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Printing and exporting reports

From: SQL Server Reporting Services in Depth

Video: Printing and exporting reports

Reporting Services can generate or render your report in multiple ways. When you view a typical report using the Report Manager website it's rendered out as HTML, as a web page, and this is what has the most interactivity, allowing drilldown actions and drillthrough reports, interactive parameters, and so on. And if you have a lot of data, Reporting Services doesn't often even figure out how many pages you have, because you'll actually see a question mark up at the top page, one of question mark. It's rendering these pages one by one as it doesn't need to figure them out until you ask for them.

Printing and exporting reports

Reporting Services can generate or render your report in multiple ways. When you view a typical report using the Report Manager website it's rendered out as HTML, as a web page, and this is what has the most interactivity, allowing drilldown actions and drillthrough reports, interactive parameters, and so on. And if you have a lot of data, Reporting Services doesn't often even figure out how many pages you have, because you'll actually see a question mark up at the top page, one of question mark. It's rendering these pages one by one as it doesn't need to figure them out until you ask for them.

But you also have the option of exporting these reports in multiple formats using the button on the toolbar here. And there's more going on here than it might first seem, because when you do this it's not just using the web browser; Reporting Services will actually totally regenerate this report. It will render it again in a completely different format using a different set of rules. So if I were to export this file as PDF, Reporting Services will figure out the entire report so it can generate a file with explicit page numbers, but there would be no interactivity, no dropdowns, no drillthroughs.

Now one thing worth bearing in mind when generating a PDF is what happens, say, if you have an interactive report with collapsible regions. Now, some people will think that the PDF will automatically span them all for the printable version, but no, that's not what it does. It will take the current state of the report, which for me I'd only expand it to areas, and that's what will be generated as the PDF, whatever I'm looking at. So whatever you have selected in the browser is what you'll get in the document. But sometimes you're more interested in the data than how this actually looks.

So if, on the other hand, you choose to export as CSV, comma separated values, or as XML, you'll get the entire set of data but no layout information. And there are also specific rendering engines for turning this into Excel or Word. If you're someone who lives in Excel, this is often a very convenient way to make this data your own and perform your own actions on it. It's very common when you export as Excel, you'll get a prompt, a warning or an error about this, and until you actually enable editing, you won't get that full interactivity.

This does are very good job of presenting this Excel spreadsheet the way I just saw it on the web page, but you do have the ability to expand the data. Now, the Word and the Excel rendering engines have been improved in the 2012 version of SQL Server. You can still do it in 2008 R2, but it looks a little nicer in 2012. And you can also export or render out in just a pure image format as a TIFF file or as a web archive and HTML, but I'm not going to show those here. Now there are a couple of big distinctions that people don't tend to think about when they first start using Reporting Services.

First is the idea that reports that might work really well when viewed on the web don't necessarily work well as a PDF and vice versa. And the most problematic component is, not surprisingly, the matrix. Because if someone's looking to experiment with a multicolumn expandable collapsible matrix that works great on the web, but also wants to try and fit this into an 8x11 sheet, well, they're going to have a bad time. You try and print the current view of this and you will find the dreaded horizontal pages. It can be used to map these out, but it's really not the most straightforward thing to let us know what we're looking at here.

You see it's not at all unusual to create two versions of the same report, one targeted at the web and one targeted for printing, with a more explicit but more restricted layout. Now, the most important thing when working with printed pages is having more control over page breaks and page orientation. So let's get into that next.

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This video is part of

Image for SQL Server Reporting Services in Depth
SQL Server Reporting Services in Depth

40 video lessons · 10631 viewers

Simon Allardice
Author

 
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  1. 12m 6s
    1. Welcome
      1m 9s
    2. What you need to know
      1m 36s
    3. Exploring SQL Server Reporting Services components
      4m 17s
    4. Reviewing SQL Server versions
      5m 4s
  2. 49m 41s
    1. The elements of a report
      3m 10s
    2. Creating a report with Report Builder
      12m 11s
    3. Grouping table regions on a report
      6m 1s
    4. Joining data from multiple tables
      4m 33s
    5. Formatting report elements
      4m 34s
    6. Using functions in a report
      11m 0s
    7. Displaying data in a matrix
      8m 12s
  3. 24m 9s
    1. Filtering data and adding parameters to a report
      5m 35s
    2. Customizing report parameters
      5m 4s
    3. Sorting data in a data region
      4m 7s
    4. Applying interactive sorting
      4m 57s
    5. Creating a drillthrough action to connect reports
      4m 26s
  4. 49m 57s
    1. Introduction to charting in Reporting Services
      4m 16s
    2. Creating a column chart
      8m 35s
    3. Adding a generated average to a chart
      4m 5s
    4. Creating a pie chart
      8m 19s
    5. Using sparklines
      6m 38s
    6. Adding a sparkline to a drilldown matrix
      14m 34s
    7. Adding data bars
      3m 30s
  5. 21m 48s
    1. Adding indicators to a report
      7m 52s
    2. Using and configuring gauges
      5m 30s
    3. Using maps in Reporting Services
      8m 26s
  6. 38m 14s
    1. Creating modular reports with report parts
      4m 36s
    2. Adding and updating report parts
      4m 37s
    3. Using subreports and nested regions
      4m 28s
    4. Configuring headers and footers
      3m 9s
    5. Printing and exporting reports
      3m 45s
    6. Using page breaks
      5m 37s
    7. Creating and using shared data sources
      8m 11s
    8. Creating and using shared data sets
      3m 51s
  7. 27m 20s
    1. Organizing reports in Report Manager
      3m 1s
    2. Adding users and configuring report security
      5m 24s
    3. Configuring subscriptions
      5m 13s
    4. Creating a linked report
      4m 8s
    5. Using Report Designer in SQL Server Data Tools
      9m 34s
  8. 1m 2s
    1. Goodbye
      1m 2s

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