Designing the Report Layout
After you select the data to use in your report, you can arrange the report data on the design surface by adding the following report items: data regions, images, lines, rectangles, text boxes, and subreports. Report items are layout elements that are associated with different types of report data. Table, Matrix, List, Chart, and Gauge are data region report items that each link to a report dataset. When the report is processed, the data region expands across and down the report page to display data or summary data from the report dataset. Other report items link to and display a single item. An Image report item links to a picture. A Text Box report item contains either simple text like a title or an expression that can include references to built-in fields, report parameters, or dataset fields. The Line and Rectangle report items provide simple graphical elements on the report page. The Rectangle can also be a container for other report items. A report can contain subreports, which are references to other reports.
With Reporting Services, you can place report items anywhere on the design surface. You can interactively position, expand, and contract the initial shape of the report item using snap lines and resizing handles. You can place data regions with different sets of data, or even the same data in different formats, side-by-side. When you place a report item on the design surface, it has a default size and shape and an initial relationship to all other report items. Placing report items in a container helps control the way the report items are displayed on the report page.
A report can span multiple pages, with a page header and page footer that are repeated on each page. A report can contain graphical elements such as images and lines, and it can have multiple fonts, colors, and styles, which can be based on expressions.
A report consists of three main sections: an optional page header, an optional page footer, and a report body. The report header and footer are not separate sections of the report, but rather are comprised of the report items that are placed at the top and bottom of the report body. The page header and page footer repeat the same content at the top and bottom of each page of the report. You can place images, text boxes, and lines in headers and footers. You can place all types of report items in the report body.
You can set properties on report items to initially hide or show them on the page. You can set visibility properties on rows or columns or groups for data regions and provide toggle buttons to allow the user to interactively show or hide report data. You can set visibility or initial visibility by using expressions, including expressions based on report parameters.
When a report is processed, report data is combined with the report layout elements and the combined data is sent to a report renderer. The renderer follows predefined rules for report item expansion and determines how much data fits on each page. To design an easy-to-read report that is optimized for the renderer that you plan to use, you should understand the rules used to control pagination in Reporting Services. For more information, see Understanding Pagination in Reporting Services.