Power BI Desktop project report folder


Power BI Desktop projects is currently in preview.

This article describes the files and subfolders in a Microsoft Power BI Desktop project's Report folder. The files and subfolders here represent a Power BI report. Depending on your project, the report folder can include:

1 - This file is required.

Not every project report folder includes all of the files and subfolders described here.

Report files


Contains report settings that apply only for the current user and local computer. It should be included in gitIgnore or other source control exclusions. By default, Git ignores this file.

For more information, refer to the localSettings.json schema document.


A subfolder that contains metadata for custom visuals in the report. Power BI supports three kinds of custom visuals:

  • Organizational store visuals - Organizations can approve and deploy custom visuals to Power BI for their organization. To learn more, see Organization store.
  • AppSource Power BI visuals - Also known as "Public custom visuals". These visuals are available from Microsoft AppSource. Report developers can install these visuals directly from Power BI Desktop.
  • Custom visual files - Also known as "Private custom visuals". The files can be loaded into the report by uploading a pbiviz package.

Only private custom visuals are loaded into the CustomVisuals folder. AppSource and Organization visuals are loaded automatically by Power BI Desktop.


A subfolder that includes resource files specific to the report and loaded by the user, like custom themes, images, and custom visuals (pbiviz files).

Developers are responsible for the files here and changes are supported. For example, you can change a file and after a Power BI Desktop restart, the new file is loaded into the report. This folder can unblock some useful scenarios, like:

  • Authoring custom themes outside of Power BI Desktop by using the public schema.
  • Applying batch changes by changing the resource file on multiple reports. For example, you can switch the corporate custom theme, change between light and dark themes, and change logo images.

Every resource file must have a corresponding entry in the report.json file, which during preview doesn't support editing. Edits to RegisteredResources files are only supported for already loaded resources that cause Power BI Desktop to register the resource in report.json.


Contains data model diagrams describing the structure of the dataset associated with the report. During preview, this file doesn't support external editing.


Contains the overall definition of a report and core settings. This file also holds the reference to the dataset used by the report. Power BI Desktop can open a pbir file directly, just the same as if the report were opened from a pbip file. Opening a pbir also opens the dataset alongside if there's a relative reference using byPath.

Example definition.pbir:

  "version": "1.0",
  "datasetReference": {
    "byPath": {
      "path": "../Sales.Dataset"
    "byConnection": null

The definition includes the datasetReference property, which references the dataset used in the report. The reference can be either:

byPath - Specifies a relative path to the target dataset folder. Absolute paths aren't supported. A backslash () is used as a folder separator. When used, Power BI Desktop also opens the dataset in full edit mode.

byConnection - Specifies a remote dataset in the Power BI service by using a connection string. When a byConnection reference is used, Power BI Desktop doesn't open the dataset in edit mode.

When using a byConnection reference, the following properties must be specified:

Property Description
connectionString The connection string referring to the remote dataset.
pbiModelDatabaseName The remote dataset ID.
connectionType Type of connection. For service remote dataset, this value should be pbiServiceXmlaStyleLive.
pbiModelVirtualServerName An internal property that should have the value, sobe_wowvirtualserver.

Example using byConnection:

  "version": "1.0",
  "datasetReference": {
    "byPath": null,
    "byConnection": {
      "connectionString": "Data Source=\"powerbi://api.powerbi.com/v1.0/myorg/Datasets\";Initial Catalog=Sales;Integrated Security=ClaimsToken",
      "pbiServiceModelId": null,
      "pbiModelVirtualServerName": "sobe_wowvirtualserver",
      "pbiModelDatabaseName": "e244efd3-e253-4390-be28-6be45d9da47e",
      "connectionType": "pbiServiceXmlaStyleLive",
      "name": null

For more information, refer to the definition.pbir schema document.


Contains report appearance and behavior settings when rendering on a mobile device. This file doesn't support external editing.


Defines a report including visuals, page layout, and intended interactions. During preview, this file doesn't support external editing.


Identifies the folder as a source control representation of a service item. To learn more, see Git integration source code format - Config file.

For more information, refer to the item.config.json schema document.


Contains attributes that define the item. To learn more, see Git integration source code format - Metadata file

For more information, refer to the item.metadata.json schema document.

See also

Power BI Desktop project dataset folder
Power BI Desktop projects