What is the difference between dashboard and report in Power BI?

I have written about Power BI Desktop and the high-level walkthrough in my previous articles. Both articles I mentioned two keywords, dashboard and reports quite often. In this article, I would like to share about the difference between the dashboard and report in the Power BI Desktop. In general, a dashboard consists of a visual that displays the most crucial information needed to achieve objectives, consolidated and arranged in a single screen. We can use a dashboard to monitor at a glance. A report, on the other hand, is any information that can be at any visuals, such as a table, chart, and etc.

Power BI dashboard is one placeholder

Dashboard displays the most important decision making facts to run a business. Power BI dashboard is a high level view of some key reports, such as Key Performance Index (KPI). It uses to provide day to day information consolidated from the detailed reports. Below is one of the example of a Power BI dashboard.

A Power BI dashboard is a single page, often called a canvas, that tells a story through visualizations. The visualizations you see on the dashboard are called tiles. The visualizations on a dashboard originate from reports and each report is based on a dataset. Readers can view related reports for the details.

Dashboards are a feature of the Power BI service only. They’re not available in Power BI Desktop.

Features of a Power BI Dashboard

  • Automatic refresh.
  • Sharing to users.
  • Power Q&A.
  • Real-time monitoring.
  • Send alerts.

Next, let us move on to the Power BI Report.

Power BI Report

Power BI reports are more detailed data presented in many formats like charts, graphs, tabular, etc. You can have more than 1 page for reports, as shown in the picture above. The data in the report can be used to perform analysis. For example, by using a standard filter function called slicer, the users slice the data according to the filtering criteria. It allows the user to drill down through selecting particular data, and then the report interactively changes. Hovering and highlighting data in Power BI reports give the same interactive changes experience to the user.

Features of Power BI Reports

  • Slicers.
  • Multi-pages.
  • Interactivity.
  • Drill down to explore data.
  • Publish to the Website.

Comparison between the dashboard and report

The Educba website provides a good visual comparison between the Power BI Dashboard and Report. You can refer to the link here.

Key Differences Between Power BI Dashboard vs Report

Below are the important differences:

  • Different data sources are used by power BI dashboard in each dashboard consists of maps, graphs, etc. Only one dataset can be used as a source for Power BI reports.
  • Power BI dashboard capabilities of pinning existing visualization are only from the current dashboard to other dashboards, called as dashboard navigation. The Power BI reports can pin or navigate to any reports or dashboards.
  • Email subscription for power BI dashboard is not available. Reports can be published on the web and subscribed through email.
  • Power BI dashboards have alerting feature where attention needed condition arise dashboards raise an alert, but in reports, we cannot have this feature.
  • Power BI dashboards cannot slice and dice, but reports have many ways to filter and slice.
  • Natural language queries available only available from the dashboard, but for reports, it’s not possible.
  • Power BI visualization cannot be changed, but reports visualization can be changed and saved, but it all depends on user role and permissions involved to access dashboards and reports.
  • Dashboards have the same features of reports, but dashboards can be exported to limited formats, so dashboards are used to visualize the important data rather than analyze data. Data can be exported for the reports only, any formats like excels tabular formats.
  • Power BI dashboards can be set as featured or as favourites but cannot create a featured power BI reports.
  • Power BI reports can be drilled down to different levels of data sets on which reports are built.


At a glance, a dashboard and a report serve different purposes, and they have its own unique features. For good data visualization, you may want to include both dashboard and reports because they complement each other.


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