How to Install Power BI on Windows and Mac

Power BI, Microsoft's interactive data visualization and analytics tool, allows users to create reports and dashboards by connecting to a wide variety of data sources. With its powerful features, Power BI is a go-to tool for individuals and businesses looking to make informed decisions based on data insights. This guide provides step-by-step instructions on how to install Power BI on both Windows Operating System (OS) and macOS, ensuring you can leverage the full potential of Power BI regardless of your operating platform.

Introduction to Power BI Installation

Before diving into the installation process, it's essential to understand the system requirements and installation prerequisites for Power BI. Microsoft provides Power BI Desktop for Windows users and a web-based Power BI service accessible through browsers for Mac users. While Windows users can benefit from the robust desktop application, Mac users can also utilize Power BI's capabilities fully through the Power BI service online.

Installation on Windows OS

System Requirements:

  • Windows 7 / Windows Server 2008 R2, or later
  • .NET 4.5
  • Internet Explorer 10 or above

Power BI Download for Windows

Step 1: Visit the Official Power BI Website

The first step to downloading Power BI Desktop is to visit the official Power BI website. Microsoft offers Power BI Desktop for free, making it accessible for all users interested in data visualization and analytics.

Power BI Official Website

Power BI Official Website

Step 2: Navigate to the Download Page

Once on the Power BI website, look for the "Download" section. You will find options for different Power BI services. Select "Power BI Desktop." This selection ensures that you're downloading the correct version for Windows.

Step 3: Choose Your Version

You'll be prompted to choose between a 32-bit and a 64-bit version of Power BI Desktop. Select the one that matches your Windows operating system. If you're unsure, you can check this by going to your system settings under "System Type."

Step 4: Start the Download

After selecting the appropriate version, click on the "Download" button. The download will start automatically, and you'll see the file appear in your downloads folder once it's completed.

Power BI Desktop SetUp File

Power BI Desktop SetUp File

Installing Power BI Desktop

Step 1: Locate the Downloaded File

Navigate to your downloads folder and find the Power BI Desktop setup file. It will typically be named something like "PBIDesktopSetup."

Step 2: Run the Installer

Double-click on the setup file to start the installation process. You'll be greeted with the Power BI Desktop Setup Wizard, which will guide you through the installation.

Power BI Desktop Installer

Power BI Desktop Installer

Step 3: Follow the Setup Wizard

The Setup Wizard is straightforward. You'll be asked to accept the license terms and choose an installation directory. The default settings are usually sufficient for most users.

Step 4: Complete the Installation

Once you've followed all the steps in the Setup Wizard, click "Install" to begin the installation process. The installer will show a progress bar, and you'll be notified once the installation is complete.

Finishing the installation

Finishing the installation

Launching Power BI Desktop

After installation, you can launch Power BI Desktop from the Start Menu. Simply search for "Power BI Desktop" and click on the app to open it. On the first launch, you might be prompted to sign in. You can use your Microsoft account or create a new one if you don't already have an account.

Power BI Desktop Interface

Power BI Desktop Interface

Installing Power BI on Mac

Before diving into the installation process, it's crucial to understand that Power BI Desktop, developed by Microsoft, is primarily designed for Windows OS. This discrepancy leads many to believe that it's impossible or overly complicated to run Power BI on a Mac. Thankfully, this is not the case. With advancements in software solutions and a bit of creativity, installing Power BI on a Mac is not only possible but also straightforward.

Power BI Desktop Download For Mac

The first step towards using Power BI on a Mac is to utilize a Windows emulation or virtualization software. There are several options available, but two of the most popular methods include using Parallels Desktop or Boot Camp. Both approaches have their benefits and limitations, which we'll explore below.

Using Parallels Desktop

Parallels Desktop allows you to run Windows alongside your macOS without rebooting, making it a convenient option for those who frequently switch between macOS and Windows applications. To use Power BI through Parallels Desktop, follow these steps:

  • Download and Install Parallels Desktop: Purchase a license and download the software from the official website.
  • Install Windows on Parallels: Follow the instructions to install a Windows 10 or later version.
  • Download Power BI Desktop for Windows: Visit the official Microsoft Power BI website and download the Power BI Desktop application.
  • Install Power BI: Run the installer within your Windows environment on Parallels and follow the setup prompts.

Using Boot Camp

Boot Camp, on the other hand, requires you to reboot your Mac into Windows, providing a more native and performant environment for Windows applications. However, it requires partitioning your hard drive, which might not be ideal for all users. The steps include:

  • Prepare a Windows ISO File: Download a Windows 10 or later ISO file from the Microsoft website.
  • Open Boot Camp Assistant: Found in your Utilities folder, Boot Camp Assistant guides you through the process of partitioning your hard drive and installing Windows.
  • Install Windows: Follow the on-screen instructions to allocate space and install Windows.
  • Download and Install Power BI Desktop: Once in Windows, navigate to the Power BI website, download, and install the application as you would on any Windows machine.

Tips for a Smooth Power BI Experience on Mac

  • Ensure Adequate Storage: Both methods require significant storage space. Ensure your Mac has enough space to accommodate the Windows OS and Power BI installations.
  • Consider Performance: Parallels Desktop might consume more system resources. If performance is a priority, Boot Camp could be the better choice.
  • Stay Updated: Keep both your macOS and Windows installations updated to ensure compatibility and security.


Power BI Desktop is a powerful tool for data analysis and visualization, and its availability for both Windows and Mac OS ensures that users across platforms can harness its capabilities. Whether you choose to download Power BI Desktop for Windows directly, use the Power BI Service on a Mac, or install it through Windows emulation, you're now equipped to start your data analysis journey. Explore Power BI's features, connect to your data sources, and unlock insights that can drive your business forward.

Remember, the first step to mastering Power BI is installing it correctly. By following this guide, you're well on your way to becoming proficient in one of the most powerful data analysis tools available today. Happy analyzing!

Key Takeaways on How to Install/Download Power BI

  • For Windows users, Power BI Desktop is available and requires Windows 7/Server 2008 R2 or later, .NET 4.5, and Internet Explorer 10+.
  • To install on Windows: Visit the Power BI website, navigate to the Download section, select Power BI Desktop, choose the correct version (32-bit or 64-bit), download, and run the installer.
  • After installation on Windows, Power BI Desktop can be launched from the Start Menu, requiring a Microsoft account to sign in.
  • Power BI Desktop does not natively support macOS, but Mac users can utilize it through virtualization with Parallels Desktop or Boot Camp, or by using the web-based Power BI service.
  • Parallels Desktop allows running Windows alongside macOS without rebooting, while Boot Camp requires partitioning the hard drive and rebooting into Windows.
  • Key considerations for Mac users include ensuring adequate storage and deciding between Parallels Desktop for convenience or Boot Camp for performance.
  • Proper installation of Power BI is crucial for accessing its full capabilities and starting the data analysis journey.
Module 1: Getting Started with Power BIHow to Install Power BI on Windows and Mac

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