Why Power BI ids are useful

Published by Thomas foster on

What even is an id?

The Power BI service is build up of many artefacts, some of which you are probably familiar with: reports, dashboards, workspaces, some of which you may not be: dataflows, capacities, gateways etc.
One of the things that all of these artefacts have in common is that the Power BI service uses globally unique identifiers, also known as a universally unique identifier, [GUID] to manage them.

So what is a GUID? As the name implies they are unique identifiers, this means that if an GUID exists for a report, it exists only for that report and will only ever exist for that report.
The first place that most users will see these GUID is in the URLs for a report for example

https://app.powerbi.com/groups/d3f38010-0bba-4634-b679-19b1cfc6ed6b/reports/3b368fdc-2f01-44e9-bc82-a40ed644a02b/

The first GUID in that link is d3f38010-0bba-4634-b679-19b1cfc6ed6b, this GUID here is referring to the workspace that the report is located in. The second GUID 3b368fdc-2f01-44e9-bc82-a40ed644a02b in this case refers to the report itself that the URL is linking to. There a GUIDs like this for almost all artefacts in the Power BI service and if you are viewing or editing a report, dataset or something else the URL probably contains at least one GUID.

The use cases

This is all very well but what can you do with the GUIDs, there are two places where you may want them.
The first is in the Power BI REST API, most API calls will require at least one GUID for the artefact(s) you want to interact with.
For example for the GET dataset API call I need a dataset id, which is a GUID. If I have a dataset id I can slot that into the API call and get a bunch of information about that dataset.
A very easy way to play around with these APIs is using the try it feature built into the documentation.

A screenshot of the Power BI REST API documentation with the Try It button highlighted

If you haven’t done so already I would recommend trying a few of these out, especially if you work in governance or administration of Power BI reports as they are a lifesaver when you have to manage a large amount of reports.

The other use case is for when something goes wrong. If on the rare occasion that the Power BI service isn’t working correctly and you reach out to support they may well ask for the id of what is you are having issues with.
This could be the report, dataset, workspace or something more administrative like gateway or premium capacity.
This allows the support team to know exactly what artefact you are having an issue with.

If you are struggling to locate one of these ids I have created a guide on how to find each of these ids.

One final note from me, I am planning to restart regular-ish posts on here again so hopefully there won’t be two years between this post and the next.


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