Wake Forest University

Power BI

Power BI Service Information

Power BI charts and graphs

Power BI is a business analytics service by Microsoft. Through online and mobile reports, dashboards, and apps it provides visualizations and business intelligence capabilities to inform decision-making.  Power BI can connect unrelated data sources into logical, interactive and coherent representation that can be shared with others. Data can be located in a number of sources, e.g. Excel spreadsheets, within Google Drive or Microsoft OneDrive, Wake’s Enterprise Data Warehouse, or even third-party sources.

Power BI consists of a Power BI web interface and Power BI Pro desktop application.  Most users will use the Power BI web interface to view reports and dashboards or create single data source analyses.  The Power BI desktop application allows users to build reports and dashboards where data sources must be altered or joined.

Benefits and Features

Faculty and staff can collaborate by viewing reports or dashboards at one glance, monitor the “most important information,” and inform decisions by viewing and using the same data.

License Request

Before requesting access for a Power BI Pro license, please review Do I need a license? and send an email to is-bi@gg.wfu.edu stating you wish to have Power BI Pro.  A member of the BI/Analytics team will contact you.


This lesson plan outline provides a template that one might follow to begin learning Power BI. It is not designed to deliver an exhaustive training on Power BI, but rather to provide new users with a sufficient orientation to begin exploring the tool on their own. The process is designed as three collaborative learning sessions, with “homework” to be completed between each session. While it is recommended that you complete this training on schedule as part of a small cohort of learners, it can also be done individually and on one’s own time. Moreover, one should feel free to redesign the outline to meet the needs of their team.

Self Guided Training Options

Several self guided training opportunities from various sources can be used to supplement the Power BI user lesson plan above.

Required Security Training for Power BI Pro

Additional security training for Power BI Pro account users has been defined.  Please consult the Pro security training course link. For users with a Pro license, it is recommended to complete at least one training in each Training Topic. This training can be completed individually and on one’s own time. Contact the Information Systems security team (infosec@wfu.edu) for assistance in designing custom security training.

Data Security Guidance

Please be aware of the type of data you are analyzing and who will be receiving your Power BI outputs.  It is your responsibility to communicate to consumers of confidential data so they are aware of their role in maintaining data security. The WFU Information Systems Data Classification will help Power BI users define the classification of their data. This data classification scheme is also defined in the WFU Information Security Policy.  A good practice is to include the data classification level on your Power BI report/ dashboard.

Power BI users may contact the BI/Analytics or security teams with any questions related to data sharing controls.

Security Review Request

Power BI has the capability to share data to multiple individuals. A review process should be followed when new data sources are to be connected to Power BI or if non WFU individuals are granted access to the Power BI reports and dashboards.

Please send an email to infosec@wfu.edu stating a security review is needed for Power BI.

Template and Themes

Power BI gives dashboard and report authors the ability to customize the appearance of their Desktop reports. With Report Themes, you can apply a color theme to your entire report. You will need a JSON file that uses a basic structure to apply a theme to your report. You can then import this JSON file into Power BI Desktop. For your convenience, the Power BI Team has developed a Wake Forest Template JSON File that can be applied to your report as a starting point. You can always reference Wake’s Identity Standard when creating your own themes to add to your reports.


We’ll do our best to get back to you in a timely manner with some guidance.  Please note, Power BI at Wake Forest is a self-supported application, meaning, the resources found/shared and responses given to inquiries is limited to the availability of folks in the Wake Forest Power BI user community. As a reminder, Power BI has a rich online community with community supported discussion boards. You will need a Wake Forest Microsoft account to log into the discussion boards. Please feel free to use these as a resource.

If you need additional assistance, please complete the WFU Power BI Help Form.