I very often hear people asking if it is possible to use Source Control or Version Control with Power BI (PBIX) files, and whilst I was working with a customer this week, I found a way to enable source control.

Wait, wait before you go running off and reading the rest of the blog post, let me first say that there is still a manual process, but I feel that it is not too difficult once I have got it all set up.

In Part 1 I am going to go through the process of configurations and installations in order to be able to Version Control my PBIX files.

In Part 2, I will show you how I do the version control, and find older versions etc.

And YES, the * meant that if you have under 5 users you can do this for free.

Source Control setup using Azure DevOps

The first thing I had to do was to sign up for Azure DevOps

A quick note is that I am by no means an Azure DevOps expert, it is all new to me in terms of setting this up. (If someone has got more information please let me know so that I can update this section)

Did you know that the first 5 users using Azure Dev Ops can use it for free?

Here is the URL I used to sign up: https://azure.microsoft.com/en-au/pricing/details/devops/azure-devops-services/

  • I clicked on Start for free.
  • I then signed in with my work account
  • I was then prompted to Name my DevOps Organization and set the time zone
    • I clicked Continue
  • This then let me know it was busy
  • Once that was completed, I then had to create my first project
    • My understanding is that a Project is an area where all the artefacts for that project will stored.
  • I gave my Project the name of Data Analytics
    • And then clicked on Create project
  • Once completed I was then presented with the following below.

What I found is that in order to get the data into Visual Studio I first had to create a folder in the Repo, which I explain below

  • In my project I clicked on Repos
  • I then went to New, clicked on the drop-down arrow and selected Folder
  • I then gave it a Folder Name of Power BI PBIX
    • I then clicked on Check in
  • I could now see the folder under my Repos

I now have setup and configured my Azure DevOps

Visual Studio Installation

I am aware that you are no longer limited to only using Visual Studio to connect to Azure DevOps, you can use GIT and a whole host of other version control pieces of software.

Personally, for me, I have been using Visual Studio for a long time, it is where I am comfortable and there is a Free version of Visual Studio that can be used too.

Please note that a reader Daniel highlighted that the use of Visual Studio Community Edition is only available for users with less than 250 users, here is the link for more information: https://visualstudio.microsoft.com/license-terms/mlt031819/

  • The free version that I installed was Visual Studio 2019 Community Edition, which I downloaded from here: https://visualstudio.microsoft.com/vs/
  • Once the above page opened, I hovered over Download Visual Studio and selected
    • Community 2019
  • This then downloaded the exe file.
  • I then opened the file to start the installation
  • I clicked on Continue on the Visual Studio Installer window
    • This downloaded the latest Visual Studio installer files.
  • I then left all the defaults and clicked Install on the far-right hand side
  • I was then prompted if I wanted to continue without any workloads, I clicked Continue
  • I could then see my downloading and installation completing
  • Once the installation has been completed, I was then prompted to sign in.
    • I clicked on Sign In
      • I was then prompted to sign in, and I used the same account I used when signing up and created the Azure DevOps project.
  • I was then prompted with the Visual Studio 2019 screen as shown below.
    • I clicked on “Continue without code”
  • I then had Visual Studio 2019 community edition installed.

Connecting & getting Repos from Azure DevOps in Visual Studio 2019 Community

In the steps below I will show you how I connected to Azure DevOps and synced my files.

  • On the bottom right-hand side, I clicked on Team Explorer
  • I then clicked on Connect under Hosted Service Providers
  • This opened the Connect to a Project window
    • It then searched in Azure DevOps for Projects that I have access to.
  • I could then see my Project that I had created earlier called Data Analytics
    • I then clicked on $/Data Analytics (Which to me was the Visual Studio connection)
      • I then had the Connect button change to blue, which I clicked on Connect
  • I could then see that I was connected to Azure DevOps
  • Following on from this I now still need to map a local folder to work on data locally, which I did by doing the following
    • I could see at the top that I am prompted to “Configure your workspace”
    • I clicked on “Configure your workspace”
    • Under the Configure Workspace I had the options as shown below.
      • The top option is the Project to connect to, as with my example it was $/Data Analytics
      • The second option is where I wanted to map the files to on my local PC
        • NOTE: I always suggest changing this to a location where you can easily find the files.
        • I clicked on the Ellipses and mapped it as shown below.
    • The Configure Workspace now looked like the following:
    • I clicked on Map & Get
    • I got confirmation that it was successful
    • I could then see that my data was mapped correctly in the Source Control Explorer
  • I now have got Azure DevOps configured

Configuring Azure DevOps to always have a comment when checking in Files

The final step in part 1 of this blog post is to set the options to always enable comments when checking in files

  • I made sure I was on the Team Explorer window
  • I then click on Settings
  • Under Team Project, I selected Source Control
  • On the Source Control Settings window, I then clicked on Check-in Policy
  • I then clicked on Add…
    • I then selected Changeset Comments Policy
    • As you can see above this policy requires that users project check-in comments.
    • I personally feel that this is vital for looking at older versions.
    • I then clicked Ok
    • I could then see the Policy Type and clicked Ok again


In this blog post I have gone through all the steps on how to setup Version Control for Power BI PBIX files using Azure DevOps.

Part 2 of the blog post I will show how I added folders and files into Version Control, check-in the files, check-out files and revert to previous versions. Please stay tuned for the next blog post.

Any comments and suggestions are always welcome.

Thanks for reading!