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Advocate I
Advocate I

Direct Access vs sharing via link difference

I have a simple question about the difference between giving direct access to a report and sharing a report via link, in general. What does direct access mean? and how direct access is different from accessing a report via a link? 

I have done a few test and what puzzled me the most was the following:

Sharing a report via link, for specific people, while disabling the Allow Recipients to share this report, and Granting Direct Access with read permission only apparently do the same. In both cases, i can't download a pbix file or build on the dataset. I can only share with people with existing access.

New Member

Just a hypothesis: we can think that two different tools for the same goal:

- Link: don't know all the target audience, mass sharing

- Direct access: Dash built to be viewed by specific people.

Solution Specialist
Solution Specialist

Hi @mkjit256 and @blopez11,


Direct access in Power BI means granting a user direct permission to access a report or dashboard without requiring them to navigate through any shared content or group membership. It provides immediate access to the report without any additional steps.


Sharing a report via a link means generating a URL that can be shared with specific people or groups. The recipients can access the report via the link without needing to sign in to Power BI or having direct access to the report.


In general, direct access is a more secure way to grant access to reports and dashboards, as it limits access to only those users who are explicitly granted permission. Sharing a report via a link, on the other hand, can be useful for sharing reports with a wider audience, but it can also create potential security risks if the link is shared outside the intended audience.


Regarding your specific question, it's possible that the settings you've configured for sharing the report via link and granting direct access are causing them to behave similarly in terms of access permissions. However, it's important to note that these are two different methods of granting access, and they may have different implications for security, sharing, and collaboration.


Let me know if this helps or if you would like to further discuss this!



Best regards, 

Isaac Chavarria

If this post helps, then please consider Accepting it as the solution and giving Kudos to help the other members find it more quickly


This answer is incorrect.  Sharing via the link functionality in Manage Permissions has exactly the same security features as direct access.  As far as I can tell, there is no functional difference between the two methods of managing access.  In my organization we use Direct Access exclusively, just so we keep it all in one place, but functionally it appears to provide exactly the same result regardless of which method you use.


Thank you Issac for your time in explanation. Thing are becoming clearer but i still have two more clarification:

1- What do you mean by : without requiring them to navigate through any shared content or group membership? In one of the previous posts, they have mentioned that the difference between direct access and share with a link is that if you were granted access via direct access you can see the reports that you were given access to in the power bi service directly.

2- The recipients can access the report via the link without needing to sign in to Power BI? My understanding is that you should have a Power BI account to be able to access the report or dashboard. If the report or dashboards are published in a premium capacity, a free power bi license should be enough, and if not they will need a Pro user license. 

Resident Rockstar
Resident Rockstar

This is a good question as the documentation is not really super clear.  I always use direct access because it just seems easier to manage as you see the person our group with their specific permission.,  Where as the shared links, to me, seems seem a bit harder to manage because access is on a link by link basis and you have to hover over the little picture icons to see who has access.  I would be interested to hear from others.,

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