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Designing Reports in Report Designer and Report Builder 3.0 (SSRS)

Reporting Services provides two authoring environments to create report definition (RDL) files. A report definition is a file in XML format that contains information about the data sources, report data, and the report layout. A report definition does not contain data. When the report is processed, data and layout are combined and passed to a report renderer that determines which data and layout elements fit on each page.

Use this topic to compare typically used features between Report Builder 3.0 and Report Designer. For a comprehensive list of authoring environment features, see Comparing Report Authoring Environments.

The following table summarizes differences in the two report authoring environments for typically used features.

Area

Report Builder 3.0

Report Designer

Description

Report Builder is a report authoring environment for business users who prefer to work in the Microsoft Office environment. You work with one report at a time. You can modify a published report directly from a report server. You can quickly build a report by adding items from the Report Part Gallery provided by report designers from your organization.

Report Designer in Business Intelligence Development Studio is a report authoring environment that is hosted in Microsoft Visual Studio. Use Report Designer project and solution files to organize and maintain a master copy of report definitions, report parts, shared data sources, shared datasets, and resource files such as images and ESRI shapefiles for maps.

Getting Data

Navigate to a report server, and add a reference to a shared data source or shared dataset on the report server.

Create shared datasets in Shared Dataset View, and save them to the report server.

For an embedded (local) dataset, write a query or build a query by using the relational query designer. You can retrieve data from any built-in data source type locally or any report server data source type from the report server. Custom data sources on the client are not supported. To preview a report, credentials must be valid on the client to run dataset queries and on the server to preview a report.

Publish a shared data source or shared dataset to a report server. To preview a report, define credentials that work with the local computer. After you publish a shared data source, you might need to modify the credentials to work from the report server. From project properties, you can control whether to publish shared data sources and shared datasets. Use configuration properties to create multiple sets of project properties for production or debug modes.

Add a custom data extension and install it locally and on the report server.

Tables, Matrices, and Lists

Use the Tablix Wizard to add a table, matrix, or list to a report.

Manually add a table, matrix, or list to a report from the toolbox or from the right-click menu.

Report Parts

Select from a list report parts on the report server.

Publish items in a report as report parts.

Mark items as report parts. Publish them when you deploy the project.

Charts, Sparklines, and Data Bars

Use the Chart Wizard to add chart to a report.

Manually add a chart to a report from the toolbox or from the right-click menu.

Maps

Publish ESRI shapefiles to the report server first, and then add a reference to an ESRI file from your report.

Include ESRI shapefiles as resources in your project and publish them to the report server.

Images, Text Boxes, Rectangles, and Lines

Publish image files to the report server first, and then add a reference to the image from your report.

Include images as resources in your project and publish them to the report server.

Formatting Report Items

Use tabs and groups on the Ribbon to format items on the design surface.

Use Visual Studio toolbars to format items on the design surface.

Filtering, Grouping, and Sorting

In Report Design mode, create groups by using the Table/Matrix and Chart wizard. By default, sort expressions are set to group expressions.

In Shared Dataset mode, set dataset filter options, and then save the shared dataset to the report server or SharePoint site.

Manually create groups by dragging fields from the Report Data pane to the Table and Matrix row group and column group panes or to the Chart category and series panes. By default, sort expressions are set to group expressions.

In Solution Explorer, in the Shared Datasets folder, set dataset filters, and save them in the project. When you deploy the project, the shared datasets are saved to the report server or SharePoint site.

Drillthrough, Drilldown, Subreports, and Nested Data Regions

Drillthrough and subreports are supported only in server mode. Not supported in local mode.

Add an expand/collapse action to an item by using the Table or Matrix Wizard.

In local mode, add references to reports in the project for drillthrough targets or subreports.

The Table or Matrix Wizard is not available.

Manually add an expand/collapse action to an item on the Text Box Properties dialog box or the Group Dialog box from a group displayed in the Grouping pane.

Expressions

Use default expressions to display, group, and sort data in the report. You can write expressions in Microsoft Visual Basic, but there are fewer options for debugging than in Report Designer.

Write expressions in Visual Basic. The expression editor provides IntelliSense syntax support. Use the Output window to view warnings and compile-time error messages. Add references to .NET Framework assemblies or to custom assemblies that contain your custom code.

Description

Report Builder

Report Designer

Location of buttons

On the Ribbon.

On the Visual Studio toolbox or toolbars.

Layout

On the Home tab, in the Layout group.

On the View menu, point to Toolbars, and click Layout.

Zoom

In report design mode or in preview, use the slider control in the lower right corner. Zoom factor is shown as a percentage.

On the View menu, point to Toolbars, and click Report. In the Report toolbar, use the drop-down list to choose a zoom factor.

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