There has been a lot of excitement since the launch of the Power Automate visual (in preview) for Power BI — and rightly so. If you missed the announcement, you can check it out here. I won’t go into too much detail about the benefits this new visual brings to Power BI. For example, you can export reports, send reports by email, and (most commonly) allow users to refresh Power BI datasets from within the report rather than waiting for the scheduled refresh to trigger the dataset refresh. Keep in mind that if you are using Power BI Pro, then the 8 times refresh restriction is still applicable if you refresh the dataset using Power Automate. For Power BI Premium users or Premium Per User, you can refresh the dataset 48 times a day.
What is automatic page refresh (APR)?
What I have seen is that automatic page refresh (APR) is a lesser known feature, but I have found it can be very powerful. I have used APR in few cases; one situation is where Power App was embedded in Power BI and a dataset refresh was executed from Power App after a user entered or updated a record using Power App. Then, APR was used to refresh the report page to show the changes in the data.
In a nutshell, you can set the automatic refresh of a page (the visuals on a page) at a fixed interval or when a change is detected. For example, check the customer count every 30 seconds and if a new customer is added, only then refresh the dataset. You can read all about automatic page refresh here.
Power Automate Visual and APR – they work well together!
Back to the original question: I have seen a lot of discussion surrounding the Power Automate visual. Users are refreshing a dataset within the Power BI report, but after the dataset has been successfully refreshed they do not see the changes on the report or the visuals do not depict the updated data. This is where APR comes into the picture. If the APR for a page is configured using fixed interval or change detection, the APR will refresh the visuals and the user will see the visual with the updated data once the dataset is refreshed using Power Automate.
Overall, APR bcomes important if the refresh of a dataset through Power Automate is embedded in the report. Otherwise, users have to manually refresh the pages in the Power BI Service.
Note: it is helpful to read about restrictions on refresh intervals before you start using APR.