Starting with the 1.0.0-beta.7 release, `pbi-tools` is available in two editions: Desktop and Core. This page explains the differences and provides guidance choosing the right edition for your scenario.

How to chose? - pbi-tools Desktop vs Core

  • Use Desktop edition on a Windows workstation in conjunction with Power BI Desktop.
  • Use Core edition in any unattended scenario, specifically a CI/CD server.
  • Use Core edition on a Windows workstation in order to test run deployment manifests. (Desktop and Core editions can run in parallel and can be installed into the same folder.)

Feature Comparison

  Desktop Core
OS Windows 64-Bit only Linux, Windows, MacOS 64-Bit (MacOS version would need to be built from source, Linux and Windows builds are provided on
Prerequisites .Net Framework 4.7.2, Power BI Desktop (Store, MSI, or Custom install folder via PBITOOLS_PbiInstallDir) .Net 6.0
extract Fully supported. Not supported. Planned for report-only PBIX.
compile PBIX from report-only sources, PBIT from Report+Model. Relies on Power BI Desktop PBIX from report-only sources, PBIT from Report+Model. No dependency on Power BI Desktop
deploy Fully supported. The Report/File mode implicitly relies on the compile action, hence the notes above apply. Fully supported.
generate-bim Fully supported. -generateDataSources option is not supported.
export-data Fully supported. Only supports exporting from a live PBI Desktop session via -port arg.
convert Fully supported. Fully supported.
init Fully supported. Fully supported.
git Fully supported. Fully supported.
info Fully supported. Does not return pbiBuildVersion, pbiInstalls, pbiSessions.
launch-pbi Not supported for Microsoft Store version. N/A
cache Fully supported. N/A