Using Power BI for Free

Power BI is Microsoft’s Data Analyzing and Visualizing tool. It is licensed under Office 365 subscription, which means anyone with an O365 account can use its basic feature. But for those who do not have a subscription, and want to learn this amazing tool and still work on it, there is still an option.

Power BI has a desktop application called Power BI Desktop. The desktop application can be downloaded here.

However, Power BI Desktop will not provide the whole range of services that a subscribed user can have.

What Can Be Done?

  • Connect to all data sources.
  • Manipulate the local set of data.
  • Define Relationships in the local dataset.
  • Create interactive reports on a Page.
  • Manually update dataset.
  • If the data source of the report is not local, the .pbix file can be shared in order for people to see the reports . 

What Cannot be done?

  • Publish the report online.
  • Create a dashboard.
  • Share the report with other users.
  • Use Power BI Gateway to periodically update dataset.
  • Embed the dashboard in other applications.
  • Save the report in PDF format.

For a beginner starting to learn Power BI or a single user who does not need to share the visualized reports, downloading Power BI desktop and starting to work with it is the best option.