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Report Designer

Updated: 14 April 2006

Report Designer is a collection of design surfaces and graphical tools that are hosted within the Microsoft Visual Studio environment. Report Designer provides tabbed views for Data, Layout, and Preview that allow you to design a report interactively. You can add datasets to accommodate a new report design idea, or adjust report layout based on preview results. In addition to the Data, Layout, and Preview design surfaces, Report Designer provides query design tools, an Expression editor, and wizards to help you place images or step you through the process of creating a simple report.

Report Designer is hosted in the Business Intelligence Development Studio, which is fully integrated with the Microsoft Visual Studio 2005 development environment. You cannot use earlier versions of Visual Studio to run the SQL Server 2005 Report Designer. If you do not have Visual Studio 2005 installed, SQL Server Setup installs the shell so that you can run Report Designer.

To use Report Designer, open the Start menu, point to Programs, point to Microsoft SQL Server 2005, and select Business Intelligence Development Studio. After Business Intelligence Development Studio is open, you can open or create a new project template. When you select a Report Server Project or Report Server Project Wizard template, the Report Designer opens. The design surfaces, tabbed windows, and graphical tools appear when you add a report to the project.

To learn how to use Report Designer, you can create a simple report. For more information, see Tutorial: Creating a Basic Report.

Report Designer supports tabular, matrix, or freeform reports. Tabular reports and matrix reports, also known as crosstab or pivot table reports, are easily created using the Report Wizard. Freeform reports, which can include tables, matrices, and charts, are created using the familiar Visual Studio interface.

Reports are based on report definition (.rdl) files that you create in Report Designer. All of the features that you can add to a report are described by the Report Definition Language (RDL).

While designing a report, you have the option of testing it locally before publishing it to a report server. When you preview a report, Report Designer can use the same processing and rendering extensions that the report server uses, ensuring that users see the report as it was intended when they run the report. When ready, use Report Designer to publish reports to a report server.

Publishing a report copies it from the report definition (.rdl) on your hard drive to the report server database. Once a report is published to a report server, it can be managed and secured independently from the report definition file that you work with in Visual Studio.

When publishing a report, you must choose a SQL Server 2005 Reporting Services report server. You cannot publish a report that has the SQL Server 2005 report definition namespace to a SQL Server 2000 report server. You can run different versions of Report Designer side-by-side. For more information about report and tool compatibility, see How to: Install Reporting Services Side-by-Side with an Earlier Version.

To publish a report, you can use the build and deploy commands available through Visual Studio. To administer reports after publication, use SQL Server Management Studio or Report Manager. For more information, see Report Manager and Introducing SQL Server Management Studio.

Release History

14 April 2006

New content:
  • Visual Studio requirements and how to start Report Designer.

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