Understanding Report Layout and Rendering (Report Builder)

Updated: 17 July 2006

In Report Builder design mode, you design your report by placing entities, fields, and text boxes in the design area, applying filters, grouping and sorting the data, and formatting the data within the report. When you are ready to preview your report, you click the Run Report button. You can run your report as often as you like while you continue to design the report. When you are satisfied with your report, you can save the report to the report server where other individuals with the appropriate permissions can view your report.

When you select your data source and report layout in the Getting Started pane, a basic report structure appears in the Report Builder design area. This report structure consists of a report layout and text boxes. You can add additional text boxes to the report and you can move them around on the report page. Text boxes provide an area where you can enter titles for the report and any additional text that you want to add. The report layout is the area where the data is displayed. Depending on the report data, the body of the report can occupy a page or hundreds of pages when you run the report.

As you drag selected fields onto the report layout, the data is represented by 'xxxxxxx', '0', and '1/1/2008'. This is because you are designing the report and not viewing the actual data. When you run the report, the data is retrieved and combined with your report layout.

Adding fields to the report layout individually will give you a different set of results than when adding fields to the report layout as a group. When building your reports, you should be aware of how this affects your report structure and query.

The fields and entities you add to the report layout, and any text, formatting, formulas, or filtering that you apply to the data within the report, create what is called a report definition. A report definition is a file that contains information about the data source you selected, the report layout you have designed, the fields that you added to your report, and the formatting information of the data and text boxes. When you save your report, you are storing the report definition as a Report Definition Language (RDL) file on the report server. You can also save the report definition to your local computer.

In Report Builder, you can run, or render, the report to see the data from the underlying database displayed in the report layout. Switching between Report Builder design mode and run mode allows you to adjust the design of the report and see the results immediately.

When you run a report, the report server combines the report definition file with the data from the data source and renders the report.

Change History

Release History

17 July 2006

Changed content:
  • Added note regarding adding fields.

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