Can’t export to Power BI Desktop format? We have the solution

by Tashreef Shareef
Tashreef Shareef
Tashreef Shareef
Windows & Software Expert
Tashreef Shareef is a software developer turned tech writer. He discovered his interest in technology after reading a tech magazine accidentally. Now he writes about everything tech from... read more
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Power BI allows the users to explore their reports and other data to Power BI desktop format for better accessibility. While the export features work most of the time, sometimes you may face issues with the export. The full error Can’t export to Power BI Desktop format We couldn’t export to .pbix format is reported by the users in the Power BI community.

Follow the steps given in this article to fix can’t export to Power BI desktop format.

How do I export a PBIX file from Power BI?

1. Update Power BI Desktop

  1. The Power BI Desktop Client before November 2016 did not support Download Report.
  2. So, if the Download Report Menu option in Power BI service is greyed out, it means you need to update the client before attempting to export any report to desktop format.
  3. Once you have the latest version installed, follow the next set of steps to download the .pbix file.

Download the Report as a .pbix File

  1. Launch Power BI Service and open the file that you want to download.
  2. Click on File in the Menu and select Download Report.
    can't export to power bi desktop format
  3. The file will now be downloaded to your computer.
  4. When you open the file, you may see “report layout differences might exists” message showing some features may not be available in Power BI Desktop.
  5. If the issue persists, check the associated limitation for exporting a file from Power BI Service below.

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2. Considerations and Limitations

can't export to power bi desktop format

  1. To download any file, the user must have edit access to the report.
  2. The report must have been created using Power BI Desktop and since been published to the Power BI Service.
  3. Reports older than November 2016  are not downloadable.
  4. You won’t be able to download the report if it was originally created in the Power BI Service.
  5. Make sure you have the latest version of Power BI Desktop installed before opening .obix files, as older version may not support the current file format.
  6. If you don’t see download/export feature in the dashboard, ask the administrator to turn it on.
  7. You cannot download Dataset with incremental refresh as a .pbix file.

3. Server Issues at Power BI

can't export to power bi desktop format

  1. If the issue is at the Microsoft Power BI end, wait for a few hours before attempting any other solution.
  2. In this situation, the issue will resolve once the Power BI team fixes the issues on their end.
  3. Try to export the file after a few hours or in the meantime try to contact the Power BI support for more information.


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