What is the use of PBIT file in Power BI?

Use of PBIT file in Power BI: Power BI has emerged as a powerhouse in the world of business intelligence, enabling organizations to transform raw data into insightful visualizations and reports. One essential component that plays a crucial role in this process is the Power BI Template (.PBIT) file. In this comprehensive guide, we will delve into the significance of PBIT files, their applications, and how they contribute to the seamless functioning of Power BI.

Understanding PBIT Files:

1. Definition and Structure:

A PBIT file is essentially a Power BI template file that encapsulates a predefined Power BI report or dashboard. It contains the report’s structure, data connections, and queries, allowing users to share and reuse report templates easily. PBIT files are saved in a JSON format, making them readable and editable with a simple text editor.

2. Use Cases:

PBIT files serve several purposes within the Power BI ecosystem:

a. Template Sharing: PBIT files enable users to share their Power BI reports in a compact and portable format. This facilitates collaboration and consistency across different teams and departments.

b. Backup and Version Control: By saving a report as a PBIT file, users can create backups or implement version control for their reports. This ensures data integrity and provides a safety net in case of unexpected changes.

c. Template Creation for Consistency: Organizations often have standardized report templates for consistent branding and formatting. PBIT files serve as templates that can be used as a starting point for creating new reports, ensuring uniformity across various reports.

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How to Create and Use PBIT Files in Power BI:

1. Creating a PBIT File:

a. Open the Power BI Desktop Application: Launch Power BI Desktop, and open the report you want to save as a template.

b. Save As Template: Navigate to “File” and choose “Save As.” Select the “Power BI Template” option and save the file with a .pbit extension.

2. Using a PBIT File:

a. Import Template: To use a PBIT file, open Power BI Desktop and choose “Import” under the Home tab. Select the PBIT file, and Power BI will create a new report based on the template.

b. Modify as Needed: Once the template is imported, users can modify it according to their specific requirements, ensuring flexibility and customization.

FAQs about PBIT Files:

1. Can PBIT files be opened in Power BI Service?

Yes, PBIT files can be uploaded and used in Power BI Service just like other Power BI files. However, users should note that PBIT files do not contain actual data; they only store the report structure and connections.

2. Are PBIT files compatible across different Power BI versions?

In general, PBIT files are backward compatible, meaning a PBIT file created in a newer version of Power BI Desktop can usually be opened in an older version. However, it’s recommended to use the latest version to avoid any compatibility issues.

3. Can PBIT files be used to share data along with the report structure?

No, PBIT files do not include the actual data; they only contain the report structure, queries, and connections. Users need to ensure that the data sources are accessible to successfully refresh the data in the report.

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4. Can I Include Data in a PBIT File?

No, PBIT files do not contain the actual data; they are designed to store the report structure, queries, and connections. When sharing a PBIT file, recipients need access to the same data sources to refresh the data in the report.

5. Are PBIT Files Encrypted or Secure?

PBIT files are not encrypted, and their contents are in a readable JSON format. However, they do not expose sensitive data unless the report includes explicit references to it. Users should exercise caution when sharing PBIT files externally and ensure that confidential information is handled appropriately.

6. Can PBIT Files Be Scheduled for Automatic Refresh?

Since PBIT files do not contain data, they don’t support scheduled refresh on their own. However, when a report is created using a PBIT file, the data sources and their associated credentials need to be configured for automatic refresh in the Power BI service.

7. What Happens if Data Sources Change?

If the underlying data sources referenced in the PBIT file change (e.g., server names or credentials), users may need to update the connection information manually. Power BI provides tools for managing data source changes and refreshing data.

8. Are PBIT Files Compatible with Power BI Paginated Reports?

No, PBIT files are specific to Power BI reports and dashboards. Power BI Paginated Reports use a different file format (.rdl) for their templates. If you want to share a Paginated Report template, it should be saved with the .rdl extension.

9. Can I Embed PBIT Files into Applications?

While Power BI offers embedding features for reports and dashboards, embedding PBIT files directly into applications is not supported. However, developers can use Power BI Embedded to integrate Power BI reports into custom applications.

10. Are PBIT Files Limited in Size?

The size of a PBIT file is primarily determined by the complexity and volume of data queries. While there is no strict size limit, large PBIT files may result in longer loading times and may pose challenges when sharing over email or other platforms with file size restrictions.

External Resources:

To further enhance your understanding of PBIT files and Power BI, here are some useful external links:

  1. Microsoft Power BI Documentation
  2. Power BI Community Forum


In conclusion, PBIT files are a valuable asset in the Power BI toolkit, streamlining the process of report sharing, backup, and template creation. By understanding how to create, use, and leverage PBIT files, users can enhance their Power BI experience and promote efficient collaboration within their organizations. Stay informed, stay empowered, and let the data-driven insights flow with the power of PBIT files in Power BI.