using the Power BI service, sign in to Office 365 at with your Queen's NetID and select the Power BI icon OR go directly to

Q. What is a Power BI App?

An app is a Power BI content type that combines related dashboards and reports, all in one place.

Q. How do I install Power BI Desktop?

Power BI Desktop application for Windows is free software from Microsoft. To install, visit Microsoft's download page. Click on the Download Free link, this will open a Microsoft Store window.
Screenshot of Power BI download screen

You will receive a prompt to Sign-In to your Microsoft Account enabling installation on other devices. Select “No thanks” to proceed with the download from the store. Once downloaded you will see the following:
Screenshot of Power BI install screen

Q. How do I login to Power BI Desktop?

Once the application has been downloaded and installed, launch the application. You will be asked for your user information - you will access the service through your Queen’s NetID account. Select the "Already have a Power BI account" hyperlink and sign-in with your NetID and password.
Screenshot of Power BI Desktop sign in screen

Power BI Desktop will then be opened locally on your computer and you may begin using it for your analysis and reporting.

Q. How do I use Power BI on my Mac?

Access to Power BI authoring is provided through the Power BI Service web portal. Sign on with your Queen’s NetID to . See the Getting Started tutorial.

Q. Where can I learn more about Power BI?

The Getting Started articles and tutorials from Microsoft are a good place to start to understand the basic capabilities of Power BI. You will find them available as links from the Power BI Desktop startup screen:
Screenshot of Power BI Desktop startup screen

If you do not see this screen on launching Power BI Desktop, this option and more good resources are available in Power BI Desktop > Help. Documentation and Guided Learning are the starting points.
Screenshot of Power BI Desktop help tab

Q. How to connect to Data?

In Power BI Desktop, from the Home ribbon, select Get Data > More

Q. Can I transform data in Power BI Desktop?

In Power BI Desktop, you can clean and transform data using the built-in Power Query Editor. Select Edit Queries > Edit Queries from the Home ribbon.

Q. How can I create visuals?

You can drag fields onto the report canvas to create visuals. A visual is a graphic representation of the data in your model. There are many different types of visuals to choose from in Power BI Desktop.

Q. What is Power BI report?

A Power BI report is a multi-perspective view into a dataset, with visuals that represent different findings and insights from that dataset. A report can have a single visual or pages full of visuals.

Q. How can I share my report from Power BI desktop?

With Power BI PRO, you can publish reports to the Power BI service within collaborative workspaces, and make it available to anyone in your organization who has a Power BI license. Select Publish from the Home ribbon.   Complete the Power BI PRO inquiry form to determine if you can benefit from Power BI PRO.

Q. What is a Power BI dashboard?

A Power BI dashboard is a single page, often called a canvas, that uses visualizations to tell a story. Because it is limited to one page, a well-designed dashboard contains only the most-important elements of that story.

Last Updated: July 28, 2020