An abbreviated look at Power BI Document Generation Solutions – Model Documenter

Power BI Tooling Integration

Fortunately for the Power BI Community Power BI Desktop natively supports third party integration. From this fertile soil a rich assortment of product offerings has taken root and developed. In this blog we explore the first of a couple of free Power BI document generation offerings which collate Power BI’s underlying model metadata to surface a holistic understanding of the underlying solution.

Power BI Model Documenter

First cab off the rank is Data-Marc’s Power BI Model Documenter. Noteworthy is that this tool provides documentation of the source Power BI solution within a Power BI Desktop experience. Therefore, all the familiar features and design opportunities that Power BI Desktop has are available to customise the documentation output.

You can launch Model Documenter by selecting the like-named link via the inbuilt External Tools menu item in Power BI Desktop. This runs a Power Shell script that opens a dedicated Power BI Desktop which references the current Power BI solution model metadata. Users can then navigate through a tabbed interface to access each perspective model dataset.

These include:

  1. Info
  2. Tables
  3. Columns
  4. Measures
  5. Relationships
  6. Security

Screen grab showing model documentation columns in Model Documenter

One interesting feature in the Relationships page is the table relationships widget which highlights the different relations between tables. Moving any table within the diagram dynamically reorganises tables and relations which gives this visual an organic lifelike character.

Screen grab showing model documentation relationships in Model Documenter

One advantage of Model Documenter’s Power BI integration is that it is readily published in the same Workspace as the source Power BI solution. This approach is an ideal solution where application and documentation offerings need to be centralised in the same workspace. Model Documenter currently only exports to pdf and pbit formats. However, this limitation may be addressed by using export features offered by other Power BI external tools.

Conclusion

Power BI Model Documenter is an extensible Power BI documentation tool that gives users a familiar development experience within a Power BI Desktop framework. Model Documenter is open source under a MIT license and can therefore be branded as a vendor or client specific solution. If you are in the market for an easy-to-use, integrated Power BI documentation experience, then Power BI Model Documenter may be an ideal solution worth investigating.