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A picture in PowerBI is worth a thousand words

If you want to use images in PowerBI, for example, you want to show product pictures, PowerBI supports two methods of doing so.


Option 1 – Use Images stored in a dataset

The images are stored inside an SQL table in a binary column. we upload them as part of the dataset and use them in PowerBI.

A step-by-step guide here:

However, this option only allows for small images. PowerBI limitation per field is ~32000 characters.

For larger images, we need to split them over a few rows, as described here: https://blog.crossjoin.co.uk/2019/05/19/storing-large-images-in-power-bi-datasets/

Pros – no need to manage another source for the images

Cons – Your dataset will grow, and if you are on a pro license, which is limited to 1GB per model, this may be an issue.


Option 2 – Storing the images in an online storage

In this option, we store the images on an online storage, such as Azure Blob Storage,

And only store the file URL in the dataset.

However, currently PowerBI only supports publicly accessible storage, which may be an issue if the images contain sensitive data.

We need to add another level of security, by adding a SAS token to the file URL.

This solution is described here:

Pros – Smaller dataset. Support for large images without splitting them.

Cons – We need to manage an external storage, and update the image URL in the dataset if the token is expired, or you change the file location.

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