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Finding and Viewing Reports with a Browser

You can use any supported Web browser to view a report through a direct connection to a report server. Every report has a URL address on a report server. You can open the report you want by typing the report's URL address. Alternatively, you can browse to the report server, and then browse the report server folder hierarchy to select the report you want to view.

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If you are accessing a report from a handheld device, you must use a browser to open a report. Report Manager is not scaled for handheld devices.

You can use a Web browser to navigate report server folders and run reports. Reports and items are displayed as links in the folder hierarchy. You can click links to run a report, open a resource or folder, or view the contents of a shared data source.

Navigating the folder hierarchy is useful if you do not know the URL of a report. You can specify the report server virtual directory to open a browser connection at the root node of the folder hierarchy, and then click folder links to navigate through the hierarchy.

A report server URL includes the name of the Web server and the name of the report server virtual directory. The following example shows the default URL of a report server:

http://<Webservername>/reportserver

When you access a report server virtual directory, you see only the folders, reports, and uploaded items to which you have access. The user interface shows only the folder hierarchy and basic information, such as creation or modification date, file size, and item type for individual items:

  • A link with no other indicator is a report.
  • The tag <ds> indicates a shared data source.
  • The tag <dir> indicates a folder item.
  • A file extension indicates a resource. The file extension identifies the MIME type of the resource. For example, .jpg indicates an image in JPEG format.

The following diagram illustrates a folder hierarchy as it appears in a browser window.

Folders in a browser
Folders in a browser

You can open a report directly from a report server by typing the URL of the report. A report URL includes the name of the Web server, the name of the report server virtual directory, and the fully qualified name of the report. (A fully qualified name includes the path to the report, and concludes with the name of the report itself.) Report URLs can also provide parameter values and a rendering extension specification.

A report URL can be complex. URL syntax uses URL encoding to represent spaces and to separate parameters. If you are typing a URL for a report that includes spaces in the path, parameter values, or a rendering extension, you must incorporate encoded characters into the URL to get the results you expect.

The following example illustrates a report URL that includes encoding for spaces in the path name, parameters, and a rendering extension:

http://<Webservername>/reportserver?/<reportfolder>/employee+sales+summary&ReportYear=2004&ReportMonth=06&EmpID=24&rs:Command=Render&rs:Format=HTML4.0

For more information about the technical aspects of accessing a report through a URL, including information on how a URL is constructed, see URL Access.

Reports are always cached by the browser session, so if you open a report, you can usually return to it by clicking the Back button. This is true even if you were required to supply a user name and password to run the report. You cannot close a rendered report until you close the browser.

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