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Report Builder

Updated: 14 April 2006

Information workers need to access business data in order to make timely and effective decisions. They need a powerful, yet easy-to-use tool that allows them to explore and find information without having to understand the underlying data source structures. To help you reach these goals, Report Builder, a component of SQL Server 2005 Reporting Services, delivers ad hoc reporting functionality. Report Builder is fully integrated with SQL Server Reporting Services.

The Report Builder tool is built using familiar Microsoft Office paradigms so that users can get started quickly. To build a table, matrix, or chart report, use a report layout template that contains predefined data regions and select a predefined report model, which contains report items such as data fields, then drag and drop the report items onto the data regions within the template. Filters can be applied to the report to refine which data gets displayed. The report model contains all of the information required for Report Builder to automatically generate a query to retrieve the requested data. Using Report Builder, users can find data that is related to the content in their report, add text and formatting, create new fields and calculations based on the data in the report model, and preview, print, and publish their reports.

Using Report Builder, users can interactively explore the related data within the report model. Clickthrough reports are automatically generated so that report viewers can follow the report model's navigation paths to explore the data. They can continue clicking through the data as long as there is a relationship to follow from the current item. When clicking through the data, queries are generated automatically by passing information about which data that the user is using to create their report, typically referred to as the context of the current data location.

Report Builder is a ClickOnce WinForms application that is accessed from the report server for easy centralized management. Report Builder reports are published using Report Definition Language (RDL), which allows users to take advantage of Reporting Service’s full capabilities. Because Report Builder reports are saved as RDL, they can be opened and modified using the advanced programming capabilities in Report Designer. Report Builder reports are managed, secured, and delivered using the same methods and APIs used to manage, secure, and deliver Report Designer reports. In addition, Report Builder can be launched from third party applications for integrated reporting.

Report Builder can be accessed through a URL or from Report Manager, a component of Reporting Services that enables users to publish and view reports on a report server. Users need assigned permission to access Report Builder. In the role-based security model that is implemented for Reporting Services, users who are assigned to the Content Manager role can create and edit reports in Report Builder. Local administrators are automatically assigned to this role. If you want other users to be able to work with a Report Builder report, you must create a role assignment for them that includes the default role "Report Builder." Alternatively, you can create a custom role definition. As long as the customized role includes the "Consume reports" task, users who are assigned to that role will have sufficient permission to create and modify reports using Report Builder.

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When Report Builder is loaded on the client computer, a separate Help file is available for reference. This Help file discusses Report Builder concepts, and provides procedural and F1 help.

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