SSRS Quick Tip – An item with the same key has already been added

I was in the process of creating a new report in SQL Server Reporting Services today. I was loading my dataset from a stored procedure, and when I hit the “Refresh Fields” button I recieved the following error:

“Could not create a list of fields for the query. Verify that you can connect to the data source and that your query syntax is correct.”

When I clicked the details button I got this further information:

“An item with the same key has already been added.” Here’s a screen shot of my error.

Well this had me scratching my head, as I had made sure to run the stored procedure, and it executed with no errors. After doing some considerable research I finally found a question in the Technet forums that was tangentially related to the error. This gave me the clue to figure out what I had done.

In my stored procedure, I had inadvertantly included the same column name from two different tables. My query looked something like:

SELECT a.Field1, a.Field2, a.Field3, b.Field1, b.field99
FROM TableA a JOIN TableB b on a.Field1 = b.Field1

SQL handled it just fine, since I had prefixed each with an alias (table) name. But SSRS uses only the column name as the key, not table + column, so it was choking.

The fix was easy, either rename the second column, i.e. b.Field1 AS Field01 or just omit the field all together, which is what I did.

As it took me a while to figure this out, tought I’d pass it along to anyone else who might be looking.

SQL Server Integration Services for Developers

Today I presented SSIS For Developers, we looked at how SSIS, commonly used in Data Warehousing, can also be used by most developers to solve issues that frequently come up in the course of their job. Data conversion and exporting data are two good examples, and we also looked at how to call your new SSIS job from your .Net application.

There are two code demos used during the presentation, both available at my Code Gallery site. The first is the basic SSIS For Devs demo with the three packages. The second is the more complex example showing how to call SSIS from your .Net application.

Linked Subreports in SQL Server 2008 Reporting Services

Note, before getting started with this lesson there are some prerequisites you should know about. Please read my post Getting Started with SQL Server 2008 to ensure you have everything setup correctly, otherwise you will be missing objects required to get the code here to work correctly.

The previous lesson showed how to include a subreport into another report. This could be used to link independent reports together into a single report. It can also be useful to have a related subreport. A subreport whose data is driven by that of the main report. This can be accomplished by the use of paramenters.

For this lab we’ll create a subreport that returns category totals for the region passed in from the main report. Note that this is a greatly simplified example to illustrate the technique. Even though in this sample everything comes from the same database, each report could just as easily come from completely different data sources. Subreports would be a great technique for combining data from different systems.

Step 1. Create the subreport.

Use Contoso as the shared datasource. For the query, enter:

SELECT [Region]
     , [ProductCategoryName]
     , SUM([TotalAmount]) AS ProductTotal
  FROM [ContosoRetailDW].[Report].[V_SubcategoryRegionTotalsByYear]
 WHERE [Region] = @pRegion
 GROUP BY [Region], [ProductCategoryName]
 ORDER BY [Region], [ProductCategoryName]

Use a tabular report, move everything into the details area, Generic for the table style, and for the report name use “Subreport – Region Category Totals”.

Step 2. Cleanup the subreport.

Click the edge Region texbox in the header (so it’s selected instead of being edited), and press delete. Repeat with the [Region] textbox in the detail row. We won’t need it since Region will be displayed on the parent report.

Change the other headers to Category and Total. Make them wider, make what had been the Region column smaller but leave it, it will give a nice indent padding when included on the parent report. In the textbox properties for ProductTotal, make sure to set the Number to Currency, and in the Alignment area change the Horizontal to right align.

Remove the “Subreport – Region Category Totals” text box

Click on the main table grid, then move it to top of body. Collapse the body to fit the table.

Step 3. Add the parameter.

In the Report Data window, right click on Parameters and pick Add Parameter. Name the property Region. For the prompt, enter “Region – Hidden”. Since the prompt will never be visible, it really doesn’t matter, but making a habit of entering the name and the word Hidden will give a clear indicator that this parameter is a hidden one.

Leave the data type set to text, and check on “Allow blank value”. If you don’t, the report will error out when used as a subreport. Next, set the visibility to Hidden. This means it won’t appear if you run the report, but you can still pass in parameters, from another report or via a URL. Click OK to close the properties window.

Finally, we need to bind the parameter to the parameter the dataset needs. Right click on the dataset and go to properties. On the parameters area @pRegion should already be present (remember, it was part of the WHERE clause in the SQL query). Pick @Region in the drop down for Parameter Value.

Step 4. Create the main report.

Add a new report, using Contoso as the shared datasource. For the query, use:

SELECT [RegionCountryName]
  FROM [Report].[V_Regions]

Use a tabular report, move the RegionCountryName to the details area, and pick Corporate for the style. Finally, for the name use “Regional Report”.

Step 5. Layout the report.

Since there’s only one column, expand it to take up the width of the body.

Right click on the row selector (the gray box with the lines on the left of the table) and pick Insert Row->Inside Group Below.

Into that area, drag a Subreport control from the toolbox. Note in this case there is only one column, but if there were multiple cells you could highlight them, right click and pick Merge Cells.

Step 6. Setup the subreport.

Right click on the subreport control.

Under “Use this report as a subreport” select the “Subreport – Region Category Totals”. Under the parameters area, click Add. Select Region under Name, and for the Value select RegionCountryName.

Step 7. Preview the report

Preview the report to see your results:

clip_image002[4]

Notes

Just a few notes. In this report, we left the table headers in the subreport (Category and Total). Often these are removed, to make the subreport blend in more with the parent.

Here only one parameter was passed, however you can pass multiple parameters if you need to.

Adding Charts to SQL Server Reporting Services Reports

Note, before getting started with this lesson there are some prerequisites you should know about. Please read my post Getting Started with SQL Server 2008 to ensure you have everything setup correctly, otherwise you will be missing objects required to get the code here to work correctly.

Often adding a chart can help give perspective mere numbers cannot. A quick glace can allow users to quickly focus on the important areas of data. Reporting Services supports many chart types, all of which are highly customizable. In this lab we’ll add a simple chart to the executive summary report we created in the previous lesson.

Step 1. Clone an existing report

Often we start new reports from an existing one. In solution explorer, right click on the “Subreport – Executive Summary” and pick Copy. Now go to the base of the project tree and pick Paste. In the Solution Explorer you’ll now see “Copy of Subreport – Executive Summary”. Rename it “Subreport – Executive Summary with Graph”. (Note, if you don’t have this you’ll need to do yesterday’s lesson, or download the code from the Getting Started post, mentioned at the top of this post).

Step 2. Make room for the chart.

Expand the body to double the width.

Step 3. Add the chart control.

In the toolbox, grab the Chart and drag it into the empty area in the body. You’re then asked what type of chart to create, pick a pie chart (it will be the top right one in the “Shape” category). Click OK.

Click inside the pie chart. You’ll now see small boxes slide out to the side and top/bottom of the chart control. Go to the Report Data tab. In the Contoso Dataset1 click on CategoryTotal and drag it above the chart to the area that reads “Drop data fields here”.

Next, click on the ProductCategoryName and drop it below the chart where it reads “Drop category fields here”.

Right click on the title, and pick “Title properties”, then for title text click the fx expression button. For the expression enter:

=Sum(Fields!CurrentYear.Value, "CurrentFiscalYear") & " Values"

(To see an explanation on the logic for this see the previous lesson).

Step 4. Preview the report

Click on the Preview tab. You should now see your chart, linked to the data.

clip_image002

There are many more customizations you can do to a chart, this lab demonstrated how quick and easy it is to add charts of all types to your reports.

Using Subreports as Areas of Your SQL Server Reporting Services Report

Note, before getting started with this lesson there are some prerequisites you should know about. Please read my post Getting Started with SQL Server 2008 to ensure you have everything setup correctly, otherwise you will be missing objects required to get the code here to work correctly.

Subreports are an incredibly useful concept within Reporting Services. They allow you to compartmentalize complex logic. They also allow you to create reports that can be used in many different parent reports.

In this lab, we’ll look at how to create a subreport and use it as a region within a parent report. For this example, we’ll create a base report, then a subreport that will function as an executive summary which we can place at the top of the report body. These types of summaries are commonplace in the reporting world.

Let’s get started by creating our base report. This will be identical to the base report used in other labs.

Step 1. Add the main report

As with our other reports, right click on the Reports branch in Solution Explorer, pick Add New Report, and (if you haven’t already disabled it) click next to move past the welcome screen.

Step 2. Set the data source.

Pick the Contoso shared data source, or setup a new source to Contoso, and click Next.

Step 3. Setup the query.

In the query builder, we’ll be using one of our views. Enter this SQL statement:

SELECT [FiscalYear]

      ,[ProductCategoryName]

      ,[ProductSubcategory]

      ,[Region]

      ,[TotalAmount]

  FROM [ContosoRetailDW].[Report].[V_SubcategoryRegionTotalsByYear]

and click next.

Step 4. Set the format.

For the report type we’ll use the simple Tabular format, so just click Next.

Step 5. Determine field placement in the report.

To keep this simple we’ll not use any groups on this report, so just put all report fields into the Details section. You can do it in one easy step by clicking on the top most item (FiscalYear), holding down the shift key, and clicking the bottom item (TotalAmount). This will select all of the fields, just click the Details button to move them. Then click Next.

Step 6. Select the formatting Style

Once again we’ll go with Corporate for the style and click Next.

Step 7. Name the report.

Finally we’ll give the report a name of “Regional Sales by Subcategory Subreports as Report Areas” and click Finish.

Step 8. Format report columns

To make the report a little easier to read, expand the width of the columns and format the Total Amount as Currency. (See the previous labs if you don’t recall how to accomplish this.)

Step 9. Add the subreport

It’s now time to create the subreport. Just like with a regular report, right click on the Reports branch in Solution Explorer, pick Add New Report, and (if you haven’t already disabled it) click next to move past the welcome screen.

Step 10. Set the data source.

Pick the Contoso shared data source, or setup a new source to Contoso, and click Next.

Step 11. Setup the query.

In the query builder, we’ll be using one of our views. Enter this SQL statement:

SELECT [ProductCategoryName]

      ,[CategoryTotal]

  FROM [ContosoRetailDW].[Report].[V_ProdcutCategoryExecutiveSummary]

 ORDER BY [ProductCategoryName]

 

and click next.

Step 12. Set the format.

For the report type we’ll use the simple Tabular format, so just click Next.

Step 13. Determine field placement in the report.

To keep this simple we’ll not use any groups on this report, so just put all report fields into the Details section.

Step 14. Select the formatting Style

Unlike other reports, we will pick Generic for the style and click Next.

Step 15. Name the report.

Finally we’ll give the report a name of “Subreport – Executive Summary” and click Finish. Note that is common to start the names of subreports with the name “Subreport” to make them easier to find.

Step 16. Format subreport columns and body

To make the report a little easier to read, expand the width of the columns and format the Total Amount as Currency. (See the previous labs if you don’t recall how to accomplish this.)

In addition, we don’t need the body to be any wider that what is needed. Click on the text box that has the body title “Subreport – Executive Summary” and shrink it to match the width of the table. Then hover the mouse over the right side of the report and drag it over to bump against the right side of the table.

Gotcha: If you try and shink the body first, it will not go. The right edge of the body can never be less than the right edge of the widest object (or the object whose right edge is farthest to the right).

Step 17. Setup the detail header

Start by changing the titles of the detail grid to “Product Category” and “Total”. Now highlight the entire row by clicking the gray row selector square to the left of the row.

We can change the fore and background color of this row to match those of the main report. You can pick from standard colors, or enter your own color value. As an example of the first, go to the Color property, and from the drop down pick the color white. You will see the property name change to “White”.  You could also have chose to just type in the word White.

You can also enter a hexadecimal value for the color. Click on the Background Color property and enter “#1c3a70”. (No quotes, but make sure to include the # so the entered value will be understood as hex and not a standard color, such as “White”.

Note that you can also change the values of each textbox independently, using the same technique. Most commonly though you will want to set the entire row.

Step 18. The “Green Bar” effect

Once upon a time, in a computer room in the distant past, all reports were printed on paper that had alternating blocks of green and white background. This was known as “Green Bar” paper. The color made it easy to follow long lines of text across the page.

It’s possible to setup the same effect within our report today. Highlight the detail row, then in the Background Color of the properties window, click the drop down, then instead of a color pick the Expression option. For the expression, enter:

=iif((RowNumber(NOTHING) MOD 2) = 0, "LightBlue", "White")

Using the MOD function we determine if it’s an odd or even row, and set the background color accordingly. For the colors any color constant or hexadecimal value would work.

Step 19. Add a value for the body header.

When a report is used as a subreport, any headers or footers are ignored. It can be useful to have a nice title though, so in this step we’ll create one.

19.1                Hover over the bottom of the body, and drag it down to expand the body height.

19.2                Now click on the grid. When the grid row/column bars appear, click on the one in the very upper left corner. When you do, the row/column bars hide themselves, and the grid sizing handles appear. In the upper left is an icon that points up/down/left/right. Click on it and drag the grid down, leaving space at the top for a textbox. Also leave a little space at the bottom that can serve as a gap between it and other items that might appear on the main report we place this subreport on.

19.3                Next drag a textbox from the toolbox onto the top of the page. Expand the textbox to take up the width of the body. Increase the font size to 12, make the font bold, and center it.

19.4                We have a place now to put our title, lets grab some data to put there. Add a new dataset by right clicking on the Contoso data connection in the Report Data window.

19.5                Name it “CurrentFiscalYear”, for the query text enter:

SELECT MAX(FiscalYear) AS CurrentYear

   FROM [Report].[V_ProdcutCategoryExecutiveSummary]

Click OK to save this new dataset.

19.6                Returning to the textbox, right click and pick Expression. For the expression text, enter:

="Executive Summary for " & Sum(Fields!CurrentYear.Value, "CurrentFiscalYear")

To build the center part of the string, click on the Datasets option under category. Then click on the CurrentFiscalYear dataset. In the Values area, one item appears, Sum(CurrentYear). Click on it to add the text to the current expression.

There is an oddity with getting fields from other datasets then the main one that supplies data to the body, they must be an aggregate expression such as Sum. However, since we are SUMing one value, the subreport will look like.

clip_image002   clip_image004

        Design Mode                                                                     Preview Mode

Step 20. Add subreport to main report.

Adding the subreport is quite simple. First, expand the body to make room above the grid similar to what was done in the above step. Then, drag the subreport from the Solution Explorer onto a blank area of the body.

Positioning it can be a bit of a pain, there’s no nice “put in the center” button. But with a little math you can accomplish it.

Return to the subreport a moment, and click on the grid which should take up the entire width of the body. In the properties window, expand the Size property to see the width. In this case it’s 2.3 inches.

Back in the main report, repeating the procedure with the main report’s grid, we see the width is 6.58 inches. Now it’s easy, (6.58 – 2.3) / 2 yields 2.14 inches. Use this for the left property of the subreport. The width isn’t that important, just set it wide in this case.

Step 21. Preview the report.

 

clip_image006

As you see, you now have an attractive subreport that you can reuse in multiple reports.

Report Headers and Footers

Note, before getting started with this lesson there are some prerequisites you should know about. Please read my post Getting Started with SQL Server 2008 to ensure you have everything setup correctly, otherwise you will be missing objects required to get the code here to work correctly.

A common feature to most reports are headers and footers that describe the report, and supply additional information such as the page numbering or print date. In this lab we’ll look at ways to customize the header and footer.

We’ll start by creating a basic report, then adding the headers and footers to it.

Step 1. Add the report

As with our other reports, right click on the Reports branch in Solution Explorer, pick Add New Report, and (if you haven’t already disabled it) click next to move past the welcome screen.

Step 2. Set the data source.

Pick the Contoso shared data source, or setup a new source to Contoso, and click Next.

Step 3. Setup the query.

In the query builder, we’ll be using one of our views. Enter this SQL statement:

SELECT [FiscalYear]
      ,[ProductCategoryName]
      ,[ProductSubcategory]
      ,[Region]
      ,[TotalAmount]
FROM [ContosoRetailDW].[Report].[V_SubcategoryRegionTotalsByYear]

and click next.

Step 4. Set the format.

For the report type we’ll use the simple Tabular format, so just click Next.

Step 5. Determine field placement in the report.

To keep this simple we’ll not use any groups on this report, so just put all report fields into the Details section. You can do it in one easy step by clicking on the top most item (FiscalYear), holding down the shift key, and clicking the bottom item (TotalAmount). This will select all of the fields, just click the Details button to move them. Then click Next.

Step 6. Select the formatting Style

Once again we’ll go with Corporate for the style and click Next.

Step 7. Name the report.

Finally we’ll give the report a name of “Regional Sales by Subcategory Headers and Footers” and click Finish.

Step 8. Format report columns

To make the report a little easier to read, expand the width of the columns and format the Total Amount as Currency. (See the previous labs if you don’t recall how to accomplish this.)

Previewing the report shows our data. There’s a lot of it, so let’s say we are the sales manager and we want to apply filters so we are only looking at pieces of our sales.

Step 9. Add a header area.

To add a header area to the report, simply right click anywhere outside the report body and select “Add Page Header”.

Step 10. Add a title.

A blank, white canvas should appear above your report body. Here you can create a header. Go to the toolbox, and drag in a Text Box. In it enter “Regional Sales Report”. Click on the text box and grab the sizing handles to enlarge it. Sometimes this can be a little tricky, if you click inside the text box it assumes you want to enter or edit the text and puts you in edit mode. You have to click right on the edge of the text box area to make the sizing handles appear.

Now add some visual impact. Either right click to access the fonts or use the toolbar above the design area. Make the font bold, and bump it up a few sizes, 16 generally works well.

Step 11. Add page numbers.

Drag another text box into the area. This time instead of static text we’ll use an expression to put in page numbers. Position the text box in the upper right corner of the report.

Right click on the text box, and in the pop up menu pick “Expression”.

In the expression builder you have a blank slate, only the beginning = is supplied for you. Similar to Excel, all expressions must start with an = sign.

The expression builder is very full featured and powerful, you can do a lot of complex things with it. It uses a VB.Net like language. In this lab though we’ll do something similar and concatenate some static text and build in variables to form a Page x of xx expression.

After the = sign enter “Page “ then an ampersand “&”. Page is simply static text, and the & will be used to join together our return value.

In the lower half of the Expression dialog you will see a Category and Item area, these are designed to make it easier to build expressions. Click on the “Built in Fields” Category. On the right the Item area will populate with the valid fields. Click on PageNumber.

Return to the upper area where it says “Set expression for Value” and after the page number type in & “ of “ & . Then go back to the Item list and click TotalPages. Your Expression dialog should now look like:

clip_image002

Click OK to close the Expression builder.

Step 12. Format the page number.

Select the text box for the page number by clicking on the edge, then using the toolbar right align the page number box. Page numbers are typically quite small on the header, so let’s bump down the font to 8 point.

Step 13. Resize the header.

In this example our header isn’t very large, but when we added it SSRS gave us a considerable amount of space. Let’s resize this to something more appropriate.

Hover over the dotted line between the header and report body with your mouse. It should turn into the up/down sizing handle. When it does, click and drag it up.

As an alternative, you could click in the empty area of the header, then in the Properties pane of VS/BIDS enter an explicit Height value. This is useful for situations where you have specific requirements that the header must be of an exact size. This often occurs with things like pre-printed forms or paper with the letterhead already printed on it.

Step 14. Preview the header.

OK, all done with this part. Switch to the Preview tab to see the header in action.

clip_image004

Step 15. Add the footer.

Working with footers are identical to working with headers. Start by right clicking in an empty spot in the design area and pick “Add Page Footer”.

Step 16. Add content.

Drag a text box onto the footer. Expand it to take up the entire width of the report, then enter the Expression dialog as you did before, right click and pick Expression from the menu.

It’s common for a business to want to copyright their intellectual property, so enter this as your expression:

="Copyright " & Year(Now()) & " ArcaneCode."

Hint: If you select Common Functions, Date & Time in the Category area of the Expression builder, you’ll see many common functions. When you click on one helpful hints will appear to the right.

Since we have a lot of unused space, we’ll again shrink the footer like we did the header. This time though hover over the bottom of the footer to make the resizing mouse icon appear, then drag it up to shrink it.

Step 17. Test in the Preview pane.

Once again, return to the Preview tab, scroll down and the footer should look something like:

clip_image006

Other ideas.

The things you can do in the header and footers are nearly infinite. Images, such as your corporate logo can be used. Trademarks, warning notices of intellectual property, print dates, the report name and URL, and the list of parameters used to generate the report are all common things that may appear in the header.

Interactive Sorting in SQL Server 2008 Reporting Services Reports

Note, before getting started with this lesson there are some prerequisites you should know about. Please read my post Getting Started with SQL Server 2008 to ensure you have everything setup correctly, otherwise you will be missing objects required to get the code here to work correctly.

Often users want the ability to sort the data in various ways. They have gotten used to tools like Microsoft Excel that let you sort on column headers. Fortunately this is a fairly simple ability to implement in SQL Server Reporting Services. Let’s start by creating a base report. (Note this is the same basic report we’ve used in other posts.)

Step 1. Add the report

As with our other reports, right click on the Reports branch in Solution Explorer, pick Add New Report, and (if you haven’t already disabled it) click next to move past the welcome screen.

Step 2. Set the data source.

Pick the Contoso shared data source, or setup a new source to Contoso, and click Next.

Step 3. Setup the query.

In the query builder, we’ll be using one of our views. Enter this SQL statement:

SELECT [FiscalYear]
     , [ProductCategoryName]
     , [ProductSubcategory]
     , [Region]
     , [TotalAmount]
  FROM [ContosoRetailDW].[Report].[V_SubcategoryRegionTotalsByYear]

and click next.

Step 4. Set the format.

For the report type we’ll use the simple Tabular format, so just click Next.

Step 5. Determine field placement in the report.

To keep this simple we’ll not use any groups on this report, so just put all report fields into the Details section. You can do it in one easy step by clicking on the top most item (FiscalYear), holding down the shift key, and clicking the bottom item (TotalAmount). This will select all of the fields, just click the Details button to move them. Then click Next.

Step 6. Select the formatting Style

Once again we’ll go with Corporate for the style and click Next.

Step 7. Name the report.

Finally we’ll give the report a name of “Regional Sales by Subcategory” and click Finish.

Step 8. Format report columns

To make the report a little easier to read, expand the width of the columns and format the Total Amount as Currency. (See the previous labs if you don’t recall how to accomplish this.)

Step 9. Apply sorting to the column headers.

Here’s where the magic happens. Right click on the first column of the report header, which should be Fiscal Year, and pick Text Box Properties.

clip_image002

In the Text Box Properties dialog, first navigate to the Interactive Sorting area. Next, check on “Enable interactive sorting on this text box”.

Under “Choose what to sort” we’ll take the default of details. If we wanted to sort our groups, we could have picked the Groups option then picked the name of a group.

Next in the “Sort By” pick the FiscalYear field. Your dialog should now look like:

clip_image004

Click OK to save.

Repeat this step for the other columns, selecting the data associated with that column in the “Sort by” area.

Step 10. Preview your work

You should now be able to switch to the Preview tab. At the top right of each column you will now see a set of tiny up/down arrows, which when clicked will cause the report to sort by that column.

image

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