Documentation of Power BI reporting

Erkka Moisio Analytics Consultant, Solita

Published 04 Apr 2024

Reading time 2 min

This is the first part of a blog series on good Power BI practices. Topics vary from development tips to governance and from documentation to version control with concrete examples when applicable. 

Documentation and maintainability of reporting are often discussed topics in analytics projects. The aim is to avoid unnecessary documentation and achieve as much automation as possible in documenting the analytics and reporting environment.

Reporting involves various levels of documentation. This includes documentation from both end-user and developer perspectives, documentation of the dataset (semantic model), and documentation of the content within the Power BI Service. In this context, the intention is to create documentation related to the dataset.

Topics to be documented in the dataset:

  • Reporting sources (databases, files, etc.)
  • Tables and columns
  • Measures

With Power BI, these can be easily documented using Power BI Desktop and Power BI DAX Studio tools. DAX Studio is an external tool for Power BI that needs to be installed and activated separately.

In DAX Studio, within the Dynamic Management View (DMV) perspective, there is a set of queries that allow you to retrieve metadata and export it to Excel.

  • select * from $SYSTEM.DBSCHEMA_TABLES
  • select * from $SYSTEM.TMSCHEMA_COLUMNS

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These queries can also be automated as part of the data loading process/data pipeline, and the results can be saved to a database or files, making them available for a report.

It is optimal to model the views and tables of the data warehouse in a way that they can be used directly as the data source for reports. However, if SQL-retrieved data sources are used for reporting, they can also be retrieved for documentation purposes.

In Power BI Premium, one way to do it is using Microsoft SQL Server Management Studio where you can connect Power BI Workspace and its datasets. The server connection string can be found in the Power BI Service.

You can run DMV expression in Management Studio or Excel.


Power BI Premium allows the use of the XMLA endpoint, enabling connections to third-party applications and tools. See more information here.

If you want to know more or implement these features, you can contact us.

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