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Advocate II
Advocate II

Confused about what qualifies as "Power BI Pro content"

I love Power Query and Powerpivot. They have changed my whole workflow. So I have really been looking forward to the major rollout of Power BI.


I finally got the chance today to use Power BI, and I've hit a roadblock: I have created a dashboard for a co-worker, but when I tried to share it with him, I got a warning that states "This dashboard contains Power BI Pro content. Only users that have Power BI Pro will have access to it."


If I can't share my dashboards with coworkers without them being Power BI Pro users, I'm pretty much dead in the water. Also, there's no indication I can see as to exactly which content is for Power BI Pro users only. I'd like to at least know so that I can see if it's possible to remove it, then share my dashboard.


What's the story?

New Member

 I found it to be the same issue as reported by others. Turning off scheduled refresh fixes the problem. We are only using data from Dynamics CRM and had it set to daily refresh, which is supposed to be allowed under the free license. Even using weekly refresh causes the problem. My guess is this is a bug.

Are you using the Dynamics CRM content pack or connecting to Dynamics CRM some other way?

Advocate II
Advocate II

So I have done some monkeying around, and I uninstalled and re-installed personal gateway because of some other issues I'm having.


I have determined that if I don't have a scheduled refresh on my dataset, I can share the dashboard with my co-worker. If I add a scheduled refresh, when I try to share the dashboard, I get the warning message shown below, which doesn't really match what I see in the licensing agreements or in the descriptions of the differences between PowerBI Free and PowerBI Pro. I thought that if I am a Pro user (and I am more than happy to pay for this), I should be able to create dashboards that use the Pro features, but share them with anyone. 


Learn More just takes me to the sign up page for PowerBI Pro. I shouldn't have to get every one of my co-workers signed up on a free 60-day trial of PowerBI Pro just to look at my reports. Makes no sense. Is this intentional?



Hi All,


We clearly need to make the messaging around the licensing clearer. The key to understanding the Free vs Pro table on the pricing page is to read it from the perspective of the consumer of the content not the creator. The license is fundamentally oriented around consumption. You need a Power BI Pro license to consume any content which uses a feature that is only listed in the Power BI Pro column. Good feedback about making it clearer which specific content in your report or dashboard is using Power BI Pro features. If you want to share content with someone without a Power BI Pro license they need only sign-up for a free license, attempt to take an action which requires a Power BI Pro license and then sign-up for an instant trial of Power BI Pro. That will give you and your recipient time to experience Power BI Pro before deciding whether to purchase.


Please keep the feedback coming and we'll work on being clearer.



So everyone who wants to even see a report or dashboard has to have a pro license? Everyone in the organization?

Memorable Member
Memorable Member

If your dashboard does not connect to live data (Analysis Services, possibly SQL Azure) and if the datasets for the dashboards are not being refreshed using the Gateway you should be able to share your dashboards with others.

Those are two VERY BIG ifs, and the second if is basically what kills this for our organization. I was very excited by the possibility of creating a production dashboard that we could display in our fabrication shop that would automatically refresh through the day as it goes out and pulls data from a newly (automatically) refreshed excel file in the background. I already have automated raw excel sheets generated from our database, and I have already built the dashboards using Power Query and Powerpivot. This was going to be the missing link to enable others in our shop/organization to get an up-to-date picture of how production is doing, and my reading of the licensing agreement implied that for $10.00 per month, that would be no problem.


Now I either have to manually refresh the data (which is usually not feasible), or go back to trying to persuade my IT department to upgrade our Sharepoint to Sharepoint 2013, and to add Powerpivot Galleries to the backend packge.


Sometime in 2020 that will hopefully all come together.


I just have to say, I am a huge fan of Power Query and Powerpivot. If you could come up with another alternative for pricing (as in, a Producer license which enables me to use the Pro features, but still share it with my non-Pro-license-holding co-workers for a higher monthly fee, my organization would be MUCH more likely to be interested. As of now, trying to convince management to go for either enterprise pricing, or a $10/mo. per chair license is definitely a deal-breaker, especially considering how new and untested the platform is.


Pretty disappointing.

This page give a high level Basic vs. Pro


You should not be disappointed by Microsoft wanting to monetize its investment in Power BI.  If the content that you created generates value to your organization, then it's fair to expect that some of the value should go to support the platform that makes it all possible.

@andre wrote:

You should not be disappointed by Microsoft wanting to monetize its investment in Power BI.  If the content that you created generates value to your organization, then it's fair to expect that some of the value should go to support the platform that makes it all possible.

I think you misunderstand why I'm disappointed. I have no problem with Microsoft wanting to monetize its investment in Power BI. Power BI has great potential and I definitely believe it could add value to our organization.


One immediate obstacle is that as of about 15 minutes ago, I can no longer login at while on my corporate network, because it is blocked. The web filter has blocked it because it says that the security certificate is issued by an untrusted source.


Laying that aside, it's clear from reading the forums that I am not the only one that read the license page for Free and Pro licenses and saw no indication that Free Users would not be able to view reports that are automatically refreshed. Since that time, the pricing page has been edited, but the distinction is still not clear at all that a Pro license is required to even view a dashboard that has an automatic refresh schedule more frequent than daily.


Rather than digging your heels and and getting preachy about what I should and shouldn't feel, perhaps the Power BI team can take the widespread misunderstanding regarding licensing requirements as an opportunity to re-tune their offerings to fit what so many of us thought was being offered.


I don't expect that for free, but trying to get a brand new platform like this through our corporate IT policies, along with trying to convince management that such a new and un-tested platform is evenworth reviewing for enterprise licensing is a very high bar for Microsoft to expect its customers to push for, and will lead to very small rollouts among small businesses with few users.


I work for a company with 50,000 employees. I have an immediate need and use for the services available through But if you think I can get IT to review and approve, along with getting management to consider enterprise-wide licensing for a brand new product that is still very much in beta/development stage, I think you'll be sorely disappointed at the conversion rate in 60 days when Pro license trials expire.


I would be a strong advocate for this platform if Microsoft would also consider a Producer license for a (much?) higher monthly fee that would enable me to create auto-refresh or live-connected dashboards and share them with PowerBI Free co-workers. Ideally, I could just send them a link to a dashboard without them having to create a powerbi login to view them. That in itself creates an obstacle because of our corporate IT policies.


Another approach could be to offer this as a turn-key internal solution for companies to deploy within their own intranet. Our IT department would feel much more comfortable with keeping our data in-house. This, however, will still take a very long time to get through all the gatekeepers and approvals.


I very much want this to be successful, and it feels like a very good competitor with Tableau. But here's where Tableau is winning right now: I can download the free version, import my data, create dashboards, post them, and email links of them to anyone I want. When those I've shared the links with follow those links, they don't have to sign up for anything to view or use the reports.


I prefer Power Query, Powerpivot, and other other tools bundled in PowerBI Designer, but the lockdown on who I can share data with, and how often it can be refreshed, with only one option: a PowerBI Pro account for every end user, really seems like a myopic strategy on Microsoft's part when entering a new market.


In addition to the items above, customer service  representatives in the forums getting snippy and defensive rather than keeping their minds open to other possibilities and trying to think of new solutions when criticisms are offered from the early adopters (who could and want to be Microsoft's strongest evangelists) certainly doesn't aid the cause either.


EDITED: to correct a couple of typos and a missing comma or two.

I agree with most of your points.  You made a very good argument for why you disagree with the existing pricing model for power bi and it makes perfect sense why you would feel frustrated.


However, at least in my mind, feeling disappointed implies that the other party has done something wrong and in this particular case we may disagree with how the pricing model works, but there is nothing morally wrong that I can see in the way it is done.


At the same time, there is no real value in arguing about what the word disappointment should stand for,  the only tangible advice on this matter that I can give is to contact your friendly Microsoft account team and to challenge them to provide your company with a better pricing option using some of the new bundles that were recently announced so that PowerBI can reach everyone in your company without being prohibitively expensive.


Jeremyfirth, if your scenario can be supported by an Excel file loaded to OneDrive for Business with daily refresh and does not use any other Power BI Pro features then you should be able to share your content with anyone in your organization who signs-up for Power BI (free) and still has capacity left within their 1GB limit. In fact, the simple act of sharing with them will give them an invitation they can accept and shepherd them through sign-up.


If your content does contain Pro features then you can still share with others in your organization and they can take advantage of the instant trial for Power BI Pro to assess whether or not the value they receive is worth signing-up for Pro.


Fundamentally the Power BI licensing is a reader licensing model.

The Producer capabilities are effectively free via the free Power BI Desktop.

We are also working towards simpler purchase scenarios to enable purchase outside of IT wide purchase agreements.


You might also find the post on this thread helpful in understanding the licensing.

Impactful Individual
Impactful Individual

PowerBI Team, don't just show us a message saying that the content requires Power BI PRO. You need to tell us exactly what content is causing the conflict. At the moment, all you provide is a link to a webpage and we are meant to trouble shoot the matter ourselves.


@andre Just tested to share Dashboard that uses only web data ( from onedrive/sharepoint ) and has warning that it has pro features. Had a weekly refresh scedule..When I disable shedule refresh it can be consumed by free license..Bit confusing as the pricing indicates that Free licence supports daily refresh and web sources ( no DMG or live )



Konstantinos Ioannou

Curious if anyone ever figured out what was causing the erroneous "Pro only" messages? I have published a report with the most basic visualizations imaginable (a bar chart) that's pulling from my OnedriveForBusiness CSV file only, and still get that message. My 5 other dashboards that pull the exact same type of data source work great. Scheduled refresh is set for 1x per day, just like all my other ones, and there are no other external data connectors. Clearly a bug lurks in there somewhere.

Impactful Individual
Impactful Individual



No. I have not. The only way we fix it is to delete the content and republish it.


Hope you find a solution.





Thank you. I thought I'd tried that once already, but this time it worked. 

Please raise a support ticket so we can investigate.

New Member

I have the same issue.

My report is using Azure Table Storage and Azure SQL

Power Participant
Power Participant

@jeremyfirth @spiderrob Please find a similar thread here which I posted. May be this will help if the team replied. Even I am confused with the licensing part and access rights.

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