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/|
|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.
Excel Power Query Limitations – https://support.office.com/en-us/article/power-query-specifications-and-limits-5fb2807c-1b16-4257-aa5b-6793f051a9f4
Paginated Report FAQs – https://docs.microsoft.com/en-us/power-bi/paginated-reports/paginated-reports-faq
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