Start using Power BI in 3 easy steps

Power BI offers free user accounts and is quite easy to set up.

You can start using the Power BI service directly in your web browser or download and install the Power BI Desktop application. Here's the procedure in 3 steps:

1. Sign up for Power BI

To sign up for Power BI, create a free account here:

Create Power BI account

Note: Power BI requires that you use a work or school email address to sign up. Personal email addresses (like gmail.com, outlook.com, hotmail.com, and others) will not work.

You will receive an email to verify your email address. After your account is created, you'll be taken to https://app.powerbi.com and you can begin using Power BI as a free user.

2. Start using the Power BI Service (in web browser)

Once you're logged in the Power BI Service, it's time to familiarize yourself with the interface. Everything you need to know you'll find on this page:

Getting around in Power BI service

Get some data so you can start playing around

One of the first tasks in Power BI is connecting to a database. If you don't have a database or an Excel file with data ready, we recommend using the Retail Analysis sample database:

1. Open the Power BI service (https://app.powerbi.com) and log in.

2. In the bottom left corner select Get data.

3. On the Get Data page that appears, select the Samples icon.

4. Select the Retail Analysis Sample, then choose Connect.

Retail Analysis Sample

5. Power BI imports the so-called content pack and adds a new dashboard, report, and dataset to your current workspace. The new content is marked with a yellow asterisk.

Retail Analysis Sample

You're now ready to explore the visuals in Power BI with the sample database. You can also create a new report by clicking on the + Create button in the top-right corner:

Once you have created a new (empty) report, you're ready to import the Zebra BI visuals and start building your very first Power BI report.

3. Install the Power BI Desktop application on your computer

In a typical scenario, you'll use the Power BI Desktop application for your reports, dashboards, and data models and then share them to Power BI service where users can view and interact with them.

You can download Power BI Desktop (free) on this page:

Download Power BI Desktop

Once you have Power BI Desktop installed, you can visit this page to learn how to do the common tasks: Getting started with Power BI Desktop.

Again we recommend using the Retail Analysis Sample database to get familiar with the Power BI functionality. You can download a .pbix file that has the database included in the file here:

Download Retail Analysis sample .pbix