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Upgrade your classic workspaces to the new workspace experience public preview is rolling out

The Power BI new workspace experience has been General Available since April 2019. It offers improved security management, more flexible workspace roles, and new capabilities like a contact list to help you support your teams. Using the new workspace experience also enables several major features like shared and certified datasets and large models, to name a few. 

Today, we enabled workspace upgrade for all commercial cloud customers as an opt-in Public Preview. The roll-out may still be proceeding so if you don’t see it just yet don’t worry, it’s coming. For national cloud customers, we’re expecting to enable it in your tenants in early January 2020.

Below you can see how to find the upgrade option in the workspace settings pane if you’re a workspace Admin.

How to prepare for the upgrade

What should I do after upgrading?

You should do several things after you upgrade. It’s best to plan them before you upgrade:

Review the access list and understand the permissions after upgrade.Review the contact list and make sure it’s set as you desire.If you’ve not already, learn about the new workspace experience.

Who can upgrade a workspace and how does it work? 

Workspace admins will be able to upgrade workspaces they own. Power BI admins can see which workspaces are classic workspaces by using the workspaces list in the Power BI admin portal. They can then work with workspace admins to upgrade the desired workspaces.

Watch the video below to see the upgrade in action. Scroll forward to 17 minutes and 26 seconds to the workspace upgrade section.

What is the user experience after an upgrade?

For end users, the upgrade keeps things like they were before you upgraded the workspace.  The URLs and item identifiers of the workspace, the items it contains, and the app you published from it don’t change. Features like data refresh, subscriptions, and so forth keep working as they did before the upgrade.

Additionally, upgrading your Power BI workspace doesn’t change or remove the Office 365 Group. Any of the Teams, SharePoint Sites, OneNote notebooks, or other things tied to the Office 365 Groups continue to exist and work as they did before. 

Your end users will need to refresh their web browsers after the upgrade happens, so you may want to upgrade at off-hours.

There are important differences if the workspace has installed or published content packs, these are described below at a high level, and more extensively in the documentation.

What are the biggest changes to be aware of after upgrade?

Firstly, your workspace in Power BI isn’t tied to the Office 365 Group anymore. That means that if you delete the Office 365 Group, the workspace won’t be deleted. Also, if you delete the workspace, the Office 365 Group won’t be deleted.

The workspace access list and roles assigned to users are updated.  You’ll want to review these after upgrade to make sure you understand the changes. The Owners of the Office 365 Group are added as Admins of the workspace. The members of the Office 365 Group are not added individually to the workspace access list. Instead, the Office 365 Group is added with the appropriate workspace role. 

In most cases, the Office 365 Group will be given the Member role. However, if your workspace is ‘read-only’ then they’ll be given the Viewer role. 

You will want to review the permissions after upgrade section in the documentation to familiarize yourself with the details. 

What happens if I’m still using content packs?

The new workspace experience doesn’t support content packs. Instead, use apps and shared datasets to distribute content in the workspace. We recommend removing published or installed content packs from the workspace prior to upgrade. 

However, if there are published or installed content packs when you upgrade, the upgrade process attempts to preserve the content. The top thing you should know is that we copy the content so it’s still available to users, but it won’t update any more. Because we copy the content URLs to items in content pack will change so you’ll need to distribute new URL to anyone you shared those items to. There is no way to restore the content pack or the association of content to the content pack after you upgrade. If you are still using content packs read through the documentation which covers what happens in detail. 

Can I move my organization entirely off classic workspaces?

The public preview allows upgrading individual workspace. It doesn’t provide tools for bulk upgrade. New Office 365 Groups will continue to be listed as workspaces in Power BI. For organizations wanting to move their workspaces, the documentation offers some suggested approaches for doing so. 

Can I go back to a classic workspace after the upgrade?

For 30 days after the upgrade, you can use the go back to classic workspace option to return to an Office 365 Group based workspace. When you do this, some aspects of your classic workspace won’t be restored, like content packs.  You’ll want to learn more about going back to a classic workspace since there are a number of cases when you won’t be able to go back.

What is the Viewer role and how can I use it?

The Viewer role allows a user to view all the reports, dashboards, and Excel workbooks in the workspace. The role makes it easier for teams to share with colleagues who need to see all the content in the workspace, but don’t need to edit or add new content.

The users see the workspace in their workspaces list. If you assign the workspace to a Power BI Premium capacity, users with the Viewer role do not need a Power BI Pro license to view the content in the workspace. Some teams may find it easier to just give their colleagues the Viewer role than to publish and keep an app updated.

Users with the Viewer role can export summarized data from reports and datasets they have access to. This is because under the covers they are given the Read permission to the reports and the datasets in the workspace. However, to export summarized data or to Analyze in Excel, you’ll need to give them the Build permission on the datasets you want them to use. If you expect your users will need that, it’s likely easier to publish an app since this will give them Build permission on all the desired dataset, without you managing permission on each dataset manually.

It’s well worth familiarizing yourself with the details of the new workspace roles.

How can I tell the two types of workspaces apart?

In the workspaces list, if you expand the “…” menu, you’ll see the difference in available options. New workspace experiences workspaces show options for Workspace Settings and Workspace Access. If you configured a Workspace OneDrive, you’ll see the Files option too.  Classic workspaces show different options including Calendar, Members, Conversations, and a few others.

When you open the workspace’s content list, you’ll see that new workspaces have new options for Access, Settings in the top actions bar.

We’ve tried to keep consistency for the experiences across workspace types, so most users don’t notice there was a change and to minimize retraining costs.

Some opinions expressed in this article may be those of a guest author and not necessarily Analytikus. Staff authors are listed in

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