How To Use Power BI Presentation Mode

Learn how to use Power BI presentation mode to display your Power BI content on digital signage. This is especially useful now that the Power BI viewer app has been retired.

Daniel Miradakis - Jul 05, 2024


If you are using Power BI, then there's a good chance you are interested in Power BI digital signage. For many years, a popular method of choice for accomplishing this was using the Microsoft-provided Power BI viewer app from the Microsoft Store. This Power BI viewer app had a useful functionality built into it called presentation mode.

As of December 31st, 2023, that Power BI was officially retired, so here I provide a useful alternative for you and your company to try out.

What Is Presentation Mode?

Presentation mode was a special functionality built into the Power BI viewer app that optimized a Power BI report of your choice for digital signage use cases on a TV. The viewer app allowed you to select what content to show as well as provide a minimal amount of slideshow customization.

This functionality, while useful, was quite lackluster in design, as you were very restricted with your Power BI report's slide customization.

Power BI Report Pages and Report Bookmarks

For example, when choosing what slides to display in presentation mode, you only had three choices:

  • Show all report pages.
  • Show all report bookmarks.
  • Show all report pages and all report bookmarks.

That was it - there was no in-between that allowed you to chooce exactly which report pages and/or report bookmarks you might have wanted to display. So, for example, if you only wanted to display report page 2, report page 5, and report bookmark 1, and nothing else for your slideshow, then you were fresh out of luck.

Slideshow Durations

Furthermore, the slide duration was a shared slide duration that all of your Power BI report content was required to share. So, for example, if you wanted report page 2 to display for 45 seconds while you wanted report page 5 to display for 120 seconds, then you were once again out of luck. Both report page 2 and report page 5 would have had to share the same slide duration.

Refresh Power BI Report

The Power BI viewer app also provided a refresh functionality that allowed you to refresh your visuals automatically on a timer. This was especially useful for Power BI users that required near realtime data to be displayed in their digital signage. For example, think of a company that is monitoring sensor data from a machine, or realtime productivity from employees, or realtime sales metrics from multiple geographical company locations.

Alternative to the Power BI Viewer App

While the intention behind this utility app was good, and while no doubt many Power BI users found it useful, it was too lacking in features and too constricting in Power BI slideshow customization.

Worst of all, this app is no longer available for use. Microsoft officially retired the app at the end of 2023 and has since tried to push a new integration with Microsoft Powerpoint. So for those of you not interested in or satisfied with Powerpoint, you've been caught between a rock and a hard place.

I am happy to say that I provide a convenient Power BI digital signage app for you to use called Displagent.

A Better Presentation Mode

Displagent takes the limited ideas of the presentation mode from the Power BI viewer app and builds upon it significantly. This enhanced set of functionality is offered through what Displagent calls a Report Slideshow.

Unlike a typical digital signage provider that offers a mediocre Power BI integration, Report Slideshows within Displagent are tighly integrated into the structure of Power BI reports. As a slideshow designer, you have the ability to choose exactly what report pages and/or report bookmarks you want to display - you are not limited to entire collections of either like in the Power BI viewer app.

Even better, each slide from your Power BI report has an individual, assignable slide duration so that you can display different sets of content for different durations.

Report slideshow items are also very easy to reorder and rebuild as necessary, and you can even include Power BI report pages that are typically hidden if you want to display them on a TV.

And in case you need to display multiple Power BI reports in one slideshow, you can choose to build a Compound Slideshow for a maximum breadth of content.

Power BI may not have great digital signage functionalites built into the platform, but don't let that stop you from democratizing your data and enhancing your workplace with a dedicated digital signage solution.

Looking for superior Power BI digital signage?
  • Build advanced slideshows for your Power BI artifacts.
  • Display your Power BI content on TVs.
  • Effortless kiosk application.
  • Cross-platform.
  • Reliable.
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