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Heads up: Changes to Excel workbook support in Power BI workspaces

We are announcing the deprecation of some features for Excel workbooks in Power BI workspaces.

This can impact organizations and users who use these capabilities. This blog outlines the changes, the timelines for deprecation, and how to update your workbooks. It also explains how to determine what workbooks in your organization are impacted.

What is changing for Excel workbook support in Power BI workspaces?

We will be retiring the following features of Excel workbooks in Power BI workspaces:

DateWhat happens
Beginning September 29, 2023
  • Upload of local workbooks to Power BI workspaces will no longer be allowed.
  • Configuring scheduling of refresh and refresh now for Excel files that don’t already have scheduled refresh configured will no longer be allowed.
Beginning October 31, 2023
  • Scheduled refresh and refresh now for existing Excel files that were previously configured for scheduled refresh will no longer be allowed.
  • Local workbooks uploaded to Power BI workspaces will no longer open in Power BI.
After October 31, 2023
  • You can download existing local workbooks from your Power BI workspace.
  • You can publish your Excel data model as a Power BI dataset and schedule refresh
  • You can import Excel workbooks from OneDrive and SharePoint Document libraries to view them in Power BI.

What should you do if you’re affected by these changes?

We recommend using the following capabilities:

  1. For local workbooks, download them and republish them using SharePoint or OneDrive for Business, then import them as a reference to the Power BI workspace.
  2. For scheduled refresh and refresh now, publish the data model from the Excel workbook as a Power BI dataset. Then configure refresh for the Power BI dataset.

Additional we should mention a number of capabilities that are continuing to be supported:

  1. We will not remove your workbook from Power BI. You can use the new download option to download any local workbooks you have stored in Power BI workspaces.
  2. You can continue to upload Excel workbook from OneDrive or SharePoint Document Libraries into Power BI workspaces.
  3. You can continue to publish Excel models as Power BI datasets and schedule refresh for those datasets.

We recommend that you use Power BI Desktop to import you Excel models because it upgrades the data model to the latest version which gives you the best experiences.

How can you know if your organization is impacted by this change?

As a Power BI Admin, you can use the new workbooks admin REST API to list the affected workbooks in your organization.

The API is:

GET https://api.powerbi.com/v1.0/myorg/admin/workbooks 

The API lists all the workbooks that were uploaded to workspaces in your tenant. You can check if the Excel workbook is a local workbook by navigating to it it’s workspace and seeing if it has the Download Excel file option as shown below.

You can use PowerShell to get the results:

Invoke-PowerBIRestMethod -Url "https://api.powerbi.com/v1.0/myorg/admin/workbooks" -Method GET

The output is a list of workbooks in your tenant.

[
{
"DisplayName": "Workbook without a Data Model",
"WorkspaceName": "My workspace",
"HasDataModel": false,
"HasScheduledRefreshOnDataModel": false,
"UploadedOn": "2023-07-28T10:54:17.093"
},
{
"DisplayName": "Workbook with Data Model",
"WorkspaceName": "My workspace",
"HasDataModel": true,
"HasScheduledRefreshOnDataModel": true,
"UploadedBy": "user@contoso.com",
"UploadedOn": "2022-11-16T09:51:17.497"
}
]

Before you run the PowerShell cmdlet, install the MicrosoftPowerBIMgmt module and call Login-PowerBIServiceAccount. More detailed instructions are available in the Power BI Cmdlets reference | Microsoft Learn.

What should you do if your Excel workbook is affected by these changes?

Use the Download Excel file option to download any local workbooks from your Power BI workspaces. You can add them to Power BI again by first saving them to OneDrive for Business or a SharePoint Document library (ODSP), and then importing the workbook from ODSP to the workspace.

A screenshot showing the Download Excel file option on the right-click menu for a local workbook in a Power BI workspace.

You can publish your Excel data models to Power BI as a dataset to configure refresh for these data models. You can do this in Power BI service, in Excel, or in Power BI Desktop. We recommend using the Power BI Desktop File > Import > Power Query, Power Pivot, Power View option to import your model and then publish it as a dataset. This is preferred since it upgrades your data model to the latest version which gives you the best experiences.

To build new workbooks connected to the data model in your Excel workbook, you’ll first publish the data model as a Power BI dataset as described above. Then in Excel use the Data Ribbon > Get Data > From Power Platform > From Power BI (Microsoft) option to connect your workbook to the dataset.

For cases where you include a workbook in a Power BI organizational app, remember to update the app after making the changes.

Why are we changing how Excel files are supported in Power BI workspaces?

We find customers who use the deprecated capabilities are disproportionally affected by reliability issues and product limitations. This results in customer dissatisfaction and lost productivity. Most customers have already adopted alternative solutions that are well supported in Power BI, which are more reliable and provide better experiences.

We know changes like these have an impact on your organization. We’re here to help. Reach out on the blog or through your Microsoft representative if you need more information about these changes.

This post was originally published on this site

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