Viewing active (and missing) permissions in SSRS and Power BI Server

To see who has folder/report level permissions in SSRS and Power BI Server, you have to join a couple of tables together – I started with a query I found at StackOverflow and built onto it – here’s my query (it pulls a bit more detail and shows not just permissions granted, but those not granted):

select  case E.Path
		when '' then '/'
			else E.Path
		end as ItemPathAndName,
		concat(LEFT(E.Path, case
			when len(E.Path)-len(E.Name) = 0 then 0
				else len(E.Path)-len(E.Name)-1 end),'/'
		) as ItemPath,
		E.Name as ItemName,
		case E.Type
			when 1 then 'Folder'
			when 13 then 'PBI Report'
			else concat('Unknown (',Type,')')
		end as ItemType,
		case e.PolicyRoot
			when 0 then 'Inherited'
			when 1 then 'Customized'
			else 'Unknown'
		end as PermissionSource,
		--D.Description, -- Uncomment for role description
		convert(bit, case when is null then 0
				else 1
		end) as ValidPermission
from dbo.Catalog E
cross join dbo.Users C
cross join dbo.Roles D
   join dbo.PolicyUserRole A
     on E.PolicyID = A.PolicyID 
	and A.RoleID = D.RoleID
	and A.UserID = C.UserID
order by Path, C.UserName

Rather than just selecting the permissions, this query actually shows all possible permissions, and shows where users have or don’t have them. In my case, I wanted to see a list of users on the server that lacked access to specific reports and the “show me the permissions” query wouldn’t do that – additionally, this query can show you all the places that your permissions are manually set, rather than inherited.

To interpret them, I copied the results to Excel, created a pivot table, and then filtered using PermissionSource=Customized (to see all the custom permissions) or ValidPermission=0 (to see the places where people didn’t have permission to view an item).

The crossjoins can make the resultset a bit large, but it worked for me. If you want to filter things down a bit, you can add a WHERE clause near the end to folder those columns for the specific situation you’re looking for.

Power BI Server – Resolving “Web Portal URLs and Web Service URLs don’t match”

After replacing an expired SSL certificate on Power BI Server, we were no longer able to browse the site – we received an error that “The report server isn’t configured properly… The report server Web Portal URLs and Web Service URLs don’t match”:

We hadn’t changed the Power BI Server settings aside from updating the certificate, but now couldn’t load the site without getting this error message.

We were able to resolve it by manually updating both URLs (Web Service and Web Portal) in Report Server Configuration Manager to the Fully Qualified Domain Name (FQDN) – normally, the HTTP version of the URL is set to “All Assigned” (and shows the server name) and the HTTPS version shows the name on the certificate (in our case, both the old and new certificate had the FQDN). This is how it looked on the other servers that worked:

No obvious errors, but manually changing the HTTP URL for both Service and Portal to FQDN fixed the Power BI Server site – things started to work again instantly. This bothered me, though – none of the other servers needed this setting changed, and they were all perfectly fine with the server short name in the HTTP URL.


The issue ended up being Internet Information Services installed on the same server – even though the primary site was disabled, it was bound to port 80 on all IPs without a host name, so it was claiming the “HTTP://+:80” that Power BI Server was also trying to bind. Because this bind was failing, Power BI couldn’t register matching URLs and gave us the error.

To resolve it, we added a phony hostname to the Default Web Site in IIS (even though it was stopped and shouldn’t have caused an issue) so that that it didn’t claim everything at Port 80:

Once this was done, we set the Power BI configuration back to “All Assigned” and it re-registered its own URLs, and then things started working perfectly again. I’m not sure if IIS was installed by our server admins during our certificate update, or if some other configuration change caused IIS to change how it registered the URL, but this resolved this issue.

Hopefully it helps somebody else!

Installing Access Database Engine 2016 x64 alongside Office x86

In Power BI, you can open XLSX files without any additional drivers, but opening XLSB files requires you to first install the Access Database Engine driver (available for free at or you’ll get an error like this:

We encountered an error while trying to connect. Details: "Excel Workbook: the 'Microsoft.ACE.OLEDB.12.0' provider is not registered on the local machine. The 64-bit bersion of the Access Database Engine 2010 Access Database Engine OLEDB provider may be required to read.
‘Microsoft.ACE.OLEDB.12.0’ provider error message

If you have Microsoft Office installed, you already have this component, but most people use a version of Office that’s x86 – since Power BI is x64, you’ll need the x64 version of the driver as well. However, if you try to install it with Office x86 on your computer, you’ll get this error and you’ll be stuch:

Microsoft Access database engine 2016 x64 Installation Error screenshot - "You cannot install the 64-bit version of Microsoft Access Database Engine 2016 because you current have 32-bit Office products installed. If you want to install 64-bit Microsoft Access Database Engine 2016, you will first need to remove the 32-bit installation of Office products. After uninstalling the following product(s), rerun setup in order to install 64-bit version of Micorsoft Access Database Engine 2016: Office 16 Click-to-Run Extensibility Component"
Microsoft Access database engine 2016 x64 Installation Error screenshot

There’s a way to install both! To avoid this error and install the x64 database engine without removing Office x86, you need to download the installation for the Access Database Engine x64 and run the installation with a command line switch:

AccessDatabaseEngine_X64.exe /quiet
Command to install Access database engine using the "/quiet" switch to run to installation without an error

Once you run this command, you’ll get a black command window for a few seconds, and then it will close once it’s done. To confirm that it’s installed successfully, you can either check for “Microsoft Access database engine 2016” in your Windows “Programs and Features” window, or you can just launch Power BI and attempt to import an XLSB file!

I haven’t noticed any ill effects to doing this, but if you do have issues, comment below.

Slicing overlapping subgroups of data with a synthetic “Filter Table”

I saw a post from Marco Russo (Twitter) showing a trick to use a slicer to filter across multiple columns at once in Power BI with some DAX and a new dynamic filter table. I’ve done something similar in the past to use a slicer not to slice data directly, but to change a view in the data or change filtering criteria indirectly – I wanted to share an example here to show a slightly different use case than Marco’s for a similar technique.

I want to create a slicer that switches the dataset between different subsets of data, but with overlap – like just my sales, sales for my group, and sales for the company. This is normally accomplished with a calculated column for the group the data is in, along with a slicer where if you want to see everybody, you have to select all three values like this:

But what if you want to create slicer options that aren’t exclusive? Where selecting “My Department” includes you too? Here’s how you do it!

In my example, I’ll need a fake sales and person table, so I’ll just use the “Enter Data” interface to create them:

Creating a sales table
Creating a user table (just a list from the sales table)

At this point, we could just join them on name and add some slicers, but here’s where we get more advanced by creating the filter table. The names repeat, but they show once for each slicer option they belong with, so whatever you select, you’ll see the relevant people:

Creating the filter table with all the slicer options in it

Once you have those three tables, you need to link them up – note the two-way relationship between the filter table and the person table. Without that, filtering on the last table won’t flow through to the sales table and our slicer won’t work:

Create the relationship and make sure the filter-user link to bi-directional

That’s all it takes – now you can create a slicer on the “Filter” column in the “Team Filter” table, and you’ll get whatever non-exclusive subset of the data you’re looking for!

I’m looking at only Bob’s sales
I’ve added Sally’s sales, but can still see Bob
Now I’m looking at everybody!

I made the slicer single-select in this example, which I do to avoid confusion – while this still works if you leave it a normal multi-select, it can lead to some confusion since users will expect the options to be exclusive and if they’re already got “Everybody” selected, neither of the other two options will do anything 🙂

If you want it, grab the PBIX file here.

I hope this is helpful to somebody – if you have any suggestions or other use cases for this, please add them below!

Choosing which version of Power BI Desktop opens a PBIX file

When you have both the “Report Server” and “Regular” version of Power BI Desktop installed, double-clicking on a PBIX file will open it in whichever one you updated last (most likely the non-RS version, since its updated every month). Unfortunately, I want to open PBIX files in my RS version, since that’s where most of the development for my job occurs.

I got tired of fixing the shortcut links every time I updated the Desktop, so I just added two new right-click options for PBIX files – “Start in RS version” and “Start in regular version. When it’s done, it looks like this (with the new options highlighted in red):

To add them, just take the code below and save it into a file with a .REG extension, and then double-click it to add it to your registry.

Windows Registry Editor Version 5.00

@="Microsoft Power BI Desktop Document"

@="\"C:\\Program Files\\Microsoft Power BI Desktop RS\\bin\\PBIDocument.ico\""


[HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT\PowerBI.File\shell\Open in RS Version]
@="Open in RS Version"

[HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT\PowerBI.File\shell\Open in RS Version\command]
@="\"C:\\Program Files\\Microsoft Power BI Desktop RS\\bin\\PBIDesktop.exe\" \"%1\""

[HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT\PowerBI.File\shell\Open in regular version]
@="Open in regular version"

[HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT\PowerBI.File\shell\Open in regular version\command]
@="\"C:\\Program Files\\Microsoft Power BI Desktop\\bin\\PBIDesktop.exe\" \"%1\""


; Uncomment this one if you want the public version to be the default
;@="\"C:\\Program Files\\Microsoft Power BI Desktop\\bin\\PBIDesktop.exe\" \"%1\""

; Uncomment this one if you want the server version to be the default
@="\"C:\\Program Files\\Microsoft Power BI Desktop RS\\bin\\PBIDesktop.exe\" \"%1\""

You can also download the .REG file (you may need to right-click and save it).

(Update – added the switcher at the end so you can choose which edition opens up the PBIX file when you double-click on it!)

Let me know if you have any issues!