How to: Add an Expression (Report Builder 3.0 and SSRS)

Expressions are used throughout a report for defining report item properties, filters, groups, sort order, connection strings, and parameter values. Expressions begin with an equal sign (=) and are written in Microsoft Visual Basic. They are evaluated at run time by the report processor, which combines the evaluation result with report layout elements.

Expressions can be simple or complex. Simple expression refer to a single item in a built-in collection. Complex expressions can contain constants, operators, global collection items, and function calls. For more information, see Expressions (Report Builder 3.0 and SSRS).


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

To add an expression to a text box

  • In Design view, click the text box on the design surface to which you want to add an expression.

    • For a simple expression, type the display text for the expression in the text box. For example, for the dataset field Sales, type [Sales].

    • For a complex expression, right-click the text box, and select Expression. The Expression dialog box opens. Type or interactively create your expression after the '=' in the expression pane, and then click OK.

      The expression appears on the design surface as <<Expr>>.