Designing the Report Layout (Report Builder 2.0)

You can design the layout of your report by adding report items such as data regions, images, lines, rectangles, text boxes, and subreports. Report items are layout elements that are associated with different types of report data. Report items can have multiple fonts, colors, and styles, which you can select from the Ribbon or which can be based on expressions.

The data region report items — Table, Matrix, List, Chart, and Gauge— each display data from a report dataset. When the report is run, the data region expands across and down the report page to display data or summary data from the report dataset. The easiest way to add a table, matrix, or chart to your report is to use the Table, Matrix, or Chart wizard. The wizards, available from the Insert tab, walk you through the process of creating a table, matrix, or chart in your report. You can also add an empty table, matrix, chart, list, or gauge report item from the Insert menu, and set up the data source and properties on your own.

Other report items link to and display a single item:

  • An Image report item displays a picture from another file or from the dataset.

  • 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 also contain subreports, which are references to other reports. Subreports are displayed within the main report, for example, as drillthrough detail information for summary information.

You can set properties on report items to initially hide or show them on the page. You can set visibility properties on rows, columns, or groups 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.

Placing and Moving Report Items

With Report Builder 2.0, you can put report items where you want them by placing them on the design surface. You can interactively position, expand, and contract a report item by 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. For example, placing a matrix and a chart side by side in your report could show two different views of the same data.

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.

Report Sections

A report consists of three main sections: an optional page header and footer, and a report body. Reports often span multiple pages, and the page header and page footer are repeated on each page. You can place images, text boxes, and lines in headers and footers. You can place all types of report items in the report body.


Page headers and footers are not the same as report headers and footers. Report headers and footers are not separate sections of the report. To create a report header or footer, you simply place report items at the top or bottom of the report body. For example, a text box placed near the top of the report body is a report title. It will print once, at the top of the report. On the other hand, a text box placed in the page header section will print on every page. For more information, see Adding Page Headers and Footers (Report Builder 2.0).

Processing the Report

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 Report Builder 2.0. For more information, see Understanding Pagination in Reporting Services (Report Builder 2.0).

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