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Heads up: E-Mail Subscription support for external e-mail addresses is coming soon

Headshot of article author Christopher Finlan

E-Mail Subscriptions are one of the most popular ways to distribute and consume Power BI content inside an organization. In the coming weeks, we will begin allowing customers with workspaces or apps backed by premium or dedicated capacity to add users outside of the organization to e-mail subscriptions as well.  This new functionality can be used whether or not you wish to add the user formally to your tenant as a B2B user, giving you the ultimate control around how you wish to share and distribute content externally.

This blog post describes functionality that has not yet been released. We expect the change to reach commercial cloud tenants the week of 4/6/2020.

What is coming

To enable this capability, Power BI admins will need to ensure the existing security setting allowing content to be shared with external users is enabled.  Only individuals or groups that have been granted permission will have the ability to use this feature

Tenant export sharing setting

Additionally, the tenant setting allowing e-mail subscriptions also needs to be enabled.

View of tenant subscription setting

Once enabled, if a user wants to setup a subscription for external e-mail address, they’ll need to choose a report or dashboard in a workspace or app backed by a capacity.  When they create a new subscription for their content, they can add any external e-mail address to the recipients.  They’ll get a message reminding them they’re adding a user outside the organization.


External address image


Now, they can choose if they wish to have the user receive the subscription and also access the content in their Power BI tenant OR simply get the e-mail with the attachment.  If they wish for the subscribee to be added to their tenant to view the content in the Power BI service, they’ll simply ensure that the user is given access to the content in the app or workspace and include the link in the subscription mail.  This will allow the user to click the link in the subscription, be added as a B2B user in Azure Active Directory and then view the report in the service .

Users can also choose to limit access to simply the subscription mail with the attachment by unchecking the report access option.  They can also remove the link to the item in the mail to ensure recipients aren’t directed to report they can’t access.  When this happens, the user will not be added to the Azure Active Directory of your tenant, but still receive any e-mails they are subscribed to.

Link to report in Power BI  Also give access to report


Additional enhancements for all subscriptions 

To provide greater insight into subscription activity, we are also rolling out updates to the Power BI audit logs for all customers.  For the first time, admins can view each of the recipients of an e-mail subscription and the frequency/schedule it has been set for using the logs.  This will help ensure organizations can properly monitor how subscriptions are being used and which content is being shared with whom in this manner.

We’re also expanding the e-mail notifications to the subscription owner we send when subscriptions fail.  This was previously available only for paginated reports.  Now, these mails will be sent to the owner when there are issues with their subscriptions in Power BI.

Finally, we’ve heard your feedback and removed the limit of 24 as the number of subscriptions per report you can create for paginated reports only.  We’re considering the removal of this limit for other content types in the service, so keep reading the blog for future details there.

Next Steps

We’ll have a follow-up post once these features have formally rolled out and links to the public documentation.  Please remember to leave us your feedback in the comments below!