Tag Archives: SQL Server Reporting Services

Enhancing A SQL Server 2008 Reporting Services report: Formatting Numbers and Collapsible Groups

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.

Looking back at the report we generated in yesterdays post, there are some things we can do to further enhance its appearance. We can format the look of the total amount, and we can also hide the subcategory details. If you don’t have the report open already, open it and go to the Design tab.

Step 1. Format numeric values.

Right click on the Total Amount area of the details line, and pick “Text Box Properties” on the menu.

In the properties window, click the Number menu option on the left. Then change the Category to “Currency”. Now check on the “Use 1000 separator” option.

When we work with values as big as those that will be on the report, only dollars are typically shown. Reduce the decimal places to zero. You can also change the symbol to one appropriate to your location, put a space after it, or move it behind the dollar field. In this case we’ll just click OK.

Repeat the above steps for the SUM(TotalAmount) text boxes on the ProductCategoryName and FiscalYear lines.

Step 2. Add interactivity to hide sections of the report.

Next we can add interactivity to the report by allowing the user to essentially hide the subcategories, collapsing them into the categories.

Click on the grid, to bring up the grid row and headers. Then right click on the row selector, as pointed to by the red arrow in the following figure:


From the pop up menu, pick “Row Visibility”.

Click the Hide option. Then check on the “Display can be toggled by this report item” and pick “ProductCategoryName’ in the drop down, and click OK.

Step 3. Preview your work.

Save your work then click on the Preview tab. Your should now see a report where the Subcategories are rolled up into the Categories. Each category should have the + symbol to reveal the details behind it.


Click on one of the + signs to expand will reveal the details.


Creating a Table Report With Subtotals 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 most common type of report in existence is a simple table like report, that lists lines of data from your data source. In this lab we’ll create just such a report, and include subtotals.

Step 1. Add the report.

Start by right clicking on the Reports branch of Solution Explorer and adding a new report.

Once you click past the welcome screen, select your shared data source, or create a new one for this report. When you have done so, click the Next button.

For the query, we’ll use:

SELECT FiscalYear
     , ProductCategoryName
     , ProductSubcategory
     , TotalAmount
  FROM Report.V_SubcategoryTotalsByYear

On the next screen, leave the report type as Tabular and click next.

Place FiscalYear and ProductCategoryName in the Ggroup area, and ProductSubcategory and TotalAmount in the Details area, and click next.

On the table layout screen, you can leave it as Stepped, but put a check by the “Include subtotals” option.

Chose a table style, to be consistent with previous labs we’ll again go with Corporate. Click Next.

Give the report a good name. For this lab we can use “Subcat Totals”. Click Finish to complete the report generation.

Step 2. Format the report

In the report designer, you’ll see the columns are all narrow and on the left. Click inside the report grid and the report tables row and column sizing handles will appear. Place your mouse cursor between two of the columns and drag to expand its width.

Now preview the report and you will should see:


Creating a Matrix Report 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.

Matrix Reports are a special report similar to a pivot table. Matrix reports are not uncommon, and are useful for measuring trends. In this lab we’ll walk through the basic steps of creating a Matrix report.

Step 1. Add the new report.

1.1 Right Click on the Reports branch of Solution Explorer.

1.2 Select Add New Report, then click Next to go past the welcome screen.

1.3 Select your shared data source, or create a new one for this report. When you have done so, click the Next button.

Next you will need to enter the query to supply data to the report. I generally recommend using a tool like SQL Server Management Studio refined your query. For this lab enter the following query:

SELECT [FiscalYear]
     , [ProductCategoryName]
     , [ProductSubcategory]
     , [Product]
     , [TotalAmount]
  FROM [ContosoRetailDW].[Report].[V_ProductTotalsByYear]

Now the Report Wizard will ask what type of report we want. Since we are creating a matrix report select the Matrix option and click Next to continue.

It is now time to design the layout of our matrix report. Click on FiscalYear, then click on the Columns button to move it into the column area. Next click on ProductCategoryName and click the Rows button. Repeat with ProductSubcategory and Product. Finally, click TotalAmount and put it in the details area by clicking the Details button. Your screen should now look like:


Click Next once your screen is complete.

Now the wizard offers to format the report for you. To do so yourself later, picking generic will leave you with plain black and white, no coloring. For this example, let’s pick Corporate and click Next.

Finally we need to give this report a good name. Let’s enter “Product Total By Year Matrix” and click Finish.


Step 2. Preview your work.

The report will now be generated and brought into your editor. Click the Preview tab to see the result of your work. A sample of the report is shown below.


Getting Started with SQL Server Reporting Services 2008

I’ve been working on a new presentation on SQL Server Reporting Services. Over the next few weeks I’ll be creating posts with examples on basic techniques around SSRS. Prior to beginning the posts that will follow, there are a few basic setups you will need to do. Some assumptions are:

· You have SQL Server 2008 Developer Edition SP1 installed on your PC, and are doing the labs there.

· As part of the Developer Edition install, you have installed BIDS (Business Intelligence Development Studio, a series of add-ons for Visual Studio).

· You are familiar with using SQL Server Management Studio.

If you are still on SQL Server 2005, the majority of the techniques demonstrated here will still work. There have been some changes between 2005 and 2008 in the layouts of the BIDS SSRS user interface that you will need to adjust to, many of the screen shots would be different under 2005.

Step 1. Download and install ContosoDW

Contoso is a fictional company created by Microsoft. Similar to AdventureWorks, it provides a repository of retail data. ContosoDW is the Data Warehouse for Contoso, optimized for analysis and reporting. You can download it from:


Once downloaded run the installer to create the ContosoDW database in your SQL Server.

Step 2. Create and run the custom scripts for this lab.

There are a series of scripts needed to create the custom views and tables the labs will be reporting from. The easiest way to get them is to download the complete SQL Server Management Studio project along with all the sample labs and other documentation at my Code Gallery site:


Step 3. Open BIDS and create a reporting services project.

Open BIDS. (Start, All Programs, Microsoft SQL Server 2008, SQL Server Business Intelligence Development Studio).

Once in BIDS, create a new project. Under project type select “Business Intelligence Projects”, then Report Server Project Wizard”.

Step 4. Setup the shared data source.

To make the transition of reports from development to test to production easier, BIDS allows you to setup a shared data source. The reports can point to this data source, then as the reports migrate among environments all that is needed is to point this shared data source at the appropriate database.

4.1 Right click on the Data Source branch in Solution Explorer and select “Add New Data Source”.

4.2 Click Next to go past the opening screen of the wizard.

4.3 On the next screen you will need to define the connection. Click New, and it will let you fill out a common dialog to create the database connection string. Do so, creating a connection to the ContosoDW database. Once it is in the Data Connections area, highlight it and click Next.

4.4 Give the data source a good name. For this lab I am simply using “Contoso”.

Ready set go!

At this point you should have the basics completed and are ready to start creating reports. Stay tuned to future posts to see a variety of techniques for SSRS.

Generating a PDF file from a Reporting Services Report Viewer Control

In yesterday’s post, I demonstrated how to generate a SQL Server Reporting Services report without having to have SQL Server Reporting Services. The sample application used the Microsoft Report Viewer control to display the report. A common need in business is to generate documents, such as PDFs, that will later be archived. It turns out if you are using a report viewer control, this is easy to do programmatically.

First, you need to add one using statement to the top of your class, in addition to the others that were added yesterday.

using System.IO;

Next, we only need a few lines of code to generate the PDF.

      Warning[] warnings;

      string[] streamids;

      string mimeType;

      string encoding;

      string extension;


      byte[] bytes = reportViewer1.LocalReport.Render(

        "PDF", null, out mimeType, out encoding, out extension,

        out streamids, out warnings);


      FileStream fs = new FileStream(@"D:\ReportOutput.pdf", FileMode.Create);

      fs.Write(bytes, 0, bytes.Length);


This code snippet came right from the MSDN Books on Line, and is pretty simple. I could have selected another format by changing the first value passed into the Render method, for example “EXCEL” would have rendered it as a Microsoft Excel document.

In the code samples I placed the above sample in it’s own button, but I could just have easily placed it under one of the other demo buttons.

This ability brings up some interesting possibilities. For example, the report viewer control does not have to be visible to the user in order for this to work. Thus you could create an application that every night generated a series of reports and saved them as PDFs to some central location, such as a web server or document control server. All the user (assuming one was around) would have to see is a progress bar, the reports themselves never get displayed.

Using SQL Server Reporting Services in Client Mode

Recently I did a presentation at the March BSDA meeting. I showed how to use SQL Server Reporting Services without a SQL Server, or more specifically a SQL Server running Reporting Services. It got an enthusiastic response so I thought I’d add to it here by adding some reminder documentation, as much for myself as for all of you wonderful readers.

Using Reporting Services in Client, or Local mode is a 4 step process. First, you will need an XSD schema file to create the report on. Once you have the XSD you will be able to move to the second step, creating the report. Third you will need to place a Report Viewer control on your windows form, WPF form, or ASP.NET page. Finally you will need to write some code that generates an ADO.NET dataset, loads the report in the report viewer control, then binds it all together. Lets look at this step by step.

Normally when you create a report you connect to a database, then base it off of some object like a query, view, or stored procedure. The report is then uploaded to a Reporting Services server, which takes care of hosting it, displaying it, and generating the data for it. With client mode you have no server available, so we have to instead create a surrogate. That’s where our XSD file comes in.

Right click in Solution Explorer and “Add a new item”, and from the list of goodies select “XML Schema”. Name it something appropriate, letting the default extension be XSD. For this example I will be getting customer order data, so I’ve given it the name CustomerOrders.xsd. Visual Studio will think about it then add it to the project, and even helpfully open it for you. I don’t know about you, but hand typing XML Schema’s isn’t my idea of fun, so you should glace at it, go “that’s nice” then close it.

Now right click on the XSD file in Solution Explorer, and pick “Open with….”. In the dialog that appears, select “Dataset Editor”. When you do, Visual Studio presents a big scary warning message letting you know that you could lose contents, and that this will forever be a dataset XSD file. We have nothing in the file, so we’re cool with this, just click OK.

You will now be presented with a big surface area. In the middle it tells you to drag items from the server explorer or right click. If you have a table, view, or stored procedure you are free to drag it in, but most of the time you’ll want to base this off of a SQL query. Right click on the surface, and select Add…., Table Adapter from the menu. The first screen asks you for the database connection. This is the only time you’ll actually need a connection, in this example I am using the good old Northwind database. I pointed at Northwind and clicked next.


Next we are asked how we are going to access the data. Since we have a SQL Statement just pick the default of “Use SQL statements” and click Next.


Now take your SQL Statement and paste it in, and click Next.


OK, click Finish to wrap up the addition of the XSD. By default the adapter has a generic name, we should give ours something more meaningful. Click in the top bar, then enter a new name. Since my example report is for customer order data, I’ll name it CustomerOrders. I then went to the bottom bar and renamed the TableAdapter1 to CustomerOrderTableAdapter. You should now see something like:


Note that this will become your Data Source for the report. The data source will have the name of the XSD followed by the name of the source, in this case it will read CustomerOrders_CutomerOrders. OK, now it’s time to create the report.

Go back to Solution Explorer, right click and pick Add New Item. Navigate to the Reporting area and pick Report Wizard. Note the file extension should end in RDLC. If you have used Reporting Services before, you will know that reports typically end in RDL. However, client mode reports have just a slightly different syntax to them, thus the RDLC extension to differentiate the two. While you can modify an RDL to become an RDLC and vice versa, you have to do so by hacking the XML behind the report.

Note you can also choose just Report, but then you’ll have to setup everything manually. For this simple example though, we’ll just use the Report Wizard.


Give your report a meaningful name and click Add. The report wizard then shows you a welcoming screen if you’ve never run it before, just click Next.

Now we need to pick the data source. In this example, you want the CustomerOrders branch, so select it and click Next.


The next screen asks if we want a Tabular or Matrix report. Select the one for you, in my example I picked Tabular and clicked Next. The next screen asks how we want to display the data. For my example, I opted to group by the customers company name and contact name, then the order data went into the details area. Fill out as appropriate for your report and click Next.


The next screen asks how we want things laid out. This affects the look and feel of the report. For my example I just took the default and clicked next, however you are free to play with this to experiment with the different looks and feels your reports might have.

Likewise the next screen is also a look and feel one, asking what colorings we want to apply. Pick one that makes you happy and click next. You can always change it later, many times I pick the Generic one (which adds no colors) then fix it up afterward.

The final screen is the wrap up. Give your report a meaningful name and click Finish.


OK, you have a report, now you need a container. Open up the user interface you want to place the report viewer control on. In my example I went with a very simple Windows Forms application.

In my toolbox, I navigated to the Reporting section, where I only found one control, the MicrosoftReportViewer control. (Note I am using Visual Studio 2008 SP1, if you are on an earlier version your names may differ slightly). Grab it and drop it onto your design surface. I also added a Button control to the form to kick off the report display process.


Now it’s time for the last step, adding some code. In this example I’ve used a Windows Form. Opening it, the first thing we find in the form load area is::


(Note I left my report viewer control named reportViewer1.) Delete it, we’ll have it refresh elsewhere.

Now we need to add some using statements to the top of our class.

//Add these to the standard list above

using System.Data.Sql;

using System.Data.SqlClient;

using Microsoft.Reporting.WinForms;

The first two will be used in accessing our Northwind database, you may need to use different libraries if you were going to another database. I’ve also included a referenced to the Reporting.WinForms library so we can manipulate the report programmatically.

Now let’s go to the code for the button click event. First, we need to reset the report viewer in case we’d been using it to host another report.

      // Reset in case report viewer was holding another reportViewer1


Next We need to set the report viewer to local mode. This tells it we’ll be supplying the report name from a local file, and binding the report to a local ADO.NET datasource.

      // Set the processing mode for the ReportViewer to Local

      reportViewer1.ProcessingMode = ProcessingMode.Local;

Our third step is to create a local report variable, and set it’s reference to the report viewer’s local report. This will make it easier to work with. Then we’ll set the location of the report we want to use.

      LocalReport localReport = reportViewer1.LocalReport;

      localReport.ReportPath = @"D:\Presentations\SQL Server\SSRS RDLC\SSRS_RDLC\Report2.rdlc";

Now we need to create an ADO.Net dataset, and populate it. I implemented most of that functionality in a method called GetCustomerOrders, which I’ll append at the bottom of these instructions. It’s very straight forward code.

      DataSet dataset = new DataSet("Northwind");


      // Get the sales order data

      GetCustomerOrders(ref dataset);

At this stage we have told it where our report is, and have created the dataset. Now we need to create a datasource for the report itself. We’ll use the ReportDataSource object. For the name, we’ll use the same name as the XSD schema, CustomerOrders_CustomerOrders. Then for the value we will give it the table from the dataset we created in code. It’s possible for a report to have multiple datasets, in the report we’d give each one it’s own name (based on the XSD) then here we’d bind the dataset table to the name we’d used in the report. Once done we will then add the new ReportDataSource to the local reports DataSources collection. Finally, we’ll referesh the report viewer to make it generate the report.

      // Create a report data source for the sales order data

      ReportDataSource dsCustomers = new ReportDataSource();

      dsCustomers.Name = "Customers_Customers";

      dsCustomers.Value = dataset.Tables["Customers"];




      // Refresh the report


You can download a copy of these instructions, along with the entire sample project including code and reports, at the Microsoft Code Gallery site http://code.msdn.microsoft.com/SqlServerRSClient . As promised, below is a copy of the GetCustomerOrders routine, for your reference.

    private void GetCustomerOrders(ref DataSet dsNorthwind)


      string sqlCustomerOrders = "SELECT c.[CustomerID]"

        + " ,c.[CompanyName]"

        + " ,c.[ContactName]"

        + " ,c.[ContactTitle]"

        + " ,c.[Address]"

        + " ,c.[City]"

        + " ,c.[Region]"

        + " ,c.[PostalCode]"

        + " ,c.[Country]"

        + " ,c.[Phone]"

        + " ,c.[Fax]"

        + " ,o.[OrderID]"

        + " ,o.[CustomerID]"

        + " ,o.[EmployeeID]"

        + " ,o.[OrderDate]"

        + " ,o.[RequiredDate]"

        + " ,o.[ShippedDate]"

        + " ,o.[ShipVia]"

        + " ,o.[Freight]"

        + " ,o.[ShipName]"

        + " ,o.[ShipAddress]"

        + " ,o.[ShipCity]"

        + " ,o.[ShipRegion]"

        + " ,o.[ShipPostalCode]"

        + " ,o.[ShipCountry]"

        + "  FROM [Northwind].[dbo].[Customers] c"

        + "  join [Northwind].[dbo].[Orders] o on c.CustomerID = o.CustomerID";


      SqlConnection connection = new

        SqlConnection("Data Source=(local); " +

                      "Initial Catalog=Northwind; " +

                      "Integrated Security=SSPI");


      SqlCommand command =

          new SqlCommand(sqlCustomerOrders, connection);


      SqlDataAdapter customerOrdersAdapter = new



      customerOrdersAdapter.Fill(dsNorthwind, "CustomerOrders");