How to Export from Power BI to Excel - An Overview of Methods

Whenever we talk about data tools we always joke about the time-to-Excel. It stands for the amount of time a user will be in the tool before they choose to export to a more familiar software like Excel to customize the data exactly the way they want. This happens more often than many would like to admit, and it’s hardly something to be shy about. If you’re wondering how to export from Power BI to Excel we’ve got a handy chart for you to compare the available methods. Below, I explain how to get from different parts of the Power BI ecosystem back to Excel when preferred.

Power BI, as a tool, is primarily meant for data exploration and analysis within the tool – that is, Power BI Desktop, the Power BI Service (powerbi.com), or other parts of the Power BI ecosystem. Exporting for further analysis is not the primary goal of the platform.

Luckily for those who would much rather work with the familiar worksheet view, there are ways to manipulate data from Power BI in Excel. I’ve listed them below in order from the easiest and most complete to the most difficult and least complete.

Exporting from Power BI to Excel

Method Requirements Output Format Row Limit Other Limitations Premium/
Embedded
Pro
Connect to Data Mart/Warehouse Directly
(No Power BI)
View Access to Data Mart/Warehouse Any (as allowed by tool) None None No No
Export from Paginated Reports (Desktop) Paginated Report Builder, View Access to Data Source or Build Permission to Shared PBI Dataset CSV, Excel, Word, PowerPoint, PDF, XML, MHTML None None No No
Export using DAX Studio View Access to Data Mart/Warehouse CSV, SQL Server None Local Hardware No No
Connect to Data Mart/Warehouse with Excel Power Query View Access to Data Mart/Warehouse Excel Excel – 1,048,576 None* No No
Analyze in Excel from Power BI Service View Access to Workspace or App Excel Excel – 1,048,576 None No Maybe*
Export from Paginated Reports (Published to Service) View Access to Workspace or App CSV, Excel, Word, PowerPoint, PDF, XML, MHTML None Unable to change table structure from how report was built Yes Maybe*
Copy from Power BI Desktop Data View (Table View) to Excel Power BI Desktop, View Access to Data Source or Build Permission to Share PBI Dataset Excel Excel – 1,048,576 Local Hardware No No
Export from Power BI Service Visual View Access to Workspace or App Excel or CSV Excel – 150k
CSV – 30k
Limited by Visual Summarization* No Maybe*
Export from Power BI Desktop Visual Power BI Desktop, View Access to Data Source or Build Permission to Share PBI Dataset Excel Excel – 30k Limited by Visual Summarization No Maybe*

*Please note that the values above are for Import reports. DirectQuery reports have slightly different export limits when limited.

Further Reading:

Excel Power Query Limitations – https://support.office.com/en-us/article/power-query-specifications-and-limits-5fb2807c-1b16-4257-aa5b-6793f051a9f4

Paginated Report Limitations – https://docs.microsoft.com/en-us/power-bi/paginated-reports/paginated-reports-report-builder-power-bi#limitations-and-considerations

Paginated Report FAQs – https://docs.microsoft.com/en-us/power-bi/paginated-reports/paginated-reports-faq

Helpful Links:

Power BI Desktop Download: https://www.microsoft.com/en-us/download/details.aspx?id=58494

Power BI Paginated Report Download: https://www.microsoft.com/en-us/download/details.aspx?id=58158

Excel Power Query Download: https://www.microsoft.com/en-us/download/details.aspx?id=39379