Reporting Services in Business Intelligence Development Studio

Business Intelligence Development Studio is a Microsoft Visual Studio 2008 environment with enhancements that are specific to SQL Server 2008 business intelligence solutions. Use Business Intelligence Development Studio to develop reports and report models in SQL Server 2008 Reporting Services. When you install Reporting Services, the following project templates are made available in Business Intelligence Development Studio:

  • Report Server Project

  • Report Server Project Wizard

  • Report Model Project

Business Intelligence Development Studio also provides an environment for running Report Designer and Model Designer. These are the design tools that you use to author the reports and models in Reporting Services.

When you open a Business Intelligence Development Studio project or designer, you will see project-specific menus in Visual Studio. In addition, the Visual Studio menu options and shortcut menus change to reflect both the project type that you are creating and the specific items that you are working with. As you explore Business Intelligence Development Studio and the Reporting Services features discussed in this topic, you can right-click on various items to learn about these options.

If you have used SQL Server Reporting Services before, you will probably be familiar with the Visual Studio functionality in Business Intelligence Development Studio. If you have not worked with Reporting Services before, this topic helps orient you to the projects and menus in Business Intelligence Development Studio that are specific to Reporting Services.


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.

Supported Versions

The following table describes the supported versions for authoring and publishing reports in Business Intelligence Development Studio.

Project or File type


Author Reports

Publish Reports


Report Server Project


Report Server Wizard Project

SQL Server 2008

2008 RDL schema

SQL Server 2008 Reporting Services report server only

Upgrades 2003 RDL and 2005 RDL to the 2008 RDL schema locally.

Report Server Project


Report Server Wizard Project

SQL Server 2005

2005 RDL schema

SQL Server 2005 or SQL Server 2008 Reporting Services report server

Report Server Project

SQL Server 2000

2003 RDL schema

Not supported

Visual Studio RDLC Report Designer

Visual Studio 2005

Visual Studio 2008

2005 RDL schema

Not supported

Does not support 2008 RDL schema.

Visual Studio Viewer controls

Visual Studio 2005

Visual Studio 2008

2008 RDL not supported in local mode


Can view 2008 RDL reports on SQL Server 2008 Reporting Services report server in server mode.

For more information about opening reports in a previous version of the report definition schema, see Upgrading Reports. For more information about specific report definition schemas, see Report Definition Language Specification.

Report Server Project

When you select a Report Server Project, Report Designer opens. A Report Server Project is a Business Intelligence Projects template installed by Visual Studio that is available from the New Project dialog box. For more information, see Working with Report Designer in Business Intelligence Development Studio and How to: Create a Report (Reporting Services).

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.

    For more information, see Connecting to Report Data, Designing the Report Layout, and Working with Report Data.

  • 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 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 Viewing and Saving Reports.

  • 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.

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.

Report Server Wizard Project

When you select a Report Server Wizard Project, a report server project is automatically created, and the Report Wizard opens. 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 designer by using Report Designer in the Report Server project.

Report Model Project

When you select a Report Model Project, the Model Designer for Reporting Services opens. A Report Model Project is a template installed by Visual Studio that is available from the Business Intelligence Projects section of the New Projects dialog box. Model Designer is a graphical tool for creating report models based on SQL Server databases. Report models are used in Report Builder 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.

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.