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How to govern Power BI visuals inside your organization

Headshot of article author Ranin Salameh

Dozens of Power BI visuals come out-of-the box with Power BI Desktop. These visuals are available in the visualizations’ pane when you create or edit Power BI content.

These visuals are just the beginning of the available options to help you tell your data story. The full library of Power BI visuals can be accessed through AppSource, either from the web page or through Power BI.


With the full library of validated visuals, Power BI users have access to hundreds of stunning visuals created by Microsoft or partners. Each visual is tested and validated by the AppSource validation team before it is published.

Great storytelling with data is often the key to making insights both memorable and understandable. For the best storytelling you need the best visuals to create reports that tell compelling stories. If you can’t find a visual that best tells your data story, no worries! Power BI visuals can also be developed to meet visualization requirements beyond what’s available. You can create one yourself or contact one of our partners to create a private custom visual that is tailor-made for your business data.

Below is an example of a visual that was created by our partner MAQ Software for a leading global travel company that efficiently tracks flight route performance and displays critical KPIs.

Until this visual, we couldn’t understand route performance at a macro level. Many visualizations gave us various trends but didn’t give us enough information on how specific markets were performing. Once we had the visual and applied the necessary filters, we were able to identify markets that we wanted to address. The detailed tooltip over each line helped us identify what was causing specific routes to underperform or overperform. 

Global travel company

Find the full story here. You can also see the visual in here.


How do Power BI admins govern the usage of Power BI visuals inside their organizations?

By default, everyone in the organization can use the out-of-the-box Power BI visuals and can add and use Power BI visuals available in AppSource. If you have any private visuals, you may also add them to your reports using the “Import from file” option.

To summarize, the default behavior is that Power BI users have access to all Power BI visuals:


How do admins adjust access rights for users?

Due to policy or preference, admins may decide that the default behavior is too broad and can restrict usage to only the out-of-the-box visuals for the entire organization. Admins can expand use rights and apply the default behavior noted above to specific security groups while still restricting the rest of the organization to the visuals available out of the box.

Through this setting, admins decide who can add and use Power BI visuals from AppSource and private visuals from files. If the admins decide to limit usage to the out-of-the-box set only, all they need to do is slide “Add and use custom visuals” to “Disabled”.




Is there a way to disable only the usage of some of the visuals?

Yes. We added a new setting in the admin portal to give you more control over the usage of Power BI visuals within your organization. With this new setting, you can enable users within your organization to only use and render reports containing certified custom visuals. Visuals that are not Power BI certified will not be rendered in the reports. Learn more.

Note that the option “Import from file” will be disabled and only certified visuals from AppSource and organizational visuals may be used.


What are certified Power BI visuals?

All the visuals in AppSource are tested and validated by the AppSource validation team before they’re published. We also offer additional optional checks performed by the Power BI team for certification. Certified Power BI visuals are visuals in the AppSource that have met certain specified code requirements and testing by the Power BI team.  The tests performed are designed to check that the visual does not access external services or resources; however, Microsoft is not the author of third-party visuals, and we advise customers to contact the author directly to verify the functionality of such visuals.


Once the admin changes the default of the above custom visuals settings in the admin portal,  is it also applied in Power BI Desktop?

These settings are only applied to Power BI Service users, so Power BI Desktop users who were not granted permissions can still add visuals from AppSource through the built-in interface or “Import from file” option in their reports, same with the setting “Allow only certified custom visuals”. However, those visuals will not be rendered once reports are shared and will display an appropriate error message. Starting from the March ’19 release, Power BI Desktop supports using Group Policy to disable the usage of visuals from AppSource and private files across an organization’s deployed computers, same applies with the setting “Allow only certified custom visuals” setting. Please check out the values here.


If we decide to enable only Power BI certified visuals, how can private visuals be imported and used?

For the custom Power BI visuals created privately for your organization, we recommend using them within the organizational store. Please see my recent blog for more information.

Uploading the private files into your organizational store saves lots of overhead and management time. You don’t need to distribute them through any shared library or email. At the same time, they’re easily accessed by the Power BI users in the organization.


Note that, organizational visuals are visuals that are handpicked and managed by the admin. None of the settings above are applied to the organizational store. Disabling the visuals in the organizational store must be done manually by the admin in the admin portal.


To sum up

What are Power BI visuals and how can they be accessed?

  • Dozens of Power BI visuals come out of the box with Power BI and are available out of the box in edit mode.
  • The full library of Power BI visuals can be accessed through AppSource, with hundreds of visuals created by Microsoft or Partners available.
  • Custom Power BI visuals can also be developed to meet visualization requirements beyond what is available today.
  • You can manage your private custom visuals through the organizational store.


How can admins govern the usage of Power BI visuals?

  • By default all members of an organization can add and use all Power BI visuals including imported private files.
  • Admins may limit the default behavior to a specific user group with the admin portal setting “Add and use custom visuals”.
  • Depending on the organization’s policy, admins may enable the usage of only certified Power BI visuals by turning on “Allow only certified custom visuals”. This will restrict the specific members who were previously given permissions to use Power BI visuals to use only certified visuals.
  • As an Admin you can also define which visualizations are available for your organization by adding them into the Organizational store



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