Power BI Premium explained in pictures

The release of Power BI Premium in June 2017 was a major milestone for Microsoft and its flagship BI platform. However, Power BI Premium does continue to cause some confusion. So what’s the difference between Free, Pro and Premium Power BI?

The differences between Free and Pro licensing for Power BI are pretty straightforward.

  • Free is great if you work in Power BI alone, i.e. you don’t want to share your content with others and you don’t want to access content created by others.
  • Pro allows you to work in Power BI alone and with others, i.e. you can share your content with other Pro users and access content created by other Pro users.

So where does Premium come into this? Well hopefully the below diagrams and text help to answer this question.

  • In the above diagram we see a Power BI (PBI) tenant with an O365 tenant and Azure AD running behind it – these are always created when a new PBI tenant is created (even if its only used by one user).


  • Pro licensed users can create content and publish it to their own My Workspace and to App Workspaces.
  • Content in App Workspaces can be published as Apps. Pro licensed users can access content in App Workspaces and in Apps.
  • Free licensed users can create content and publish it to their own My Workspace. However, they cant publish content to App Workspaces, publish Apps or access content other users have created.


  • If a Premium Node for Power BI is purchased and applied to our tenant, we can create a new Premium Capacity against this Node.


  • We can now assign some or all of our organisations App Workspaces to this Premium Capacity. Apps created from such App Workspaces will also be assigned to the Premium Capacity.


  • Content published to App Workspaces that have been assigned to a Premium Capacity can be accessed by Free licensed users.


  • Remember, even if Power BI Premium has been added to your tenant you can’t give Free licensed users direct access to App Workspaces. Free licensed users can only access content in Apps that have been created from App Workspaces assigned to Premium Capacities.
We hope you found this useful and/or interesting. If so please like, share or comment.

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