Exporting Reports

SQL Server 2005 Reporting Services provides an export option so that you can export a browser-based report to another application. The export option is available on the report toolbar that appears at the top of every report that is rendered in the HTML Viewer. Exporting a report allows you to do the following:

  • Work with the report in another application.
  • Save the report as an application data file.
  • Print the report in a different rendering format.

To export a report, select a rendering format from the drop-down list and click Export. The report opens in the application associated with the rendering format (for example, choosing Excel opens the report in Microsoft Excel). The file associations defined for the local computer determine which application is used for a particular rendering format.

The report server exports the report as it exists in the current user session. If a report author publishes an updated version of the report while you have it open, the updated version is ignored.

A report server does not store information about previous export operations on a report, or allow you to specify rendering format preferences for opening the report directly from the report server. By default, reports open in a browser application are always initially rendered in HTML. You cannot specify a different rendering extension as the default. You can, however, create a subscription that produces a report in the rendering format you want for subsequent delivery to an e-mail inbox or shared folder. Alternately, you can access a report through a URL that specifies a rendering extension as a URL parameter. For more information, see Choosing Report Presentation Formats in a Subscription and Specifying a Rendering Format in a URL.


Exporting a report is an on-demand task that you perform when the report is open in a browser window. If you want to automate an export operation (for example, to export a report to a shared folder as a specific file type on a recurring schedule), create a subscription that delivers the report to a shared folder. For more information, see File Share Delivery in Reporting Services.

Reports that you access from the report server can change, with the exception of report history snapshots, so if you want to save a copy of a particular report, export it to the application you want and save the report as a file. For more information, see Saving Reports.

Available Export Formats and Configuration Options

Export formats are supported through rendering extensions that are installed on the report server, and then made available through configuration settings. Export functionality can vary from one report or report server installation to the next.

  • A developer can set URL parameters that hide a report toolbar from a report, preventing the use of the export option and other toolbar features.
  • A developer can set URL parameters that render the report in a specific output format.
  • A report server administrator can add or remove rendering extensions from configuration files, determining which export formats are available from the drop-down list.
  • A report server administrator can specify device information settings that override default rendering behavior.
  • If you are using SQL Server 2005 Express Edition with Advanced Services, some export formats are not available. Specifically, you cannot use the TIFF (Image), XML, and CSV rendering extensions.

The export formats that are available on a report server are defined through rendering extension settings in the Reporting Services configuration files. To make a rendering extension unavailable, you can remove the rendering extension setting from the Render setting of the RSReportServer.config file. A rendering extension is either available or unavailable. You cannot vary extension availability for specific groups, users, or reports. For more information, see RSReportServer Configuration File and Specifying Rendering Extension Parameters in Configuration Files. For more information about URL access and hiding the report toolbar, see Using a URL to Access Report Server Items and Using URL Access Parameters.

Rendering Considerations

Performance and memory consumption varies for each rendering format. The same report will render at different rates and require different amounts of memory depending on the format you select. The fastest and least memory intensive formats include CSV, XML, and HTML. PDF and Excel have the lowest performance but for different reasons. PDF is CPU-intensive, while Excel is RAM-intensive. Image rendering falls in between the two groups.

Pagination varies for each rendering format. For example, Adobe Acrobat (PDF), pagination is based on paper size. HTML pagination is not based on physical dimensions. Pages are separated by page breaks that you add to a report, but the actual length may vary from page to page. Check the Product Catalog sample report to view an example of pagination in HTML format. For more information about pagination, see Controlling Report Pagination.

The following table describes the rendering formats you can use in an export operation.

Format Description Recommendations


Opens a report in Microsoft Excel.

Use this format to manipulate report data in Microsoft Excel 2000 or later.

Web archive

Opens a report in MHTML. The report opens in Internet Explorer. This is the default rendering format for Internet Explorer 6.0.

In contrast with other HTML rendering extensions, the Web archive format produces a self-contained, portable report (embeds images within the report). Use this format to view HTML reports offline or for e-mail-based delivery.

Acrobat (PDF) file

Opens a report in Adobe Acrobat Reader (version 6.0 or later).

Use this format to print paginated reports or to create PDF versions of a report.


Opens a report in a page-oriented format. The version of the Windows operating system determines which application is used.

Use this format to print paginated reports. This format is useful if you don't have Acrobat Reader installed.


Opens a report in XML. The report opens in a browser.

Use this format to copy report data from a report server to other applications or servers.


Opens a report in comma-delimited format. The report opens in an application associated with CSV file formats.

This format produces the smallest file size. Use this format to copy report data from a report server to other applications or servers.

See Also


How to: Export a Report (SharePoint Integrated Mode)
How to: Export a Report (Report Manager)


Viewing Reports
Printing Reports
Saving Reports

Other Resources

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

Help and Information

Getting SQL Server 2005 Assistance

Change History

Release History

14 April 2006

New content:
  • Access a report via a URL.