Reporting Services in Business Intelligence Development Studio (SSRS)

Business Intelligence Development Studio is one of the Reporting Services authoring environments that you can use to design reports and is the only authoring environment that you can use to design report models. Business Intelligence Development Studio is the Visual Studio environment with enhancements that are specific to business intelligence solutions. BI Development Studio provides solution files that enable you to create and organize business intelligence project files. For more information about the general features of Business Intelligence Development Studio, see Introducing Business Intelligence Development Studio.


Business Intelligence Development Studio supports working with both SQL Server 2008 and SQL Server 2008 R2 reports, and with Report Server projects in the SQL Server 2008 R2 version of Business Intelligence Development Studio. You can open, save, preview, and deploy either version of reports or Report Server projects. You set Report Server project properties to specify the version of the report server to deploy reports to and how to handle warnings and errors which might occur when up either upgrade a report from SQL Server 2008 to SQL Server 2008 R2, or revert a report from SQL Server 2008 R2 to SQL Server 2008. For more information, see Working with Report Designer in Business Intelligence Development Studio.

Reporting Services provides the following project templates in BI Development Studio:

  • Report Server Project Wizard. Use this template to guide you through the steps of creating a data source and a report.

  • Report Server Project. Use this template to create or add existing reports to a project.

  • Report Model Project. Use this template to create a data source, a data source view, and a report model.

Business Intelligence Development Studio also provides an environment for running Report Designer and Model Designer. For more information about other report authoring environments that you can use to create reports, see Comparing Report Authoring Environments and Designing Reports in Report Designer and Report Builder 3.0 (SSRS).


SQL Server Business Intelligence Development Studio, the 32-bit development environment for Report Server and Report Model projects, is not designed to run on Itanium-based computers and is not installed on Itanium-based servers. However, support for BI Development Studio is available for x64-based computers.

Projects, reports, or models that were designed in earlier versions of SQL Server are automatically upgraded to be compatible with the current version. Projects are upgraded when you open the corresponding solution file. Each report and model is automatically upgraded the first time you open it in a project. For more information, see Upgrading Reports. For more information about specific report definition schemas, see Report Definition Language Specification. For step-by-step instructions on how to find the RDL schema version in a report, in a project, or on the report server, see How to: Find the Report Definition Schema Version (SSRS).

Report Server Project

When you select a Report Server template to create new project, Report Designer opens. Use Report Designer to author, preview, and publish a report. For more information, see Working with Report Designer in Business Intelligence Development Studio.

Use the following tabs, windows, menus, and tools to design and preview a report in Report Designer.

Tabs and Windows

Report Designer is a graphical tool for creating reports that has two views: Design for designing a report and Preview for running the report locally and viewing the rendered report in the report viewer.

  • Design   Use this view to design the report.

    In this view, the following windows or panes to provide additional functionality:

    • Report Data   Use to define data sources, datasets, report parameters, and images.

    • Design Surface   Use to design the report layout.

    • Toolbox   Use to add report items such as tables and charts to the design surface.

    • Grouping   Use to define groups for table, matrix, and list data regions. These data regions are all templates based on the Tablix data region.

    • Properties   Use to set properties directly on a selected item on the design surface in the Grouping pane.

    • **Toolbar   **Use to change formatting and alignment of selected report items on the design surface.

    • Document Outline   Displays the report items and text boxes used by data regions in a hierarchical view of the report definition.

    From the shortcut menu on the report background, click View, and then Ruler to toggle the Ruler display.

  • Preview   Use this view to run the report on your local computer and view the rendered report in the report viewer. Preview caches report data locally. You can also set project properties to run the report in debug view, using a browser. In this view, you can also use the following components:

    • Output   Use this pane to view error messages from the local report processor or deployment progress when you publish a report to the report server.

    • **Report viewer toolbar   **Use to set report parameter values, navigate through the report, and print or export the report to a different file format.

    For more information, see Finding, Viewing, and Managing Reports (Report Builder 3.0 and SSRS).

  • Both Design and Preview   In both views, you can use Solution Explorer.

    • Solution Explorer   Use to view shared data sources and reports for a BI Development Studio project. From the Project menu, you can set project properties and publish the report to a report server.

    For more information, see Publishing Data Sources and Reports (SSRS).

Report Designer uses the following menus:

  • View   Use to display or hide the following windows: Report Data, Solution Explorer, Code, Designer, Output, Document Outline, Toolbox, Properties, Report Borders toolbar, Report Formatting toolbar, and the Layout toolbar.

  • Project   Use to open project properties, add new or existing items to the project, and to import reports from Access. The menu item Import Reports only appears if Microsoft Access is installed.

  • Report   Use to add or delete the page header and footer, show or hide the Grouping pane, change from Design view to Preview view, and to show the report properties. This menu is available only when you the design surface is active. To make the design surface active, click on the Design or Preview tab.

Report Server Project Properties

Report Server project properties apply to all reports and all shared data sources in a Business Intelligence Development Studio project. These properties include the URL for the report server and the folder names for reports and shared data sources. Use the Project Property Pages dialog box to view the current property values. To open this dialog box, on the Project menu, click <project name> Properties

To create multiple sets of project properties for deployment variations such as enterprise test and production report servers, use the Configuration Manager. For more information, see Publishing Data Sources and Reports (SSRS).

Report Server Wizard Project

When you select a Report Server Wizard template to create new project, the Report Wizard runs. In the wizard, you can create a report by following instructions on each page to create a connection string to a data source, set data source credentials, design a query, add a table or matrix data region, specify report data and groups, pick a font and color style, publish the report to a report server, and preview the report locally.

After you create a report with the wizard, you can change the report data and the report design by using Report Designer. The next time you open the project, you can open it as a Report Server project.

Report Model Project

When you select a Report Model Project template, the Model Designer opens. Model Designer is a graphical tool for creating report models based on SQL Server databases. Report models are used in Report Builder 1.0 to create ad hoc reports. When you create a report model, only the Report Model tab is displayed by default.

  • Report Model tab   On the Report Model tab, you can add or remove model objects. The Report Model tab is divided into two panes: the Tree view pane on the left side, and the List view pane on the right side. Tree view lists every entity contained within the model. List view displays items contained within the selected entity or folder. You can use shortcut menus in both views to add or delete items from the model.

  • Data Source view tab   On the Data Source view tab, you can create a view for a single shared data source that has been defined for the project. The Data Source View tab is not open by default, but you can view the Data Source View tab by double-clicking the name of the data source view in Solution Explorer. For more information about the Model Designer user interface, see Model Designer F1 Help.

For more information, see Working with Model Designer in Business Intelligence Development Studio. For more information about creating ad hoc reports in Reporting Services, see Designing and Implementing Reports Using Report Builder 1.0 on

When the Report Model tab is active in Business Intelligence Development Studio, a Reporting Model menu is added to the main menu bar. When the focus is not on the Report Model tab, the Reporting Menu is removed from the main menu bar.

Model Designer Project Properties

When you select a report model item, the contents of the Properties window change to reflect the properties that are associated with the selected item. Model Designer sets some properties by default but you can change the current properties or assign new properties.