Design reports for the Power BI app

The Microsoft Power BI Windows Store app is a great way to share Excel workbooks on Office 365. You and your report readers can install and play with the Power BI app on any Windows 8, 8.1, or Windows RT device, including Surface RT and Surface Pro, whether touch-enabled or not. Read more about the Power BI for Windows app. Power BI mobile app home page

The Power BI app can display any Excel 2013 workbook that you save to Power BI for Office 365. It doesn’t display the entire workbook. Each Excel workbook is displayed as a report with a series of pages. Each page in the report is either a Power View sheet or an Excel item such as a PivotTable or a chart in the workbook.

You can make Excel workbooks that look great when viewed in the Power BI app. This article has tips to get you going.

The Power BI app displays Excel workbooks as reports. You can:

In this article

Pick the items or sheets you want to show in the Power BI app

You can choose exactly what will be shown in the Power BI app report. You can show specific items or specific sheets, but not a combination of both. For example, let’s say your workbook contains Excel items and Power View sheets. If you choose to show only some items in the workbook, then the Power View sheets won’t be displayed. If you choose to show only Power View sheets in the workbook, then the Excel items won’t be displayed.

  1. Click File > Info > Browser View Options.

On the Show tab, the default is Entire Workbook.

Excel Browser View Options box

  1. Pick either Sheets or Items in the Workbook:
    • Sheets: Check the boxes of the sheets you want to show.

 Note    Note: For the Power BI app, “sheets” mean specifically Power View sheets and not other Excel worksheets. Excel worksheets aren’t displayed as sheets in the Power BI app.

  • Items in the Workbook: Check the boxes of the items you want to show, such as PivotTables, PivotCharts, tables, charts, and named ranges.

 Tip    Consider creating two workbooks with the same data: one for the Excel items and one for the Power View sheets. That way, you can pick the Excel items you want to display in one workbook and the Power View sheets you want to display in the other.

What order are the pages in?

All the Excel items in the workbook come first, followed by the Power View pages. You can’t reorder any of them in the Power BI app.

  • The Excel items are in alphabetical order according to the names you gave them in the workbook. See Design Excel items for the Power BI app for naming tips.
  • The Power View pages appear in the Power BI app in the same order as they are in Excel.

Data sources

The Power BI app displays Excel workbooks stored on an Office 365 site. Workbooks can get data from these data sources:


  • Microsoft Azure SQL Database
  • SQL Server in Microsoft Azure Virtual Machine
  • OData feeds with basic or anonymous authentication
  • OData feeds from:
    • SharePoint Online lists
    • Microsoft Project Online with Project Pro for Office 365


  • SQL Server
  • Oracle

Data refresh

You can’t schedule automatic data refresh from the Power BI app, but you can refresh data manually. Also, every time you open a report in the Power BI app, the data is refreshed automatically. Refreshing updates the data in the report on the Power BI app, but not the data in the Excel workbook.

Workbook file size

Workbooks in SharePoint Online have a 10 MB size limit.

In Power BI for Office 365, workbooks can be as much as 250 MB. Read about large workbooks on Power BI sites with Power BI for Office 365

To check your Office 365 license status, contact your Office 365 tenant administrator.

More info

Design Excel items for the Power BI app

Design Power View sheets for the Power BI app

Power BI for Windows app help

Applies to:
Excel 2013, Power View in Excel 2013