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Ways to Create a Report

SQL Server 2005

With Reporting Services, you can create reports using Report Builder or Report Designer.

For creating ad hoc reports, use Report Builder. Report Builder is a ClickOnce Windows Forms application that users download from the report server to their local computer. Users create reports by dragging fields from predefined report models onto a predesigned report layout template. Users can format, group and sort, and filter their data. In addition, they can edit or define formulas. With Report Builder, users don't need to understand the underlying structure of the data source and they don't need to understand any complex computing languages. They simply need to be familiar with the data in their data sources.

To create more complex reports, use Report Designer. Report Designer supports a wide range of report authoring features, including custom and programmable features. Reports that you create in Report Designer can be free-form or highly-structured, simple or highly complex. You have complete control over the layout, and you can add advanced features such as expressions, custom assemblies that run from the report, and report interaction for drilling down or linking to related data. You can also create basic reports that consist of simple tables, image, or lists.

In Report Designer, you can create a report in three ways. You can create a blank report and manually add queries and layout. You can use Report Wizard, which automatically creates a table or matrix report based on information you provide. You can also import an existing report from Microsoft Access.

Reports are published to a report server as report definition (.rdl) files. Because a report definition is an XML document, you can create and edit reports using other tools besides Report Designer. You can edit a report definition using a text editor or a third-party tool that is designed for editing reports that are written in the Report Definition Language (RDL). Report Designer uses the Reporting Services Simple Object Access Protocol (SOAP) API to publish reports to a report server. If you use another tool to create .rdl files that does not publish reports directly to a report server, you can upload reports using Report Manager.

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