Exporting to a PDF File (Report Builder 3.0 and SSRS)

The PDF rendering extension renders a report to files that can be opened in Adobe Acrobat and other third-party PDF viewers that support PDF 1.3. Although PDF 1.3 is compatible with Adobe Acrobat 4.0 and later versions, Reporting Services supports Adobe Acrobat 6 or later. The rendering extension does not require Adobe software to render the report. However, PDF viewers such as Adobe Acrobat are required to view or print a report in PDF format.

The PDF renderer is a physical page renderer and, therefore, has pagination behavior that differs from other renderers such as HTML and Excel. This topic provides PDF renderer-specific information and describes exceptions to the rules.


You can create and modify report definitions (.rdl) in Report Builder 3.0 and in Report Designer in Business Intelligence Development Studio. Each authoring environment provides different ways to create, open, and save reports and related items. For more information, see Designing Reports in Report Designer and Report Builder 3.0 (SSRS) on the Web at microsoft.com.

In This Article

Font Requirements




Device Information Settings

Font Requirements

The PDF rendering extension does not embed fonts. Fonts that are used in the report must be installed on the report server and on the client computers used to view the report.

When the report server generates a report in PDF format, it uses the information stored in the font referenced by the report to measure and create character mappings within the PDF file. If the referenced font is not installed on the report server, the resulting PDF file might not contain the correct mappings and might not display correctly when viewed. In addition, the computer that is used to view the report must also have the correct font installed for the report to display correctly.

Before deploying the report on a production server, you should test the PDF rendering output on client computers to verify that the report renders correctly. Do not rely on viewing the report in Preview or rendering in HTML because GDI font substitution in those formats behaves differently than PDF. If there are Unicode Glyphs missing on the server, you might see characters replaced with a question mark (?). If there is a font missing on the client, you might see characters replaced with boxes (□).

The PDF rendering extension supports ANSI characters and can translate Unicode characters from Japanese, Korean, Traditional Chinese, Simplified Chinese, Cyrillic, Hebrew, and Arabic. The PDF rendering extension does not support 4-byte Unicode characters such as those found in extended Chinese character sets. Any other Unicode characters require the selected font to be present on both the server and the client. Any characters not present in the selected font are mapped to a "?". Because fonts are not embedded, a font that contains the appropriate glyphs must be specified and available on both the server and the client computer.

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In addition to the report layout, the PDF rendering extension writes the following metadata to the PDF Document Information Dictionary.

PDF property

Created from


The Name attribute of the Report RDL element.


The Author RDL element.


The Description RDL element.


Reporting Services product name and version.


Rendering extension name and version.


Report execution time in PDF datetime format.

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Some interactive elements are supported in PDF. The following is a description of specific behaviors.

Show and Hide

Dynamic show and hide elements are not supported in PDF. The PDF document is rendered to match the current state of any items in the report. For example, if the item is displayed when the report is run initially, then the item is rendered. Images that can be toggled are not rendered, if they are hidden when the report is exported.

Document Map

If there are any document map labels present in the report, a document outline is added to the PDF file. Each document map label appears as an entry in the document outline in the order that it appears in the report. In Acrobat, a target bookmark is added to the document outline only if the page it is on is rendered.

If only a single page is rendered, no document outline is added. The document map is arranged hierarchically to reflect the level of nesting in the report. The document outline is accessible in Acrobat under the Bookmarks tab. Clicking an entry within the document outline causes the document to go to the bookmarked location.


Bookmarks are not supported in PDF rendering.

Drillthrough links are not supported in PDF rendering. The drillthrough links are not rendered as clickable links and drillthrough reports cannot connect to the target of the drillthrough.

Hyperlinks in reports are rendered as clickable links in the PDF file. When clicked, Acrobat will open the default client browser and navigate to the hyperlink URL.

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Image compression is based on the original file type of the image. The PDF rendering extension compresses PDF files by default.

To preserve any compression for images included in the PDF file when possible, JPEG images are stored as JPEG and all other image types are stored as BMP.

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Device Information Settings

You can change some default settings for this renderer by changing the device information settings. For more information, see PDF Device Information Settings.

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Change History

Updated content

Corrected information about drillthrough links. They are not supported in reports exported to PDF.