Power BI Dashboard vs Reports – A Vivid And In-Depth Comparison


August 20, 2020


December 8th, 2022

For 13 consecutive years, Gartner has recognized Microsoft as a Magic Quadrant Leader in analytics and business intelligence platforms

Source: microsoft.com

Words seem inadequate to express how effectively the tech giant Microsoft has contributed to the technological wave in the world. One of its highly popular wings is its business intelligence chunk of tools and technologies, of which Power BI is a huge contributor. Business segments, worldwide, leverage Power BI as one of the prime cloud-based business analytics services.

Considered a fast, efficient, and smart BI tool, the two main arms of Power BI are its reporting types – Dashboards and Reports. These terminologies sound similar but have their strong features to showcase, which is why both are important in the BI world.


Before we go into details of reports and dashboards of Power BI and their comparison, let us understand this innovative technology.

Microsoft Power BI- The Name Says It All

Power BI is a business analytics service by Microsoft. It aims to provide interactive visualizations and business intelligence capabilities with an interface simple enough for end-users to create their own reports and dashboards. – Wikipedia

Power BI is a robust BI tool that facilitates an accurate and efficient connection with disparate sources of data, with ease and offers detailed analytics, on the go, as you like it.

Power BI

  • Is a collaborative data visualization tool that makes it effortless for data sharing in business segments and enterprises
  • Garners precious perceptions to make swift and knowledgeable choices
  • Converts raw and unrefined data into intuitive and remarkable visuals for executives to connect and realize the industry well
  • Offers access to personalized reports and collaborating dashboards, giving a comprehensive 360-degree view of the business

Interesting Read: Microsoft Power BI In 10 Minutes– What, Why, Who, How Justified [Quick Guide]

Key Features Of Power BI Include:
  • Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning compatibility
  • Cortana integration
  • Hybrid deployment support
  • Common data model support
  • Swift perceptions
  • Self-service data preparation,
  • Modeling view,
  • APIs for integration and customization

As we move on, let us understand the two main reporting types of Power BI – Power BI Dashboards and Power BI Reports:

Understanding Power BI Dashboards

In Power BI, a dashboard is a compilation of tiles. These tiles consist of visualizations (tables, matrix, charts, etc.) from reports or workbooks, or they can be more static tiles with images, text, or URLs.

These data visualization dashboards are customizable to showcase precise details, metrics, and KPIs. Being dynamic in nature, data is shown in real-time and updates are regular. At a certain point of time, dashboards were meant to target the top management and senior officials, but with the invent of Self-Service BI, every user now has access to viewing the dashboards, as per their needs.

What Do Power BI Dashboards Offer?
  • A single placeholder, top-level view of major KPIs of single or multiple reports
  • A regular view of KPIs, offering further navigation to detailed reports
  • Visualizations can be pinned to from an on-premises SSRS report to a dashboard, emphasizing data on a page or canvas
  • Contains the most important basics of the story
  • Live streaming of information

Here is a sample Power BI Dashboard:

Image Source: microsoft.com
Key Features Of Power BI Dashboard:
  • Featured dashboard showcases as a landing page
  • Combination of data from various datasets into a unified page
  • Can easily alter and customize size and order of tiles, with new features like video, image, text, web
  • Data alerts on tiles of the dashboard, to show if certain information goes beyond limits
  • Related Insights for finding out different patterns in the bulk of data
  • Power Q&A
  • Can be kept open for a long time, automatic refreshes
  • Sharing & Real-time Monitoring

Understanding Power BI Reports

As it typically suggests, a Power BI report is a merger of different visual components like texts, values, charts, etc. on a page, with relevance to each other. It showcases underlying dataset tables and fields. With the help of slicers, data can be sliced/diced with complete communication with the user. Power BI Desktop and Service is most often, chosen for building reports since it has the most recent and updated features.

What Do Power BI Reports Offer?
  • A detailed view of all inter-related components
  • Extensive and complex information laid out in a needed format
  • Multi-page canvas with comprehensive conclusions and insights
  • Seamless integration and pinning up with dashboards
  • Access to matrices, drill through and bookmarks – a novel form of reporting

Here is a sample Power BI Report:

Image Source: microsoft.com
Key Features Of Power BI Reports:
  • Multi-page support, navigating between pages through the pane available at the bottom
  • Slicing and dicing data in reports with the help of relevant slicers
  • Interactivity through relevant elements in the chart
  • Publishing reports to the web or embedding them as web pages
  • Showing and exploring data to the minutest details by drilling down to that base
  • Drill up and down facility, to navigate to data in different hierarchies

Interesting Read: Paginated Reports In Power BI – All You Need To Know

Power BI Dashboard vs Reports: A Detailed Comparison

 Parameters Power BI Dashboards Power BI Reports
Description A high-level view of organizational information, which further navigates to detailed reports A detailed view of information, specifically catering to limited filter information
Pinning Can pin accessible visualizations only from current dashboards to other dashboards Can pin visualizations to any of your dashboards. Also, can pin entire report pages too.
Utilization View KPIs and business perceptions for better decision making, mainly by top management Detailed analysis by analysts or sales teams to decide further action or search for certain information
Page Layout Power BI dashboards showcase all important information on a consolidated level on a single page Power BI reports showcase data in a detailed format, spanning across multiple pages if needed
Data Sources Dashboards refer to various data sources for a single unit of display Reports refer to a single dataset while showing information
Dataset Tables and Fields Cannot view detailed data of tables and fields Can view detailed information of different fields
Customizing Visuals Move and arrange, add links, resize, rename, view full screen, etc. Download, publish, embed, export, filter and analyze, etc.
Alerts Dashboards can transmit alerts if certain conditions are met / not met Reports do not have the facility to throw alerts
Number of Pages Dashboards usually represent a single page layout with maximum information Reports can be of multiple pages showing detailed information
Slice / Filter Functionality Slicing or filtering a dashboard is not feasible Slicing, filtering reports can be done with ease
Featured version A dashboard can be represented as a featured one A report cannot be shown as a featured version
Desktop Version Dashboards are not available for the desktop version Reports can be designed through a desktop
Subscription through Email Dashboards cannot be shared through emails Reports can be shared through emails
Export Facility Dashboards can export only their data, not their visualization Reports can export complete data in desired formats

Interesting Read: Power BI vs. Excel Comparison. It’s Time To Shift Your Reporting

As We Wrap Up, To Each Its Own

In the vast world of Microsoft BI tools and technologies, Power BI has a standing of its own. Though both terminologies – Dashboards, and Reports sound similar, we saw their own significance and how each one holds its own importance in the world of BI and analytics.

We can say both are strong arms of Power BI consulting services and are equally needed by BI enthusiasts. The choice between the two totally depends upon what the user wants to see visually, to each its own!

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