PowerBI SmartPivot 101: everything you need to get started

PowerBI SmartPivot is our first product for 2019, and we couldn’t be more excited about it. Much like the rest of our PowerBI Tiles family, PowerBI SmartPivot was born as an answer to our clients’ problems prior to being spun into a mass market product. In this case, our clients worked mainly in the retail sector and made extensive use of Excel PivotTables in their daily activity. Their woes included a high dependency on IT staff to connect databases to Excel, the lack of granularity provided by Excel alone and, perhaps most importantly, the time it took to filter their PivotTables when analyzing a wide range of items, a common occurrence in retail.

What is PowerBI SmartPivot and who is it for?

PowerBI SmartPivot is an Excel add-in aimed at professionals who regularly work with PivotTables. PowerBI SmartPivot introduces several features that make their life easier, namely the abilities to connect OLAP data cubes and Power BI to Excel, scan all data in an analytical model, apply filters in bulk instead individually ticking a PivotTable’s checkboxes and create granular table reports with ease.

Downloading and installing

An annual PowerBI SmartPivot license is available at DevScope’s store from 99.99€, but you can try it for free by downloading a full-featured 30-day trial version.

If you purchase a license during the product’s launch window, you can use code POWERBI-SMARTPIVOT-30 at checkout for a 30% discount.

After downloading PowerBI SmartPivot, extract the file and double click it to run the installation wizard. Follow the steps and click finish. Open Excel and you should see a grayed out SMARTPIVOT tab.

PowerBI SmartPivot 101Click the License button and introduce the key emailed to the address you used to register for the PowerBI SmartPivot trial. Once validated, all options will become available.

PoweBI SmartPivot 101NOTE: if you don’t see the SMARTPIVOT tab in Excel, go to File > Options and click the Add-ins tab.

PoweBI SmartPivot 101From the Manage dropdown menu, select COM Add-ins and click the Go button. Make sure the DevScope PowerBI SmarPivot check-box is ticked and click OK.4aPoweBI SmartPivot 101a

The SMARTPIVOT tab should now be visible. If you still can’t see it, please email our support team.

Connecting OLAP cubes and Power BI to Excel

In order to connect a Power BI dataset to Excel, you must first open it in Power BI Desktop. Once you do, go to the SMARTPIVOT tab in Excel and click QuickConnect. You should see it in the list of connections available.


Double-click it and confirm the range. The PivotTable Fields will appear in the panel on the right. Select which fields you want to add to your PivotTable or drag them to the preset areas below.


Using the search function

PowerBI SmartPivot’s search function greatly expands on what Excel can do by itself, allowing users to find exactly what they’re looking for, regardless of the complexity of their analytical model.

To use it, select any cell in your PivotTable and click the search icon in the menu. A new pane will open next to the PivotTable Fields selection.


You can place any queries in the search field to find exactly the data you’re looking for. In the example below, we’ll ask PowerBI SmartPivot for the gross margin percentage (GM%) of transportation of Primus in 2014. PowerBI SmartPivot will instantly scan your data model and present you a list of the fields that best match your query.


Check the boxes from the list to add that data to a new PivotTable.

Filtering a PivotTable by a list of values

The more data you have in an analytical model, the harder it is to find exactly what you want. Even when you know where to look, it may take some time picking the values for your PivotTable because Excel only allows you to select or deselect all values at the same time.

PoweBI SmartPivot 101

This isn’t really a problem when you’re working with a small PivotTable, but individually picking which values to filter is a major annoyance when you’re working with hundreds or thousands of items. This annoyance became apparent to us when working with some of our retail clients. Their PivotTables often had hundreds or thousands of different products in them, which meant spending many minutes checking boxes one by one. Earlier last year, we launched Filter by List for Power BI itself on Microsoft’s AppSource for free and now integrated it in Excel with PowerBI SmartPivot.

Using it couldn’t be simpler. With at least a cell of your PivotTable selected, click the Filter by List icon from the menu to open the Pivot Filter pane. Write or paste a list of values you wish to filter your list by and click Apply Filter.


Your PivotTable will change and reflect those values.


NOTE: If your PivotTable has more than one hierarchy, make sure you select the correct one from the dropdown list.

PoweBI SmartPivot 101

If you plan on using the same filter recurrently, it’s a good idea to save it. To do so hit the Save Filter button after applying it. PowerBI SmartPivot will save the values in your filter and direct you to a Saved Filters pane, where you can apply, update or delete previously saved filters.


To access your saved filters, select any cell on the PivotTable and click the My Filters button from the menu to open a pane with the list of saved filters.


Creating a granular table from an OLAP cube

The final PowerBI SmartPivot feature we’ll cover in this guide is the ability to quickly create a granular table report by selecting its fields from a list. To do so, select a cell containing one of the results in your PivotTable and click Add Table Report from the menu. A window containing all possible fields will open.


To create a table, pick a field from the Available Fields and add it to the Selected Fields section.

PoweBI SmartPivot 101

When you’re done, click ok to create your table instantly in a new Excel sheet.

PoweBI SmartPivot 101

Thank you for your using PowerBI SmartPivot and making it through this (extensive) 101. PowerBI SmartPivot includes a few other features we won’t cover in this 101 because we feel are self-explanatory, but if you need any help using them, let us know.

If you still have any questions regarding PowerBI SmartPivot, please check the product’s FAQs or contact us by email.

PowerBI SmartPivot

Introducing PowerBI SmartPivot. Try it today for free!

We’re proud to announce PowerBI SmartPivot, a Microsoft Excel add-in that introduces several new features aimed at boosting the productivity of advanced PivotTable users.

PowerBI SmartPivot introduces a few features to answer the many woes we were seeing among PivotTable users, both in clients and within DevScope:

QuickConnect – instantly connect Excel to Power BI Desktop and Online, as well as Online Analytical Processing (OLAP) data cubes. All connections are saved automatically, so users only need to hit refresh the next time they open Excel to have their data at hand;

Search – find exactly what you want regardless of how complex your PivotTables are. PowerBI SmartPivot‘s search engine greatly expands what Excel can handle, allowing you to insert queries and instantly search all data content on an analytical model for an answer. All values found this way can be added to any location of your choice;

Filter by List – apply filter values to a report in bulk instead of individually checking each box in the filter pane, a feature previously only available to Power BI users. With PowerBI SmartPivot, all you need to do is paste a list of values in the slicer visual to filter by exactly what you wish. Filters can be saved and used later;

Table Reports – create highly detailed table reports using an easy to use search and pick method. Search for any fields in an analytical model and create a granular table report with them in just a few seconds;

Despite its name, you don’t need Power BI to use PowerBI SmartPivot, although the ability to connect the former to Excel is one of its main selling points. If PivotTables are part of your everyday life, we are sure PowerBI SmartPivot will make it much easier.

An annual license of PowerBI SmartPivot is available from 99.99€, but you can try it for 30 days for free without any limitations.

If you order PowerBI SmartPivot during its launch window, use the following code at checkout for a 30% discount:


PowerBI SmartPivot

Connecting Sogrape’s family with SharePoint Online and Microsoft Teams

Sogrape is a global brand whose large family felt disconnected. Thankfully, the right tools have the power to connect people – even if they speak different languages and live on opposite sides of the world.
The client:

Founded in 1942 by Fernando Van Zeller Guedes, Sogrape is a group of companies and brands which aims to provide Original Legacy Wines for all moments of life.

From the Douro region, Sogrape reached the entire world and currently produces wine in Portugal (Sogrape Vinhos Portugal), Spain (Bodegas LAN), Argentina (Finca Flichman), Chile (Viña Los Boldos) and New Zealand (Framingham). With distribution companies in Europe, America, Africa and Asia, Sogrape delivers its wines to more than 120 countries, with internationally relevant brands.

Sogrape‘s originality and legacy result from the dedication of a large family of people who, led by Fernando da Cunha Guedes, the current CEO, strive for excellence in all areas to make it a benchmark in the world of wine. There are over a thousand employees who, united by family tradition, diversity, rigor and reliability, courage and desire to innovate, honor friendships and look at wine as their way of bringing happiness to life.

Porto vineyard Sogrape
From the Alto Douro Wine Region, Portugal, to the world
The problem:

Sogrape is present in the entirety of the value chain, and therefore its operation starts in the vineyard and ends on the shelf. It reaches all four corners of the world and comes with all its benefits – such as the ability to enjoy an Argentinian Malbec in a plaza in Madrid – and woes – like working on three languages and across multiple time zones. For years, Sogrape wanted a single platform to connect its universe of over 1,000 employees and change the way people work and communicate between themselves and the company. Having developed their Portuguese operation’s intranet portal back in 2007, Sogrape selected DevScope from among a handful of companies to work on their global intranet portal.

“We knew we wanted to connect everybody and change the way we work, but we didn’t know how, and DevScope offered the ideal solution.”

– Joana Pais, Corporate Communication Manager, Sogrape

The solution:

Sogrape’s old intranet portal was showing its age and some of the pains that come with it: not up to the most recent technological and interface standards and barely used by anyone. Worst of all, it was exclusive to the company’s Portuguese operation, a stark contrast to its global reach, glocal position – the practice of conducting business according to both local and global considerations – and its “Feel like a family, perform like a team” purpose.

Sogrape was hellbent on bringing its global family together

Sogrape wanted to revert this situation and have a user-oriented portal, but when you have over 1,000 employees with multiple professional profiles spread around the globe, needs and expectations are sure to vary considerably. On top of that, Sogrape wanted this project to mark a turning point in the company and requested for the new portal to be amazing and delivered in six months, so time was a factor.

“Sogrape only had one requirement when they contacted us: we want an Intranet that wins prizes. I immediately thought to myself, we want to do this. Challenge accepted!”

– Ricardo Calejo, Portals & Collaboration Manager, DevScope

Empathize & Define

With all these concerns in mind, Sogrape adopted Stanford Univesity’s Design Thinking approach, which is composed of five stages: Empathize, Define, Ideate, Prototype & Test.

From the get-go, Sogrape envisioned the new portal as a living project, one that would change over time according to its users’ needs. To grasp them, DevScope hired digital strategic consultancy firm Fast Forward and Knowman to conduct a series of 19 interviews and write a report on their findings. Interviewees were Sogrape employees from all over the world fitting well-defined user personas to assure there was a large enough pool of different behaviors and motivations. An additional group of 29 project ambassadors –a few selected employees undertaking the mission of spreading the new intranet’s culture with their colleagues – answered 19 questions on Microsoft Forms as well. The collected material set the following stage in the Design Thinking method: Define.

“The new intranet should celebrate difference as much as bring everyone together.”

– Joana Pais, Corporate Communication Manager, Sogrape

With the goal of naming the portal and identifying the features it should have to address the most common needs, Fast Forward and Knowman organized a couple of workshops. The plans for the rollout of WINet – a portmanteau of wine and intranet – were also born from these sessions, along with a list of concerns the new portal would have to address, namely:

  • The lack of resources and time to feed it new content on a regular basis;
  • Several employees lack a computer or other connected device;
  • Several employees don’t know what an intranet is;
  • The lack of participation by upper management;
  • A few employees in some business units didn’t feel well represented;

“We want WINet to work reason but also emotion, business but also culture. We want to make sure the user experience is engaging and, more than a useful platform, we want people to look at WINet as part of their daily life at Sogrape.”

– Joana Pais, Corporate Communication Manager, Sogrape

Keeping content relevant and updated is a challenge common to most portals we deploy. In order to keep WINet alive, Sogrape’s content had to cater to several separate yet related areas, such as production, commerce, distribution, innovation, wine education or wine tourism. When that content’s audience is over 1,000 people speaking three different languages and working on every continent on the planet, the challenge gets considerably difficult.

Sogrape employees can find their colleagues on WINet – regardless of where they are
Speaking to an audience of a thousand

To make sure Sogrape would be able to produce content regularly and reach its collaborators regardless of language or country, DevScope’s Portals & Collaboration team developed a solution that combines a content classification system (using SharePoint Online’s Term Store feature) with a customized user content experience featuring multi-language support set in three pillars:

  • what Sogrape needs to tell its employees – mandatory information on the homepage;
  • what employees are interested in – their personal area;
  • what employees might want to know but isn’t in the portal’s homepage nor their personal area – search function;

These features and customized user experience are only made possible by combining a structured and planned information classification system with custom SharePoint components, namely its search engine.

Experience taught us that information customization is vital to keep people using corporates portals so, save for Sogrape‘s mandatory info, we gave everyone the liberty to select the themes they’re most interested in. In their personal area, users can find:

  • Fully customizable links to company apps, which include a canteen, a wine store, service desk, and vehicle reservation;
  • A favorites link list that can be accessed and managed across the whole intranet. Pages are added to this list with a single click;
  • The ability to pick the topics which will be presented in their information feed across the entire intranet. An employee in Chile can choose to read articles about his market and avoid information overload by keeping all remaining wine production regions off their feed;

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Language filters also use the tag system and introduce some much longed for agility in the content and delivery process. Translated articles only need to have their tag changed from the original to the new language to travel across the globe and reach employees who wouldn’t read them otherwise.

BindTuning, a longtime DevScope partner, provided a theme that matched Sogrape’s identity, allowing our Portals & Collaboration team to deploy WINet in record time and featuring its most wanted areas and functionalities, and thanks to the tag system’s flexibility new areas can be introduced in mere days.

Teams work

Sogrape envisioned WINet as a knowledge-sharing platform so connecting it to Microsoft Teams was the next logical step in the project. It’s arguably the best collaborative platform available, allowing people to talk, share and work in a familiar way while being flexible enough to accommodate features as users see fit.

Microsoft Teams also gave Sogrape a way to make the internal recruitment process much faster and reliable. Because all employee profiles on WINet contain not only their department and function but also areas of interest, Sogrape can take these preferences into account and group people with similar interests and competencies, ensuring the allocation of the best human resources to each new project. Thanks to SharePoint Online‘s provisioning techniques, website templates are easy to deploy for each collaborative context. New content from these collaborative contexts is displayed to users when they log in WINet, making sure they keep up to date with the latest news about the work they’ve been doing with their colleagues.

sogrape case study-01
WINet takes full advantage of Office 365’s extensive list of productivity features

To make sure Sogrape took advantage of as many Office 365 services as possible, our team introduced Microsoft Stream as a way of sharing and publishing videos on WINet. All communications and file sharing between DevScope and Sogrape also took place exclusively on Microsoft Teams. Not a single email was sent during the entire project.


WINet launched in December 2018, six months after the project started.

“Employees overseas are happy to be part of something that despite having been developed in Portugal, has a global reach. They feel like part of the family. Our next step is to try and make each market create its local content.”

– Joana Pais, Corporate Communication Manager, Sogrape

Sogrape didn’t make any efforts to impose WINet internally, but adoption is slowly picking up around the world and becoming part of everyone’s daily life. Having experienced its immense collaborative potential, the company believes Microsoft Teams will be the driving force behind WINet adoption.

Work on WINet will continue for the near future, with an emphasis on further employing Microsoft PowerApps and Flow to simplify processes.

What we did:
  • Developed and delivered WINet Sogrape’s new intranet portal – in just six months;
  • Developed a tailored multi-language user-centered intranet experience with dynamic content;
  • Developed a set of features and tools that enrich WINet by simplifying processes and providing users the tools to make them more productive;
  • Integrated Microsoft Teams with SharePoint Online, creating a modern workplace and connecting over 1,000 Sogrape employees around the world;
Products used:

Save the date: we’re hosting the Global Office 365 Developer Bootcamp on November 30th

With over 135 million monthly active users, Office 365 is the most popular productivity suite on the planet. For developers, Office 365 is also an incredible opportunity, with business-critical data and millions of users combined on a platform designed to keep people in their workflow. Developers can take advantage of this setting and create intelligent and connected products and solutions with tools they use daily.

Following the success of last year’s edition, Microsoft turned the Global Office 365 Developer Bootcamp into an annual event. It is a free, one-day training event led by Microsoft MVPs with the support of Microsoft. Developers worldwide are invited to attend it to learn the latest on the Office 365 platform including Microsoft Graph, SharePoint framework, Microsoft Teams, Office add-ins, connectors and actionable messages and apply what you learn to your future projects. Developers can apply these learnings to their products or solutions to achieve more right away.


Along with our partner BindTuning, DevScope is hosting the Portuguese Global Office 365 Developer Bootcamp on November 30th and everyone is invited to join it. The event lasts the whole day and features an all-star group of developers:

  • Beatriz Oliveira, Microsoft Office Development MVP
  • João Sousa, Microsoft Visual Studio and Development Technologies MVP
  • José António Silva, Microsoft Regional Director
  • Pedro Sousa, Microsoft Azure MVP
  • Sandro Pereira, Microsoft Azure MVP
  • Rui Silva, .NET & web developer
  • Pedro Almeida, Software Developer Engineer, Dynamics Solutions
  • Carlos Silva, Platform Lead at BindTuning
  • João Ferreira, SharePoint Lead at BindTuning

Entrance is free, but due to space availability, you must register beforehand here.

Meet us at the European SharePoint, Office 365 & Azure Conference 2018

DevScope is traveling to Copenhagen, not on a quick vacation but to get everything ready for the European SharePoint, Office 365 & Azure Conference 2018. The largest European conference on these subjects is taking place between November 26th and November 29th, and we return as sponsors. If you’re attending, make sure to stop by stand E-46 to meet our team and get to know some of our freshest work.

This year, our stand’s main focused will be SmartDocumentor Expenses, our most recent solution, and your company’s accountant unknowingly new favorite app. SmartDocumentor Expenses is the fastest and easiest way to process and reimburse employee business expenses. All it takes is a picture of an expense sent by email (no additional mobile apps required!), and SmartDocumentor’s Robotic Process Automation (RPA) engine takes care of classifying, processing and integrating it in your company’s ERP or ECM. We are very excited about this newest member of our growing SmartDocumentor suite and want to share its SharePoint integration abilities, as well as money and time-saving capabilities, with anyone attending.

Besides SmartDocumentor Expenses, you’ll find our Portals & Integration team on the stand, happy to share with everyone some of the amazing work they’ve been doing on SharePoint. If your company is in need of a new intranet portal, drop by stand E-46 and see how SharePoint can answer your company’s many needs.

See you on monday in Copenhagen!

Send Emails, PDFs or broadcast from Power BI with PowerBI Robots

PowerBI Tiles Pro 101: everything you need to get started

PowerBI Tiles Pro kicked-off DevScope’s PowerBI product suite and is its most successful release to date. Over 40.000 people and companies all over the world use it every day to enrich their documents with data from Power BI, but if you’re looking for more information about it and how to use it, you’ve come to the right place.

Following the success of the PowerBI Robots 101, we decided to write a similar guide for PowerBI Tiles Pro covering all you need to get started.

What is PowerBI Tiles Pro?

PowerBI Tiles Pro is a Microsoft Office 365 add-in that allows users to embed Power BI visuals as either real-time data or high-quality screenshots in PowerPoint presentations, Word documents, and Outlook emails.

PowerBI Tiles Pro comes in two “flavors”:

  • PowerBI Tiles Online: allows you to embed real-time Power BI visualizations into PowerPoint presentations (works on both Windows and macOS);
  • PowerBI Tiles Pro Desktop: allows you to embed high-quality screenshots of Power BI Visuals into PowerPoint presentations, Word documents and Outlook Messages in just a few seconds (Windows only);

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A PowerBI Tiles Pro lifetime license is available for only 49.99€, but you can give the trial version a go without any limitation – save for a red watermark on your pictures. If you wish to purchase multiple licenses, we offer incremental discounts.

Who should use PowerBI Tiles Pro?

PowerBI Tiles Pro is suited for professionals who need to analyze and present Power BI data on a regular basis. You don’t need to be a Power BI developer or a power user to work with PowerBI Tiles Pro. If your job revolves around analyzing and interpreting data from Microsoft’s Business Intelligence platform and presenting results through Office apps, PowerBI Tiles Pro is an absolute must-have.

Downloading and Installing PowerBI Tiles Pro

If you haven’t installed PowerBI Tiles Pro yet, follow the links below:

Using PowerBI Tiles Online

To embed real-time data from Power BI on PowerPoint, go to the Insert tab, click the down arrow next to My Add-ins and select PowerBI Tiles.

Embed Power BI reports in PowerPoint

A window, similar to any other piece of media in Office should appear. Click the green “From Power BI” button to link your account or the blue “From public report” to paste a URL from a Power BI report on the web.


Once your account is connected, you’ll have access to your workspaces, dashboards, and reports.

Embed Power BI reports in PowerPoint

Select the report to embed in your PowerPoint presentation, and you’re done.
Embed Power BI reports in PowerPointNote: if you can’t find PowerBI Tiles under My Add-ins, go to file, click Options and navigate to the Add-ins tab. Click the Go… button and select PowerBI Tiles from the list to enable it.

You can handle your report in PowerPoint as if you were on Power BI desktop or Power BI Online. This means checking data on visuals, navigating between tabs, applying any filters, etc. In addition to this, you can hit the refresh button on the window to fetch the most recent data.

Using PowerBI Tiles Pro Desktop

Adding high-definition screenshots of your Power BI visuals to PowerPoint presentations, Word documents and even Outlook emails is very simple.

On either PowerPoint or Word, navigate to the new PowerBI Tiles Pro Desktop tab and click the Login button to connect your Power BI account to Office 365. Click Add PowerBI to open a window displaying your Power BI workspaces. Among others, you can set the size and delay render from here.

Embed Power BI reports in PowerPoint

Navigate the list, check the ones you wish and click Add Items to insert them in your document.5

In Outlook, you need to start writing or answer an email to see the PowerBI Tiles Pro Desktop tab.

Embed Power BI reports in Outlook

Note: when answering an email, you must double-click it from the list otherwise the PowerBI Tiles Pro Desktop tab won’t be available.

Alternatively, you can add a Power BI report from the web by clicking Add From Url and pasting the link to it.

Once your Power BI reports are embedded, you can apply formatting just like you would to a regular picture.

Embed Power BI reports in PowerPoint

Whenever you need to update your data, go to the PowerBI Tiles Pro Desktop tab, hit the Refresh button and the app will make a list of all Power BI visuals in the document. Select those whose data you need to update and click Update Checked.

Screenshot (8)

If you still have any questions regarding PowerBI Tiles Pro, check the product’s FAQs or contact us by email.Embed Power BI reports and dashboards in PowerPoint, Word and Outlook

How to embed Power BI reports in PowerPoint

One of the most requested features users ask Microsoft to add to Power BI is the ability to integrate visuals on Office 365 documents, particularly PowerPoint. Since 2016, Power BI allows users to export to PowerPoint (in preview mode), but it’s far from perfect: you must export an entire report, and the whole process is very time-consuming. Power BI users often need just a single report page or specific visual, and when that happens, they must resort to the reliable but impractical screenshot, and do some copy/pasting gymnastics.


After receiving many requests by clients and hearing Power BI users’ pleas, we came up with PowerBI Tiles, an Office 365 add-in for both PC and Mac that lets users integrate Power BI on PowerPoint, Word, and Outlook as either real-time visuals or high-definition static screenshots.

Power BI Tiles Pro has two versions, each targeted at specific needs:

Embed real-time Power BI visuals on PowerPoint presentations with PowerBI Tiles Pro Online

Click here to download the PowerBI Tiles add-in from the Microsoft App Source store.

The process of embedding a Power BI visual on PowerPoint is similar to inserting a picture, an audio clip or video. On PowerPoint for Office 365, go to the Insert tab, click on My Apps and select PowerBI Tiles. Log in to your Power BI account, and select the dashboard and tile you wish to embed in your presentation. And that’s it. You can repeat the process on the same slide or presentation as many times as you want.

Embed screenshots of Power BI visuals on PowerPoint presentations with PowerBI Tiles Pro Desktop

Click here to download PowerBI Tiles Pro from the product’s website.

After installing PowerBI Tiles Pro, open PowerPoint for Office 365 and go to the PowerBI Tiles Pro Desktop tab. Log in to your Microsoft account, and click:

  • Add Power BI – a window will pop up with a list of your Workspaces, containing any dashboards and reports. Tick the boxes of the ones you wish to add to your presentation and click Add Items;
Embed Power BI visuals in PowerPoint
You can browse all your dashboards and reports after connecting your Power BI account to Microsoft Office
  • Add from URL – a window will pop up prompting you to paste the URL of a dashboard or report published on the web. This is the URL on your browser’s window, not the one you get by clicking Share on Power BI Online;
Embed Power BI visuals in PowerPoint
To embed a visual from Power BI Online, simply paste the URL.

And you’re done. If you have a meeting coming and need up to date figures of what you originally presented, you don’t need to go through the same process again. Just select the Power BI visuals you need to update and hit the Refresh button. Any applied formatting will be kept.
Embed Power BI reports and dashboards in PowerPoint, Word and Outlook

Top 3 ways PowerBI Tiles Pro can improve the way you work

It’s been a little over a year since we launched PowerBI Tiles Pro, the first product in DevScope’s growing PowerBI suite and arguably its most successful so far. Over 40.000 people worldwide already use PowerBI Tiles Pro but given Microsoft Power BI’s ever-growing install-base, hopefully, many more will jump on board in the near future.

For those willing to give PowerBI Tiles Pro a go, we came up with a top 3 that illustrates how much it can improve the life of its users and, hopefully, gain a few more in the process.

If you haven’t downloaded PowerBI Tiles Pro yet, you can do it clicking here.

Without any further ado, here are the top 3 ways PowerBI Tiles Pro can improve the way you work:

1. PowerBI Tiles Pro lets you embed Power BI reports in PowerPoint, Word, and Outlook

Kicking off our list is the whole reason we created PowerBI Tiles Pro in the first place: adding Power BI reports to Microsoft Office documents.

Just like many professionals, we used to insert Excel spreadsheets on PowerPoint presentations and deal with the many problems associated with it, namely formatting and inserting new data. The “alternative” was **gasp** taking several screenshots of said data, saving, and manually inserting them.

We had to come up with a solution for everyone’s woes, but since we were transitioning from Excel to Power BI, we ended up developing for the latter.

PowerBI Tiles Pro gives professionals a massive advantage over the “classic” Excel + other Office program combo:  inserting real-time data from Power BI on a PowerPoint presentation, Word document or Email in Outlook. Doing it in a few seconds without any hassle is just the icing on the cake.

If you’re using the desktop version of PowerBI Tiles Pro, you can instead add high-quality screenshots of your reports or dashboards. Either way, say goodbye to those time-consuming low-quality screenshots.

2. PowerBI Tiles Pro instantly updates your data

Another recurring problem of anyone who does presentations on a regular basis is updating everything to the latest numbers. Replacing the values on a single Excel table doesn’t take that long, but doing it on dozens or even hundreds of PowerPoint slides or Word documents can easily consume several hours of one’s day. With PowerBI Tiles Pro, a single click of the Refresh button is all it takes to get everything up to date. Oh, and all themes, formatting or styles applied to the previous version of your data will remain the same!

3. PowerBI Tiles Pro lets you apply Power BI filters without ever leaving Office

How many times were you interrupted mid-presentation to dig deeper into the subject you’re presenting or explore a particular figure? And in how many of those times did you have to minimize your presentation and hastily open Excel or Power BI to search for what the audience was asking you? Yeah, we’ve been there as well.

On the online version of PowerBI Tiles Pro, you can apply any filters to your data inside PowerPoint, Word or Outlook as if you were running Power BI. On the desktop version, you just need to click “Add PowerBI” to tweak with the Filters pane at your discretion. Apply whichever filters you wish, hit “add items” and show the data to your audience.

You can try both the online and desktop versions for free or purchase a license for only 49.99€.
If you haven’t downloaded PowerBI Tiles Pro yet, you can do it clicking here.

Embed Power BI reports and dashboards in PowerPoint, Word and Outlook

How SPAR’s sales rose by double digits with Power BI and Azure

Making the right decisions by gathering and centralizing data from over 100 stores.
The client:

Founded in 1932 by Adriaan van Well in the Netherlands, SPAR is an international group of independently owned and operated retailers and wholesalers who work together in partnership with the SPAR brand. There are over 12.500 SPAR stores in 42 countries worldwide, over 100 of which located in Portugal.

How SPAR’s sales rose by double digits with Power BI and Azure

The problem:

As with most retailers of considerable size, SPAR collected massive amounts of data regarding their operation but accessing and crossing it wasn’t always an easy task. The retail sector can be ruthless to those unable to identify and grab opportunities, and SPAR had a huge need to analyze pretty much everything from suppliers to warehouses, sellers, marketing, finance, operations, etc. Everyone at the company had their own perception of the business, but there simply wasn’t enough information to make educated guesses. SPAR scheduled a meeting with DevScope to find out how we could help.

There is only one chance to make a great first impression so, after a brief PowerPoint presentation, we put words into action and took the liberty to connect a few of SPAR’s databases and extract some data previously deemed unreachable.

SPAR wanted to build a Reporting and Analytics (RAP) platform that could enable its end-users to be decision makers. The company’s ultimate goal was to increase its teams’ efficiency but, in order to do so, they had to equip them with proper tools to not only analyze data but also act on it.

SPAR's average sales report on Power BI
SPAR’s average sales report on Power BI
The Solution:

DevScope’s proposed solution used Microsoft® Power BI™ to display data and was built on Azure Cloud Services, namely Azure Gateways and Service BUS to read and sync all business data stored in SPAR’s on-premise data sources.

This internal network was set up using several Excel files, handled and updated by SPAR’s management teams, and SQL Server, namely:

  • MaxiRetail SPAR’s business info is synched and stored in a central SQL Server with data from POS and BackOffice systems at each of their stores;
  • Power BI Data Warehouse – A SQL Server database was set up in order to speed up the insertion of thousands of daily registries to Power BI™;
  • Microsoft Dynamics NAVSPAR’s ERP feeds the BI SPAR model with info as well;

SPAR Cloud Services with Azure and Power BI

There were a few obstacles along the way, though. Right off the bat, real-time analytics for Big Data became a challenge given SPAR’s data complexity and quantity.

SPAR has several departments (marketing, commercial, logistics, operations, finance, etc.) and the company isn’t centralized in several parts of the country. Each team had used Excel spreadsheets to manage their daily work, and crossing information between them to get a sense of their daily activity was nearly impossible.

SPAR processes thousands of daily transactions on thousands of items multiplied by 365 days throughout the year, all accumulated and spread across several PCs and servers. This kind of chaos made decision-making in a timely way very difficult.

Identifying which products’ sales were down during a given period could only be done if the server was updated daily and could take SPAR between 2 to 3 hours. After that, they would have to figure out where that scenario had the biggest impact, which could take an additional 3 hours. One person alone could spend a whole day providing a couple of numbers.

SPAR's YToY store sales report on Power BI
SPAR’s YoY store sales report on Power BI

We would have a new problem on our hands the following day without taking care of the previous ones. We were driving without any orientation, and a lot of speed and no guidance is a disaster. Small teams with the proper tools are able to do what large teams can’t when if they don’t have access to centralized data.

– Francisco Portugal, SPAR Administrator

We managed to deliver and implement the proposed solution on time, and our Business Intelligence team’s dedication was full, so much that a strong connection between both companies persists to this day. DevScope still keeps a dedicated consultant on site at SPAR who has effectively become part of the company.


SPAR’s sales grew by double digits in just a few months. DevScope’s Power BI™ solution allowed the retailer to have a more detailed and informed view of their sales, prices, margins, and stock, and identify some key opportunities, such as products with a large profit margin but low in stock.

SPAR's store performance report on Power BI


DevScope and Microsoft® Power BI™ have become an integral part of the management team at SPAR, and the company stopped depending on a SQL manager to extract data from queries. Pedro Fardilha, our consultant working with SPAR in loco, closely monitors the company’s activity on a weekly -and often daily – basis.

Today we have one single source, one single way of doing business based on data!

– Francisco Portugal, SPAR Administrator

SPAR no longer needs to go with its gut about business – decisions are now based on facts and backed by numbers.

How SPAR’s sales rose by double digits with Power BI and Azure

What we did:
  • Centralized SPAR’s information by connecting SQL Server and Excel databases to Azure Cloud Services;
  • Used Power BI™ to give SPAR a more detailed and informed view of the company’s teams’ activities;
Products used:

Do you want to learn more about DevScope’s solutions? Contact us.
Are you a DevScope client and would like to have your case study featured here? Get in touch.

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PowerBI Robots 101: everything you need to get started

We are quite excited about PowerBI Robots, our first product release in 2018.
Whether this is your first contact with PowerBI Robots or you already know what it does, this 101 guide will hopefully provide all you need to get started with little to no trouble.

What is PowerBI Robots?

PowerBI Robots is a brand new tool for Microsoft® Power BI™ that uses Robot Process Automation (RPA) to automatically and recurrently take screenshots of dashboards and reports and deliver them to a recipient. The screenshots are saved as an image or PDF file and instantly sent to an email, a SharePoint™ library or a file system. This flexibility allows Microsoft® Power BI™ data to, effectively, be displayed on virtually any device connected to the internet and running a browser.

PowerBI Robots may be used for free without any limitations, but all images and PDF files will display a red watermark. A license that grants unlimited use and removes the watermark can be purchased for 899€ at the DevScope store.

Display your Power BI visuals on a TV

Who should use PowerBI Robots?

PowerBI Robots is especially useful to professionals who:

  • need to send or receive regular updates on the most recent business intelligence data wherever they are;
  • need to broadcast BI data on a large screen without a dedicated computer, such as a smart TV or video wall;
  • need to share data from the Power BI™ account they manage with several other users;
  • manage a business with several areas and need to recurrently send diverse Power BI™ metrics to different middle managers;

Send your Power BI reports and dashboards by email, to the web or to a SharePoint library

1 – Creating a new playlist on PowerBI Robots

In order to schedule automatic screenshots with PowerBI Robots, go to the web agent and click “Playlist” on the side menu (the default choice). From here, you will be able to create new automation playlists, as well as search and access previous ones.

Send your Power BI reports and dashboards by email, to the web or to a SharePoint library

To create a new automation playlist, simply click the green “Create” button. On the first tab (“General”) you must name the playlist, choose the screenshot output format (an image, or single or multiple PDF files), set the screen size, the screen-captures recurrence (i.e. your data’s refresh rate) and how you want your data delivered (“Send to”).

Send your Power BI reports and dashboards by email, to the web or to a SharePoint library

Currently, PowerBI Robots supports the following sending methods:

  • Email: deliver your Microsoft® Power BI™ reports and dashboards as high screen images or PDF files by email to as many recipients as you wish to add on the “Recipients” tab. The subject and email message must be filled in the “General” tab;
  • File System: send your Microsoft® Power BI™ reports and dashboards as high screen images or PDF files to a file system of your choice. You must enter the path to it on the “Recipients” tab;
  • SharePoint: send your Microsoft® Power BI™ reports and dashboards as high screen images or PDF files to a Microsoft® SharePoint™ library. In order to have your data delivered, you must enter the SharePoint™ URL and Listname on the “Recipients” tab;
  • PowerBI Robots Cloud: display your Microsoft® Power BI™ reports and dashboards as high screen images on any web browser. If you choose PowerBI Robots Cloud as your delivery method, you don’t need to fill in any recipients – a URL will be generated, which you can then enter on any web browser in order to watch your playlist;

After choosing your sending method, click the “Recipients” tab fill in your data recipients:

Send your Power BI reports and dashboards by email, to the web or to a SharePoint library

After you’re done, click “next” and proceed to the “Visuals” tab. Click “Add Power BI account” and a screen displaying your Microsoft® Power BI™ workspaces will pop-up. You may see all reports and dashboards contained on each by clicking the plus sign. Check the boxes to select which report pages and individual tiles you wish to send (alternatively, select them all). Select which data you wish to send and what filters you want to apply (for further instructions on how to do this, check section “3 – Personalizing a playlist on PowerBI Robots”).

Send your Power BI reports and dashboards by email, to the web or to a SharePoint library

All selected dashboards and reports are displayed on the left of the screen, under the “Search” bar. You can change their title, set their size and apply report and page level filters to any reports by clicking the icon next to the PBI Url field of each. After selecting which Power BI™ dashboards and reports you wish to add to your playlist, click “Create” to finish creating your playlist.


You must now proceed to install and configure the PowerBI Robots agent in order to synchronize the playlists you’ve created.You must now proceed to install and configure the PowerBI Robots agent in order to synchronize the playlists you’ve created.

2- Downloading, Installing and Configuring the PowerBI Robots desktop agent

After setting up your playlists, you must install and configure the PowerBI Robots desktop agent. If you don’t do it, PowerBI Robots simply won’t work. This agent is used to set things up and synchronize your playlists. It does not collect any information – everything is stored locally, on the user’s infrastructure. The PowerBI Robots desktop agent can be downloaded on the website or by clicking this link.

After downloading the PowerBI Robots desktop agent, extract the file, click it and follow the steps on the installer. Once the installation process is over, open PowerBI Robots Config and follow these steps:

1- On the “General” tab:

Send your Power BI reports and dashboards by email, to the web or to a SharePoint library

  •  add your PowerBI Robots account ID (you can find it on the top right corner of the web agent) and click “Synchronize” (IMPORTANT: every time you add, edit or remove a playlist from PowerBI Robots, you must open the agent and click “Synchronize” for the changes to take place);
  • Log in to your Microsoft® Power BI™ Account;
  • Check the Service Configuration;

If you wish to, you can also test your playlists here. Click the “Test PBIRobots Playlist Execution” button, and the following window will pop up:


Select the playlist you want to test and its rendering defaults. Your images or PDF files are stored at the location of your choice if “Override Target Delivery of Playlist” is checked.

2- On the “Providers” tab:

Send your Power BI reports and dashboards by email, to the web or to a SharePoint library

If an email or a SharePoint™ library is your playlist’s recipient, you can configure them here or ask your IT manager to do it.

If you wish to use your Office 365 account, you must ensure you have the following configuration:

  • SMTP Host: smtp.office365.com;
  • SMTP port: 587;
  • SMTP security box has to be checked;

If you wish to use your Gmail account, you must ensure you have the following configuration:

  • SMTP Host: smtp.gmail.com
  • SMTP port: 587
  • SMTP security box has to be checked

If “The SMTP server requires a secure connection, or the client was not authenticated” message is displayed, that means your Gmail account is blocking the access. Check your inbox for an email from Gmail Security Center and follow the instructions to allow the access.

3- On the “Service” tab:

You can choose between using a built-in Local System user or a Specific user. For the latter, make sure that specified user has read and write permissions to the installation folder (by default, C:\Program Files\DevScope\PBIRobots).


Save all changes and close PowerBI Robots Config.
And voila, your PowerBI Robots agent’s configuration is complete! Your playlists can now be sent.

3- Personalizing a playlist on PowerBI Robots

One of the biggest advantages of PowerBI Robots is the ability to send different data screenshots to different recipients from the same Microsoft® Power BI™ account.

In order to illustrate how you can take full advantage of this function, we will use a retail chain as an example. Let’s imagine you’re the general manager and need to send the “Annual Sales Report” to 3 of your stores, but don’t want to show each store manager how well their counterparts did. In order to do so, select the third tab (“Visuals”), add your Microsoft® Power BI™ account and select all reports and dashboards you wish to send. This is where we would gather our total sales data. Add whatever reports and dashboards you wish and hit the close button.

Send your Power BI reports and dashboards by email, to the web or to a SharePoint library

You can now apply any page level filters to the reports by clicking the filter icon next to the PBI Url on each. All of your recipients will receive the same data filtered this way unless you make some changes on the next tab.

Send your Power BI reports and dashboards by email, to the web or to a SharePoint library

On the fourth tab (“Filters”) you can further personalize your data by setting additional filters to each recipient of your reports. This is where we filter your “Annual Sales” data according to each store so each manager won’t be able to access the others’ results.

To filter data individually, select one of the reports under the search bar on the left and click the filter icon alongside the recipient you wish to send personalized data to, on the right. Apply any filters as you see fit.


Although dashboards can’t be changed, your Power BI™ reports can be fully personalized by selecting which data is shown to each recipient.

4- Displaying a PowerBI Robots playlist on any screen connected to the internet

One neat feature of PowerBI Robots is the ability to display screenshots with data from Microsoft® Power BI™ on virtually any screen connected to the internet. This is especially useful to those who need their data presented on large screens, such as smart TVs or video walls – but taking away the necessity of wasting resources connecting a computer running Microsoft® Power BI™ to them. In order to do this,  select PowerBI Robots Cloud as the delivery system (next to “Send to”) on the “General” tab.

Send your Power BI reports and dashboards by email, to the web or to a SharePoint library

As with all delivery systems on PowerBI Robots, you can set the screen size and data recurrence (on the “General” tab) and apply any filters to your reports (“Visuals” and “Filters” tabs). After you’re finished, click update and you’ll be back on the default “Playlist” screen. Search for the playlists to be delivered to PowerBI Robots Cloud, click the collapsible button “Actions” and then “View Slideshow”.


A window with the URL will pop up.


Copy and paste it into any browser to view your PowerBI Robots playlist running. You can also set the interval between images from this screen.

Send your Power BI reports and dashboards by email, to the web or to a SharePoint library

Thank you for your using PowerBI Robots and making it through this (extensive) 101.

If you still have any questions regarding PowerBI Robots, please check the product’s FAQs, the helper on the web agent or contact us by email.

Send Emails, PDFs or broadcast from Power BI with PowerBI Robots