Dan English's BI Blog

Welcome to my random thoughts in regards to Business Intelligence, databases, and other technologies

Getting Started with the Power BI Preview

Posted by denglishbi on March 24, 2015

Last year Microsoft began working on a “new” Power BI version / capability.  This was released to a limited group of users for feedback and then last December was released within the U.S. and I posted this first post – Installing Power BI Designer Preview Experience.  Now this past week it is available in over 140 countries – Power BI Preview now available worldwide.image

So what it so special about this new experience?

Well first of all to get started using Power BI you no longer need to use Excel.  Excel has been the main driver of Power BI capabilities and the container where data and reports would be created to then share with others through SharePoint and/or Power BI in Office 365.  Now the data can be collected using either the new Power BI Designer or directly through the new browser based Power BI preview experience.

The next item that makes this interesting / attractive is the price.  Yes, how much does this end up costing you?  Well to get started all you need is to create an account and the rest is actually free.  Yes, that is correct, free.  Of course the “Free” version does come with some limitations, but for the most part you have the same capabilities as the version that is the paid Pro service of $9.99 user/month.  And that is price cut from the previous Power BI online experience of $40/month.  Here is more information about the new pricing and feature comparison between the Free and Pro paid versions – Power BI Preview Pricing.

In order to get started you simply need to do the following:

1. Go to the following web site – http://powerbi.com


2. Next sign up by entering your business or educational email address



3. Complete the Microsoft Power BI sign up process by following the link in the email you receive



4. Once you enter in the information and click start you will get a confirmation and depending on the current usage you might have to wait 15 minutes or so for everything to get spun up and ready for you to begin


5. Sign In to the Power BI site specifying that you are using a work or school account


Now in my case this is actually a personal Microsoft account and not provided by my organization, I am simply using my work email for my Microsoft account.  I will now switch over and login with my organization provided email, I just wanted to show what the process would look like to get started with the process.

6. Once you are logged in you will now be able to access the Microsoft Power BI Public Preview site


That is all it takes, so in less than 15 minutes or so you can be logged in and ready to roll.  Next up, we will go over a quick tour of the layout of the site.  Stay tuned!


4 Responses to “Getting Started with the Power BI Preview”

  1. Jamiet said

    Hi Dan,
    This isn’t correct: “to get started all you need is to create a Microsoft account”. A Microsoft Account is one thing that it will NOT work with (much to my chagrin). As you say yourself later in the blog post “sign up by entering your business or educational email address”, i.e. not a Microsoft Account.

    • denglishbi said

      Yes, you are correct, this gets confusing with the cross between the accounts now. The issue why I could not use my own in this example is because I am already using my organizational email account as my personal Microsoft account.

      • Jamiet said

        Yes, I think the confusion arises from the fact that a given email address firstname@lastname@somecompany.com can be *both* an organisational account and a Microsoft Account. To the lay person this is confusion in the extreme, Microsoft don’t seem to get this – if they did they’d fix it. Surely the way forward is for an organisational account and a Microsoft Account for the same email address to be linked and be one and the same thing, one password, one account, one profile.

      • denglishbi said

        Yes, and when I reference Microsoft account that can be taken different ways as well because “technically” these are all Microsoft accounts and I think that way sometimes when there are different types and one is actually branded as such. This whole area and terminology is changing and evolving quickly.

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