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Discover how to create, manage, and deliver interactive reports—not just to print, but to dynamically explore enterprise-level data—with Reporting Services in SQL Server. In this course, author Simon Allardice concentrates on using Report Builder to build and format reports from a variety of data sources, but also shows how to perform basic administration tasks such as granting user access and organizing reports in the Report Manager. Plus, learn how to add interactive sorting and filtering functionality to your reports, and create column and pie charts to better express your data.
Note: These tutorials are applicable to both the 2008 and 2012 versions of SQL Server.
So far I've just let Report Builder provide fonts and colors. We can of course change what we are seen here, but there are a couple tricks to doing this successfully. So I am going to switch back to Design view. I'm in this previous example, the products grouped by category layout, and this was a table where I just used the generic color scheme, which is as close to neutral as you can get. First let's take a look at the larger report. Now, looking at it, I can see there seems to be a difference between some areas of regular static text, like the title of the report here, and then there are some areas that are using the square brackets, like for product category name and product name. These are dynamic, meaning it will change when the report runs and inject the product name in the category name multiple times. And a main clue for the dynamic sections of the square brackets around them.
However, we can format any of this. So lets I wanted to select the title and changed the formatting here. I can just grab and select the text. An easier way is to click on the surrounding part of the actual text box. Sometimes it's a little difficult to grab. The clue is if you have the grab handles here we have got the entire thing selected. You can of course use the Standard home tab on the Ribbon just like in most Office applications, but one thing that's much more useful to have when you're working with formatting is to make sure that your Properties window is open on the right-hand side. If it's not, you can get it from the View tab of Report Builder, just toggling it on and off. And with that selected, we have a lot more options than you'd just on the Home tap. You can either view them in the Properties window itself--things like Padding and Spacing and so on--or you can click this button here to open up the Property pages for that selected element.
And you have a larger window here to step through different formatting options like Alignment and Border options and Fonts. Towards the bottom, there are some more complex options like Visibility and Action, which we will get into later. I'm just going to make basic change here to the font and take that down to 14 points. And that should change the title. And although it's looked as if the table has actually been matched right up with the title, that's not really the case; the table is considered an independent visual element on this report, and we can move it around and format it as we see fit.
But when formatting a table, or any of the other data regions that we will see, you need to pay attention where you click. So notice that if I click into one section of the table I also get these surrounding gray bars, and these are really helpful when formatting or manipulating a table. If I click in the top I can select the entire column. If I click on the left-hand side, I can select the entire row, and I can apply formatting to that entire row if want to. If I select in the top-left corner, but it will disappear, but I will have the entire table selected.
And with those grab handles, I can actually see that I could move that down and into the middle of a report a little bit; it's not actually tied to the title. Now right now this table does have a very basic row at the top which is just text. It's the heading for our category name product name, and I can just type in here and change it, because that's a little more than I need. I can have this just say Category and Name. But I can also click on the left-hand side here to grab that entire row and if I want to do something easy, just use the Home tab of the Ribbon and set that to bold and 12 points.
Other options I could have is to say click in this area which is currently showing Product Name, and with that selected, either use the Property pages or just the Property window itself and say change the background color. We'll just do a light gray here just to prove the point. Go over here and run it, and we are starting immediately to see any of the changes that I've made. It looks like I could really move this title around a bit, move it something towards at the center, and you actually see as well when you're moving things around you will see the lines appear to help you line them up with other elements on the page.
Go ahead and run this. It looks a bit more presentable. And notice that when I open this up we are actually seeing the background color of the product name elements. Now right now you probably noticed that is that kind of missing row for each of these entries, and the idea here is that you might be putting in some kind of aggregate function, a count or total of something. And we are going to see how to do that a little later on and of course see a bunch more formatting options, because as we go through the course, will see things like working with page breaks and working with page width issues, but we really need a few more visual elements to add to our toolkit first.
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