Viewing Reports

This topic describes the ways that you can run a report, viewing options, and the effects of refresh operations on an open report. You can use Report Manager, SharePoint Web parts, or a browser to view reports that are published to a report server. All reports that open from the report server are placed in an HTML viewer that provides page navigation and other functionality that is useful for working with a report. To view reports that have been delivered to a shared folder, you can use the desktop application that corresponds to the file type created during report delivery.

In This Section

Viewing Published Reports on a Report Server

Reports that you open from the report server render as HTML in an HTML viewer. The viewer includes a report toolbar that you can use to navigate through the pages in a report, zoom in or out, search for specific report content, and more. The following illustration shows the report toolbar within a Report Manager window. The report toolbar also appears in a browser window at the top of a report when you access reports through a URL.

Report toolbar in Report Manager

Reporting Services opens the report in HTML 3.2 or HTML 4.0 format depending on the format that the browser supports. Once you open a report, you can export it to other viewing formats, including desktop applications. The easiest way to select and run a report is to open Report Manager and then search for or navigate to the report that you want to view. For step-by-step instruction on how to open reports, see How to: Open and Close a Report (Report Manager).

Refreshing a Report

You can refresh a report in three different ways.

Option Result

Refresh button on the browser window

Displays the report stored in the session cache. A session cache is created when a user opens a report. Reporting Services uses browser sessions to maintain a consistent viewing experience while a report is open.

Browser refresh button on report toolbar

When you click the Refresh button on the report toolbar, the report server reruns the query and updates report data if the report runs on-demand. If the report is cached or is a snapshot, Refresh displays the report stored in the report server database.

CTRL+F5 keyboard combination

Produces the same result as clicking the Refresh button on the report toolbar.

About User Sessions

Reporting Services uses browser sessions to maintain consistency while viewing reports. Sessions are based on browser connections, not authenticated users. A new session is created each time a user opens a report in a new browser window. Once a browser session is established, you continue to work with the version of the report that was opened when the session began, even if the report is modified on the report server. For example, if you open a report at 11:00 P.M., and a report author republishes the same report at 11:01 P.M., your session will contain the version that you opened for the duration of the session.

If you refresh a report within the same session using the browser's Refresh button, the original session version of the report is displayed. If you refresh an on-demand report using the Refresh button on the report toolbar, the report is re-run and new data, if any, is displayed. Different refresh options produce different results. For more information, see Viewing Reports.

Session information is stored in the report server temporary database. The report server does not use ASP.NET session management. If you restart the server or perform a database recovery operation, session state is not restored. For more information about session management, see Identifying Execution State.

Viewing Reports in a Desktop Application

You can bypass browser viewing entirely and use a desktop application (such as Microsoft Excel) as your report viewer instead. To do this, define a subscription that specifies a desktop application format and a shared folder destination. The report server generates your report as an application file, appends a file extension, and saves the report as a file on your hard drive. You can then use Microsoft Excel (or another application) instead of a browser to view your report.

Change History

Release History

17 July 2006

New content:
  • About User Sessions.

See Also


How to: Open and Close a Report (Report Manager)
How to: Open and Close a Report (Management Studio)


Processing Large Reports
Running a Parameterized Report
Verifying a Report Run

Other Resources

HTML Viewer (Reporting Services)
Managing and Working With Published Reports

Help and Information

Getting SQL Server 2005 Assistance