Report Items ToolBox

Textbox Report Item

The Textbox item can be used to display data from a data source, calculations or expressions, or static data, much like a label control in a Windows forms project. When you drag fields from the Fields list onto the Report Designer, bound Textbox items are created. Common expressions can refer to a field in the report.

Properties may also be viewed and set by using the standard properties sheet located to the right of the designer. This window may be pinned out or will auto-hide by default. However, the property information is not as conveniently organized. Right-click to get to the most-common properties, and use the properties sheet when you need to set other properties.

Line Report

Item Lines may be drawn in any direction and may be set to a variety of styles and colors. The properties for a line are simple and mostly set using the Properties window or designer toolbar.

Some clever techniques are used to render lines in HTML. Reporting Services will typically try to render content using the most effective way possible. For example, when outputting standard HTML, lines may be rendered as table borders, as a DIV tag filled using a JavaScript function, or even using Virtual Reality Modeling Language (VRML) commands. Like all reports, it’s the job of each format rendering extension on the report server to use the appropriate technique to build each report element output.

Rectangle Report Item

A rectangle item can have many different uses. Arectangle is simply used to visually separate a region of the report. It may be used to visually contain other items. If items such as text boxes, grids, and so on are placed into a rectangle, all these items can be moved together by simply moving the rectangle. A rectangle may also be used as a data container for data items and can be related to and repeated with a parent container.

Image Report Item

Images can be embedded into the report, linked to an external file, or obtained from a data source. Images can be of the BMP, GIF, JPG, JPE, PNG, or X-PNG type. Adding an image in the designer is pretty straightforward. A critical factor is that images are sized and cropped prior to being added to a report. You can resize the image in the Report Designer, but this will not result in a smaller file size. Use a graphics editing tool like the Office Picture Library, Adobe PhotoShop, or Macromedia Fireworks to resize or crop the image and then save it to a new file. You can scale and fit an image to fit the image item container, but it’s advisable to use image files that are already the correct size. This conserves disk space, improves performance, and prevents image distortion.

Drag and drop an image item from the Toolbox onto the report. This will launch the Image Wizard dialog. Select the method you want to use; the image can be from a table in the database or a file and may be linked or embedded into the report. Getting external image files to render correctly can be a bit tricky at times due to file access permissions on the server. If in doubt, it may be easiest to either store the image in the database or embed it into the report definition.

Subreport Item

A subreport is a container for another report embedded into a parent report. The subreport can contain practically any other report with its own, independent data source. It can optionally have its data linked to a key or value in the main report, often referred to as a master/detail report. Subreports are an important element in complex report designs.

The design details of the subreport are not visible in the designer. This report is designed separately and then inserted into the main report as a subreport item.

Be cautious about using subreports with large results. This report item is appropriate for embedding unrelated content within a report that is bound to a different data source or for detail rows related to few master records. Although this may be a useful technique for consolidating reusable report content, it can be very inefficient when compared with some other techniques. For example, if you create a complex query to return all related data in a single result set; a single table item may be used in place of the subreport and may prove to be more efficient.

Chart Report Item

The chart functionality in Reporting Services is really a simplified version of charting components that Microsoft has licensed from Dundas Software. It’s a very capable and easy-to-use charting solution with a variety of available chart types.

Probably the most common and most recognizable chart type is the column chart.
Bar charts and column charts are pretty much the same.

You can tilt your head to the side to get the same view as the other.

Basic Report Design In addition to the standard, single-bar view, the stacked view provides a consolidated look at a series of values by using fewer bars or columns. Each bar is like a mini-pie chart where each value in the bar’s range is in proportion to the others.

A variation, the 100% stacked bar or chart, displays each bar with the same height or length as others, regardless of the total values. This type of chart is useful for comparing values within the bars’ range but not for comparing the aggregates represented by each bar.

One of the most powerful features of the chart item is the ability to group data within each axis.

This type of chart comes in two pastry types: pie and doughnut. Values are presented visually as a percentage of the total for all values in a series. Pie and doughnut chart views may be either Simple or Exploded. The exploded presentation may help to visually separate values, especially the smaller slices. These types of charts can be useful for placing values into comparative perspective. The size of the bubble represents values on a third dimension, in addition to X- and Y-coordinates. Imagine that the bubbles are the same size and that those “closer” to you appear larger.