Working with Report Builder 1.0 (Ad Hoc Reports)

Report Builder is a client-side application that information workers can use to create and design ad hoc reports. Using Report Builder, users can select data and design reports without having to understand how and where the data is stored. Nor do they need to know any complex programming languages in order to create reports. They simply need to be familiar with the business model of your data.

Using Report Builder, users can create table, matrix, or chart reports. To get started, select a report layout template and then simply drag and drop the fields into the design area. The data can be manipulated by filtering, grouping and sorting, or working with formulas. You can specify parameters, such as the prompt parameter in filters. In addition, you can add images to your report layout and format your reports to use colors, fonts, lines, and different formats. Save reports to the report server, and then they can be managed just like any other report on the server. Or, reports can be exported to the local computer as a different file type, such as a TIFF, PDF, Microsoft Office Excel, or HTML file.

Report Builder Window with model open.

Report Builder builds reports based on report models, referred to as data sources in Report Builder, provided by the model designer who is typically an analyst, database administrator, or database developer. A data source contains information about the data available in the database and the relationships between that data. When fields are dragged onto the design area, users are laying out the report and providing the information needed to retrieve the data at the same time.

Report Builder is a ClickOnce Windows Forms application that is accessed from the report server for easy centralized management. Report Builder reports are published using Report Definition Language (RDL), which allows users to take advantage of Reporting Service’s full capabilities. Because Report Builder reports are saved as RDL, they can be opened and modified using the advanced programming capabilities in Report Designer. Report Builder reports are managed, secured, and delivered using the same methods and APIs used to manage, secure, and deliver Report Designer reports. In addition, Report Builder can be launched from third party applications for integrated reporting.

When Report Builder is loaded on the client computer, a separate Help file is available for reference. This Help file discusses Report Builder concepts, and provides procedural and F1 help.