Creating a Report Dataset

When you create reports in Reporting Services, you first define one or more data sources and then you create one or more datasets for each data source. Each dataset specifies the fields from the data source that you plan to use in the report, and calculated fields that you can create. In addition to the query and field definitions, a dataset contains a pointer to the data source, query parameters, and data options that include character sensitivities including case, kana type, width, accent, and collation information.

After you create a dataset, you can view the name of the dataset and its field collection in the Report Data pane. From the Report Data pane, you can create additional fields or edit existing fields. For more information, see Working with Fields in a Report Dataset.

To display data in your report, link a dataset to a data region, such as a table or chart, by dragging fields from the Report Data pane to a data region on the design surface. For more information about each type of data region and the concepts of preparing, filtering, and grouping your data, see Working with Data Regions, Filtering Data in a Report, and Grouping and Sorting Report Data.

Dataset Features

Reporting Services provides the following features to help you create datasets that specify the data that you want in your report:

  • Data source types. A list of predefined types of relational, multidimensional, and XML data sources, for example, SQL Server and Microsoft SQL Server Analysis Services. For a complete list, see Creating a Report Data Source.

  • Data processing extensions and data providers. Preconfigured components that connect to a data source type and retrieve the report data for the dataset. You can also register third-party data providers as data sources. For more information, see Data Processing Extensions and .NET Framework Data Providers.

  • Graphical and text-based query designers. Query designers help you write a query to specify the data to retrieve from the data source. Query designers display example data for your report and help you define query parameters. For more information, see Query Design Tools in Reporting Services. The default sort order for the dataset is defined in the query.

  • Automatically generated report parameters for query parameters. When your query includes query parameters, Reporting Services automatically creates report parameters so that the user can vary the parameters before they run the report. When your query includes multiple related parameters, you can create cascading parameters to help control the number of values from which to choose. For more information, see Adding Parameters to Your Report and Using Query Parameters with Specific Data Sources (Reporting Services).

  • Dataset filters. Filters that you can define to include or exclude specific values after the data is retrieved from the data source. For more information, see Dataset Properties Dialog Box, Filters.

Using Report Models

Report models are, in effect, predefined datasets. Someone with expertise in model design must first create a report model and publish it before it can be used in a report. You can use a report model as a data source for both full-featured reports and for ad hoc reports created in Report Builder. You do not have to create a dataset query when working with a report model because the model builds the query for you as you work with the data. Report models contain predefined fields and data relationships, called entities and roles, that appear in the Data pane when you select a report model as a data source, and which can be used in the same way that dataset fields are used. For more information about how to build report models, see Working with Model Designer. For more information about creating ad hoc reports, see Working with Report Builder.

To learn more about how to connect to and retrieve data from the data source types supported by Reporting Services, see the topics in this section.

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