Report Servers and SharePoint Report Servers (Report Builder 3.0 and SSRS)

From Report Builder and Report Designer in Business Intelligence Development Studio, you can share report definition (.rdl) and other files to a report server or a SharePoint site that is integrated with a report server. The items that you can share on a server and the way that you share them are different in Report Builder and Report Designer.


You can create and modify report definitions (.rdl) in Report Builder 3.0 and in Report Designer in Business Intelligence Development Studio. Each authoring environment provides different ways to create, open, and save reports and related items. For more information, see Designing Reports in Report Designer and Report Builder 3.0 (SSRS) on the Web at

What is a Report Server?

A report server is a computer that has SQL Server Reporting Services installed. It can also be a SharePoint site that is integrated with a report server. The report server stores published reports, shared data sources, shared datasets, report parts, shared schedules and subscriptions, and other resources. The report server system administrator can configure the report server to process report requests, maintain snapshot histories, and manage permissions for reports, data sources, datasets, and subscriptions.

In Report Builder, you can use shared data sources, shared datasets, report parts, and report models from the report server directly in your report. When you preview the report, report processing occurs on the report server.

Report Builder maintains a list of the report servers that you have used and displays them in the Recent Sites and Servers list in the Open and Save dialog boxes. Report Builder also displays the report server that you are currently connected to in the status bar of the main window.

In Report Designer, you can keep a master set of reports, reports with report parts, shared data sources, shared datasets, report models, and resources organized in solution and project files. You can create sets of project properties to represent debug and production environments, and then deploy all items in the project to the report server folders or SharePoint site specified in the project properties.

Default Report Servers in Report Builder

You can specify a default report server when you install Report Builder, or later in the Options dialog box: click the Report Builder button, and then click Options. On the Settings tab, enter the URL to the report server or SharePoint site that is integrated with a report server. If you have specified a default report server, Report Builder connects to that report server automatically.

When you change the default report server in the Options dialog box, you must restart Report Builder for the change to take effect.


To start Report Builder with no connection to a report server, in the Options dialog box, leave the default report server box blank.

Sharing Your Reports on a Report Server

In Report Builder, you save reports to a report server or SharePoint site integrated with a report server. In Report Designer, you deploy them. When reports are on a report server, individuals with appropriate permissions for the report server or the SharePoint site can then run your report. In addition, if you have adequate permissions, you can create subscriptions to your report so that the report can be updated and sent to users on a regular schedule. If you do not have adequate permissions, contact your report server system administrator.

Saving a Report to a SharePoint Site

When you save reports and related files to a SharePoint library by using Report Builder, or you deploy them by using Report Designer, the files are validated before they are added. If you upload reports and related files by using the Upload action on a SharePoint library, no validation check occurs. You will not know whether the file is valid until you access the report by managing, editing, or running it. To be sure reports and other files are valid, use Report Builder to save (or Report Designer to deploy) to a SharePoint library, rather than adding them to SharePoint directly. You cannot save a report to the root folder of a SharePoint site. You must save to a document library.

In addition, references in a report definition to shared data sources, subreports, and resources such as Web-based images must be fully qualified URLs to a SharePoint library. For more information, see Specifying Paths to External Items (Report Builder 3.0 and SSRS).

Report Server-only Features

In Report Builder when you preview reports, some features only work when you are connected to a report server:

  • Drillthrough actions

  • Subreports

  • Custom assemblies

  • Custom report items

  • Additional data extensions

In local mode in Report Designer, you can add references to the items in a project for drillthrough targets, subreports, images, or ESRI spatial data files.

Authoring Reports Locally

You can also author reports and store them on your local file system. When you preview these reports, report processing occurs on your local computer. When you are authoring reports in Report Builder without a report server, you cannot use drillthrough reports, subreports, or images on the report server, or shared data sources. You may be able to define these objects in your report, but the references will not resolve when you attempt to preview your report, and you will get error messages.