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Reports in Microsoft Power BI are rarely static. Rather, they update regularly as others update the underlying data. You can review the report online whenever you like, but there’s an easier way to see the latest up-to-date data: Set up a subscription. For instance, you might want to see yesterday’s sales report first thing every morning. After subscribing, you can view that report in an email with your first cup of coffee.

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In this tutorial, I’ll show you how to subscribe to a report in Power BI. This will be of interest to report designers and end consumers. I’m using Microsoft Power BI on a Windows 10 64-bit system. You can subscribe to any published report that you can access.

How to subscribe to a report in Power BI

You’ll usually receive a link from the designer after they publish a report that’s important to you. Using the link, you can check the report as often as you like. However, subscribing to the report might be a good choice if you want to review up-to-date reports regularly.

If you decide to subscribe to a report, do the following:

1. View the published report online or using Power BI Service.

2. In the top menu, look for Subscribe. If you don’t see it, click the three-dot icon (Figure A).

Figure A

Click Subscribe in the published report.
Click Subscribe in the published report.

3. In the resulting dialog, click Add New Subscription. Power BI should recognize you and populate the correct email address. You can add other people within your organization at this time.

4. Page 1 is the default subscription name. You can change this to a more meaningful name, which will be helpful if you manage multiple subscriptions. Then, enter subject text (Figure B).

Figure B

Enter a subject for the email.
Enter a subject for the email.

5. Enter a message if necessary. When subscribing for only yourself, this probably won’t be necessary.

6. Browse down until you find the Frequency control, which defaults to Daily. However, you can change this setting.

7. Adjust the time setting. In this case, you want to see the updated report at 8:00AM every morning (Figure C).

Figure C

Specify how often you want to receive the report. 
Specify how often you want to receive the report.

8. The Start Date will default to the current date, but you can change it. You can also set an end date if appropriate.

9. The last three options (Figure D) determine what elements the email contains and whether you can access the actual report within Power BI. When sending the report to others, unchecking the first two options might be a good idea.

Figure D

Determine how recipients can view and/or access the actual report.
Determine how recipients can view and/or access the actual report.

10. Click Save and Close.

At this point, you’re set. However, there are a few things that might require a bit of clarification:

  • In step #6, you chose Daily. This setting determines how often you receive a copy of the report in your Inbox. The first option is “After Data Refresh (Once Daily).” If you choose this option, Power BI will send you a copy of the report when it updates, rather than on a specific day at a specific time. However, it will send the report only once a day, after its first update, even if the report updates later in the same day.
  • To test the subscription, click Run Now at the top (Figure B). Doing so allows you to run the subscription at once so you can test the settings.
  • The email will contain a preview and/or links to the published report (Figure E). The options you chose in step #9 will determine access for the recipient.

Figure E

The email will contain ways to view the report.
The email will contain ways to view the report.
  • Each report can have multiple subscriptions.
  • To manage subscriptions, return to the published report, click Subscriptions and at the bottom of the first dialog, click the Manage All Subscriptions Link. Doing so will display all of the subscriptions (Figure F), which you can then update as needed.

Figure F

You can modify subscriptions.
You can modify subscriptions.

Power BI subscriptions are a great way to receive updated reports regularly or to send those updated reports to others who need them. End consumers can set subscriptions for themselves. End users can’t manage the subscriptions of other end consumers, but you, as the report designer, can manage them all.