Skip to main content
Showing results for 
Search instead for 
Did you mean: 

Earn a 50% discount on the DP-600 certification exam by completing the Fabric 30 Days to Learn It challenge.


Fixes to Power BI Pro License Required Dialogs

A Power BI Pro license is required to view dashboards or reports that contain Pro content. In some cases, our enforcement of this licensing logic caused confusion about whether content was Pro or not.  We are releasing several fixes that make this experience more consistent for users.


Please note that there is no change to our licensing policy - the conditions for what is Pro content, which continue to remain the same.
The fixes are as follows:

  • Dashboards and reports created in Group Workspaces that were subsequently shared to other users without Pro licenses did not trigger the standard License Required Dialog. Instead there was a  non-standard treatment of this Pro content for viewers without Pro licenses.  We have fixed this issue, so these consumers will now see the standard 'License Required' dialog that is consistent with other Pro content scenarios.


  • In some circumstances, users that attempted to view Pro content without a Pro license saw the standard License Required Dialog, but upon closing the dialog saw partial content, causing confusion about whether a license was required.  We have fixed this issue, so these viewers will no longer see any Pro content if they do not have a Pro license.


  • In some circumstances, direct links to reports that contained Pro content did show the standard 'License Required' dialog for users without Pro.  We have fixed this issue, so these viewers will see the standard 'License Required' dialog.



Senior Program Manager,
Power BI, Microsoft.

@vanessafvgNot only you, but all the users need a pro license. Because workgroups are a "PRO" feature. I think that is completely rubbish. I get that the PRO feature is making a workgroup, but the other free users should just be consumers and shouldn't have to pay for a viewing a report.

@Ajay pls reply, it is totally unacceptable for companies to work like this.

Impactful Individual
Impactful Individual



Sorry to include you in on this, Lukas. It's just that the community is not receiving any feedback on the negative impact the licensing changes (Or bug fixes as mentioned by Microsoft) have had. Without proper change management from Microsoft, a lot of organisations are stuck with a Power BI environment that cannot function properly because users suddenly have no access to reports.


I chaired a BI work group across 4 Govt departments today, which encompasses almost 30,000 employees. All of which are looking at emulating our O365 and Power BI environment. I gave them the bad news... Due to the recent licensing changes, Power BI PRO is the only viable solution for large organisations, whereas previously it was a mix of PRO and Free. As a result of these changes, Power BI is now the most expensive BI solution for large organisations. This makes no sense.


Many BI specialists have fought long and hard to get Power BI implemented within their organisations and have been part of your 2 year journey. But the recent licensing change could wipe out all your effort in an instant. As much as I hate to say it, Power BI's licensing changes must have been a massive sigh of relief for Tableau.


Please take note. And we would still like to know whether Power BI is reassessing it's licensing policy. In my opinion, there needs to be a price for developers and a separate one for end users/consumers.





Hi @djnww,

Thanks for your contribution on this matter. I suffered also from that my customer and collegues could not access my dashboards. Microsoft must have some solutions to this.


Impactful Individual
Impactful Individual

@Ajay, I hope the comments here are being fed back to management.


It was a very poor decision by Microsoft to suddenly require PRO licensing for consumers of Workgroups without appropriate change management.


1. Microsoft could have easily changed the policy wording to maintain the current status. This way, nobody would have been affected.


2. Can you imagine if an emergency services or a call centre was relying on Power Bi, and their reports were suddenly unavailable without explanation ? This happened to us on go live of a new project. We were running blind for a half a day and had to send 15 staff to observe the project instead of looking at the data.


3. As someone else mentioned, this change is a game changer. Tableau is now a cheaper option for large organisations. We can either spend $100k on Tableau or $1.2million on PowerBI p/yr to provide organisational access, which is COGNOS territory. Please rethink your pricing model. Perhaps consider concurrent licensing.


4. A 60 day trial for Power BI PRO is too short a time frame. Business cases for large organisations can take many months or even up to a year or more. It is not an option. We have had no choice but to republish all our dashboards to individual workspaces to ensure that all staff are catered for.




Impactful Individual
Impactful Individual

Hi @Ajay,


Can someone please provide a response to this ? Surely the Licensing structure needs to be reveiwed urgently as you cannot leave existing customers that have built a Power BI ecosystem hanging without any workable/viable solution ?


I attended the recent Gartner conference and this was a major topic at the Microsoft Power BI stand. This topic is already the most popular topic on this forum. You can be assured there are thousands of customers that have not voiced their concerns but are just reading our posts.





Advocate I
Advocate I

Also dishearted to see this fix go out. It will probably be a deal breaker for my organization as well as the costs to deploy to my group of thousands of employees will be significantly higher than competing software from Tableau or Qlik Sense. 


Too bad.

What about using the Content Packs and letting people get access to the data that way?

Did I answer your question? Mark my post as a solution!

Proud to be a Super User!

Power BI Blog


I dont think Content Packs solves the basic issue of being able to update a report on behalf of an absent colleague, unless I'm missing something.


We used a PowerBI Group Workspace as a sort of "shared folder" in PowerBI Online where I e.g. could upload my .pbix report and share it to other collegaues within our organisation by pinning the Live Tiles to a dashboard.

But let's say I was ill or on vacation and my colleague needed to update this report on my behalf. He could then simply open the .pbix file on our local corporate drive, click Refresh in PowerBI Desktop and then publish it again to our Group Workspace overwriting the existing data online. The link would remain the same and no one would notice.


If I had instead published it to My Personal Workspace my colleague would need to open the local .pbix file, publish it to his Personal Workspace instead. Then create a new Dashboard on his Personal Workspace. Send out a new link to the hundreds or perhaps thousands of read-only end-users, while also informing the users to use this new link untill I get back where they then again should use the old link.


I would love to know if anyone knows a simpler solution to the use-case above. We've had our eye on Scheduled Refresh as well - but this is also a Pro-feature which would then require the hundreds of end-users to get a Pro-license...

@Mardin  maybe just share your password with your colleague when you are in vacation ? 


or just don't use the web at all, and just distribute pbix files. 



@mim Sharing my password is not a viable option since it's simply not allowed. I'm in a company with 6.000+ employees and they have a very strict IT policy.


Distributing the .PBIX files defeats the purpose of this tool and it would also be a hasle to distribute a new .PBIX file to 1-200 different end-users each month.


It should simply be possible for everyone to READ the online reports and only have the developers/admins require the Pro-license, like many many others have stated in here.


Why is it free to read/view-only the .PBIX files via the free Desktop client but not free to read/view-only online? 

@Mardin   Microsoft is not obliged to do anything,  it is the market that decide and unfortunately the BI enterprise offering is still very expensive. 


don't get me wrong I understand your frustration, but microsoft model from day one was clear,  everyone need to have a subscription to do any meaningful work in enterprise, I know it does not make sense but what's the alternative.  ( Qlik Server and Tableau Server required named user too)


another option is to wait for SSRS on premise, but it is not clear what will be the license model.


SSAS with Excel as a front end is an option too.


so unless the competitors come up with a better pricing model, Microsoft will not change anything. 

Sharing passwords and passing around files defeats the point. It's also bad practice. We're looking for solutions, not workarounds.


The market has indeed spoken: Non-Microsoft providers provide better and more affordable options (depending on your size and usage of course). This was a blatent bait and switch for some of us affected. 


Sorry, but Microsoft really messed up here.

@worldundermine i guess you have two solutions, either you pay or use something else


btw if your reports are not too much complex, you can try Google Data studio, it is "free" you can have multiple people working on the same reports, and  you can sign in using your company email account. 

Impactful Individual
Impactful Individual

@mim, I think you have misunderstood the concerns from the community.


Microsoft has mistakenly outpriced itself from large organisations which are its core customers. PowerBi is more expensive than Qlik and Tableau server. This is the issue. Organisations have put forward business cases for Power BI because it was a cheaper solution based on its original pricing structure. And now it is easily double the price of Qlik and Tableau. Absolutely ridiculous.



@djnww I understand the concerns because I am trying to sell PowerBi to the management since 1 year, but Microsoft did not change the pricing, yes they choose to not enforce some features when you share PRO with free users ( officially it was a bug, but i understand if someone thinks it was deliberate) but the documentation is very clear.


They Know exactly what they are doing, they are pushing corporate to use office 365 E5.  


for me personally my biggest concern is, there is no guaranty that the free features will always stay, Microsoft can always change their mind and remove or limit a free feature, I suppose that's the risk with this new world of cloud ?  


and still for the cloud PowerBI is still the cheapest option, for example tableau online is 40 dollars/month,  how is that cheaper, Qlik cloud is 21 dollars/month. 



Same exact thing here. We've decided - obviously - to move off the MS platform. Too bad, since it was working great until this change. 

Advocate IV
Advocate IV

This "fix" is very unfortunate and a huge deal-breaker for our company.


Like Bhartman30 - I too work in a company where a small amount of Pro-users (aprox. 5 developers) keep and maintain the dashboards/reports in a PowerBI group so that we can fill in for each other. But it was previously possible for all the end-users (currently aprox. 200 people) to view the final reports with free-licenses.


Now without prior warning all end-users has been locked out of the reports, and they suddenly require a Pro-license simply to view the reports. This is a huge stepback both for our current work-processes in the company, but also a stepback for our journey to furhter integrate PowerBI in the company.


Historically we have been using Tableau, but during the last year we have slowly moved towards Microsoft PowerBI due to a more attractive pricing model. Tableau costs 2.000$ per developer for a lifetime license, while PowerBI only cost 10$ pr. month per Pro-license. But with Tableau only the report developers need a license while all end-users can view reports free of charge.


Our hope was to expand the use of PowerBI from the current 200 end-users to about 2.000 end-users. The pricing argument is now all of the sudden no longer a valid argument for us to help push this PowerBI integration since it is now:



5 developers x 2.000$= 10.000$ (lifetime)

2.000 end-users x 0$ = 0$



5 developers x 10$ = 50$ (per year)

2.000 end-users x 10$ = 20.000$ (per year)


If you were storing a report within a Group Workspace and/or allowing your report to connect to data sources using an On-Premises

Gateway, while the users consuming the report were users with free licenses, you were in direct conflict with the documentation.


I do not believe this is a setback, but rather a planning step that did not take place on the individual(s) that architected the solution.


Unfortunately in my experience with MS documentation and actuals, there are numerous direct conflicts. 


In this case they could have just as easily changed the wording in the documentation and left the feature of Workspaces functioning with Free Licenses.  However, they chose to remove a working feature that many people have been using.  So in this case it is neither an architectural issue or a user issue, it is a decision by MS team to eliminate a functioning feature.


Have a great rest of your day!



I would love to see where the conflict was found within regards to this issue. Would you be willing to point it out?


The problem is not "Workspaces" in general, but with Group Workspaces. The content within a Group Workspace is and has been, clearly defined as a Pro feature all along.


The individual architecting the solution needs to clear those items before creating a solution of any size.


A Free user consuming content from within a Group Workspace is a clear, very clear violation of the documentation.




Power BI Pro content - what is it?


Power BI free and Pro licenses are different based on the kind of content users can consume. If your content contains any of the following items, it's Power BI Pro content:

Conversely, if your content contains only the following items it will be consumable by both Power BI free and Pro users:

  • A dashboard or report connected to content packs for services (e.g. Dynamics CRM, Salesforce, and Google Analytics).

  • A dashboard or report with data imported from files such as Excel spreadsheets, Power BI Desktop, and CSV.

  • Tiles pinned from a report in SQL Server Reporting Services.

For example, if you create a manufacturing dashboard that updates progress multiple times during the day, anyone consuming that dashboard would need a Power BI Pro license. Or, if you create a report using the Power BI Gateway - Enterprise, then another that uses the personal gateway, anyone consuming or interacting with either of those reports would need a Power BI Pro license.

If you want to share your Power BI Pro content with users, they can sign up for a free trial of Power BI Pro, and gain access to your content during the trial period.

For a list of Power BI Pro features (and how those features compare to a free Power BI license), take a look at Power BI Pricing.

Helpful resources

RTI Forums Carousel3

New forum boards available in Real-Time Intelligence.

Ask questions in Eventhouse and KQL, Eventstream, and Reflex.


Fabric certifications survey

Certification feedback opportunity for the community.

Top Solution Authors
Top Kudoed Authors