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Advocate I
Advocate I

Using Power BI service without an Office 365 account

Hello. I think I might be losing the plot.

I have an Office 365 account and Power BI pro. This was my starting point and arranged by the company so I know little about the free options.

I'm forever showing it to others and explaining how good Power BI it is.

People ask me if they can use it and I've been saying that you can use the Power BI Desktop but would need an Office 365 account to use the Power BI Service to publish and access the data on the web. But is this actually true.


I've been reading further and it sounds like the service may be available to non office 365 people too. But I cannot find anything definative explaining this.

I've had similar issues understanding the Power BI pro versioning too though this is down to my understanding of Office 365 licensing, E3, E5 tenants etc - not something I deal with.


Basically I know someone who is really keen to use Power BI but doesn't have Office 365. Can they use it? No need to get bogged down in which features are available in this thread - just can they write a basic report in the Desktop version and publish to the Power BI Service for access online?




The free trial is for pro features. Power BI service can be available to non office 365 people, but only free license. To use Pro feature, they have to get Office 365 account for their organization.



Purchasing Power BI Pro



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All – to answer this question, we need to get very crisp on terminology.


There are accounts (e.g. and then there are licenses which are assigned to those accounts (e.g. Power BI Free, Power BI Pro, Office 365 E3).


To sign into the Power BI service, regardless of whether you’re a free or Pro user, your users need an Azure AD (AAD) account. This is commonly mis-referred to as an “O365 account,” in part because the Office 365 admin portal can be used to create additional AAD accounts. Administrators within a tenant can create at no cost. Docs on AAD Docs on adding users


Once an AAD account is created, licenses can be attached to that account. All accounts can be provided the Power BI Free license for free. If you provide that account with a Power BI Pro license, then that user will get access to Pro features. An Office 365 license is not needed nor required in order to use Power BI Pro.




The community post below is very confusing. Please disregard it. We will get it updated.

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