I have been dealing with Power BI for several months now and this term (Paginated Reports) has crossed my eyes multiple times. So, finally, I thought to take a stab on this today and it made me amazed by various facts that I discovered. Most importantly, it answered the question that I had in my thoughts from years like Why Microsoft has wiped out SSRS (SQL Server Reporting Services) completely even though I was not a big fan of working with it. So, let’s see together what I learnt about Power BI Paginated Reports –
Also known as pixel-perfect reports because you have complete control of how the report renders.
It is descendant of SSRS…Yes, it’s not something completely new and yes, SSRS is not all dead.
Even Microsoft officially says in its documentation that if you are looking for some information on paginated reports and you don’t find it, search the Internet for same thing about SSRS and you will find it. All of the material you find about SSRS on Microsoft’s official documentation, applies to Power BI Paginated Reports.
These are best suited for the scenarios where you need to deal with say headers and footers, some sort of invoices, purchase orders, reports which needs to be printed etc. The snapshot below will give you the feel of both points that it looks like SSRS report and the purpose it can be used for –
Paginated Reports are created with Power BI Report Builder, not with Power BI Desktop.
Giving back some stress on SSRS, if you have worked on this in the past like me and recall that SSRS has been purely a reporting tool i.e. it just serves the presentation purpose. You can’t import data and transform it just like you do in Power BI Desktop. Similarly, paginated reports also works in the same way; when you connect to a data source and creates a dataset, data still remains at the source and your report queries it in real time.
So, as far as development is concerned, this is all similar to SSRS reports with the exception that you use Report Builder tool to create it.
For deployment, since this is now part of Power BI so these are deployed to Power BI service. You simply need to “Save As” the report on Power BI service –
Having said that if you are historically a SSRS report designer/developer, your skills still has some value.
Before we conclude this post, would like to mention that this is a Power BI Premium feature. You may relate it to SSRS in a way that you used to deploy your reports on SSRS report server so similarly you need to deploy paginated reports to some dedicated capacity offered by Power BI Premium.