Ad Hoc Reporting with Report Models

Information workers throughout an organization need access to business data for timely and effective decision making. With a wide range of skills and expertise, these business users need an intuitive yet powerful tool to explore and find answers to critical questions without deep technical knowledge of corporate data sources.

Report Builder allows business users to create their own reports based on a user-friendly report model created in Model Designer. Fully integrated with Microsoft SQL Server 2005 Reporting Services, Report Builder leverages the full reporting platform to bring ad hoc reporting to all users.

Report Builder can run on any platform that supports the Microsoft.NET Framework version 2.0. If the .NET Framework 2.0 is not installed on the client computer, users will be prompted to install it.

Report Builder

Users create reports with the Report Builder tool. The Report Builder interface is built on top of familiar Microsoft Office paradigms such as Excel and PowerPoint. Users start with report layout templates containing pre-defined data regions to build combinations of tables, matrices and charts. They navigate the reporting model to select report items and set constraints to filter the report data. The reporting model contains all of the necessary information for the Report Builder to automatically generate the source query and retrieve the requested data. The Report Builder also allows users to:

  • Add text and formatting to reports.
  • Create new fields and calculations defined against the reporting model.
  • Preview, print and publish reports.
  • Explore data related to the content of their report.
Interactive Data Exploration

Report Builder reports enable users to interactively drill and explore data related to the content of their report.

  • Automatic generation of new drill down reports allows users to explore data along model navigation paths.
  • Queries for navigation reports are generated on the fly, passing the context of the user’s current “location.”
  • Users can keep drilling as long as there is a relationship to follow from the current item.
Report Models

Report Builder reports are built from report models that provide a business layer on top of the underlying data source. Report models include:

  • Business names for database fields and tables.
  • Defined relationships between items in the data source.
  • Logical groupings of model items.

The report model aids users in navigating and selecting the desired information from the underlying data source. The Report Builder then uses the report model definitions to automatically generate the source query for retrieving the requested data. In addition, model elements can be secured so that users only see data they have permissions to see.

Model Designer

Model Designer is the user application for defining, editing and publishing report models. You can launch the Model Designer and start designing directly against a data source or you can auto-generate the model based on a set of predefined rules as the starting point for model design. Model Designer can generate models against SQL Server 2000 and 2005 databases, Oracle databases running version or later, and Teradata databases running version 12.00 or 6.20.


Report models based on SQL Server 2005 Analysis Services databases are generated by using Report Manager or SQL Server Management Studio.

Integration with Reporting Services

Report Builder reports are just like any other Reporting Services report, once published, and leverage all of the viewing and management features of the reporting platform.

  • Report Builder is a ClickOnce Windows Forms application deployed from the Report Server for centralized management.
  • Report Builder reports are published in the Report Definition Language (RDL).
  • Reports are managed, secured and delivered by the same methods and APIs.
  • Report Builder reports can be edited in the Report Designer to take advantage of Report Designer’s full capabilities such as nested data regions and expanded expression support.
  • Can be launched from third party applications for integrated reporting.

SQL Server Studio Integration

The user interface for securing and managing models and model items is integrated into SQL Server Management Studio. Models are managed here similar to other Report Server items.

  • Model security and management through SQL Server Management Studio.
  • New management APIs for models.

In This Section

See Also


How to: Start Report Builder


Report Builder
Model Designer
Model Designer How-to Topics
Data Sources Supported by Reporting Services
Generating Models Using Report Management Tools

Help and Information

Getting SQL Server 2005 Assistance

Change History

Release History

17 November 2008

Updated content:
  • Models can now be generated from Teradata databases.

12 December 2006

Updated content:
  • Models can now be generated from Oracle databases.

14 April 2006

New content:
  • Information about versions.