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How Content Consumers Can Use Apps and Workspaces in Power BI

Scott Hietpas Scott Hietpas  |  
Feb 05, 2019
If you're a Power BI content consumer, where do you go to find content that's available to you? Apps. If your app list is empty, you can click “get apps” to browse the apps available to you.
Not only are there apps, but there are also workspaces. App workspaces and apps are very tightly connected. For each app you see, there is a corresponding app workspace. There may also be app workspaces without visible apps. This occurs when the content in an app workspace has not been published. We will get into what that means later in this post.
When it comes to app workspaces, there is some overlap between Power BI and some of the other Office 365 capabilities. If you created a team site or other Office 365 groups and you're a member of that group, then it may have automatically created a Power BI app workspace for that group. Whether you knew it or not, you might have been creating Power BI app workspaces and you may also be a member of that app workspace.
In the Workspaces area on the left side of your Power BI view, if you click on Workspaces, you will see what workspaces are available to you (defined by security setup on each app workspace). You only need to be a member of an app workspace if you're contributing content towards that app. If you are a consumer of the app, you only need to access it in Apps (which is a read-only version).
creating apps and workspaces in power bi

One of the workspaces you will see in your list is My Workspace. It’s a personal workspace. Everybody who has a Power BI account has one. Here you can do some prototyping or reports that are personalized for just your benefit and are not being shared with a broader audience.

Managing and Publishing content in an App Workspace

To reiterate, an app workspace has a one-to-one relationship with an app. So, if I were to go into one of the app workspaces, I might have dashboards, reports, workbooks, and then datasets which tie to the report. I can package all this content and publish it as an app.
If I go into the corresponding app workspace, I can develop that content. When I'm done, I can publish that as an app. We often get the question, “Can I publish multiple apps from the app workspace or two different sets of reports?” Not currently. If you have two different audiences, then you would create two different apps and therefore have two different app workspaces to package that content in.
By default, everything in the app workspace is published as part of the app. However, there is now a feature that you can exclude certain content if you don't want that included. That might be useful if you have a test version of the report that you don't want to publish yet. Think of the app as the final product that you want to distribute to users, and the app workspace as the work area that contains all the content that could be published as part of that app.
What's the right granularity of apps? Well, there isn't necessarily one answer for that, and it can evolve over time. As you have more and more content in the app, it might make sense to split it into two apps because there are two roles that may want to address it. But, for the most part, we're trying to think of a role or capability that needs this collection of reports to do their job. One of the standards we’re using around Skyline is trying to keep the number of apps low so it’s easier to find content.
One of the best practices for working in an app workspace is making sure that, as we collaborate with others, we don't step on each other's toes and that we know where to find the reports other people have worked on.

Check out my other articles in this series:
  1. How Content Consumers Can Use Apps and Workspaces in Power BI
  2. How to Create Content for a Power BI App Workspace
  3. How to Retrieve Data from Excel Files and Other Data Sources in Power BI
  4. Useful Tips for Power BI Desktop
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