Report design view (Report Builder)

The Report Builder window is designed to help you easily organize your report resources and quickly build the paginated reports you need. The design surface is at the center of the window, with the ribbon and the panes around it. The design surface is where you add and organize your report items. This article explains the panes you use to add, select, and organize your report resources, and change report item properties.

Screenshot of the Report Builder design view.

  1. Ribbon

  2. Parameters pane

  3. The Report Part Gallery

  4. Properties pane

  5. Report design surface

  6. The Report Data pane

  7. The Grouping Pane

  8. Current report status bar

Parameters pane

With report parameters, you can control report data, connect related reports together, and vary report presentation. The Parameters pane provides a flexible layout for the report parameters.

For more information, see Report parameters (Report Builder and Report Designer).

Report design surface

The Report Builder report design surface is the main work area for designing your reports. To place report items such as data regions, subreports, text boxes, images, rectangles, and lines in your report, you add them from the ribbon or the Report Part Gallery to the design surface. There, you can add groups, expressions, parameters, filters, actions, visibility, and formatting to your report items.


Report parts are deprecated for all releases of SQL Server Reporting Services starting with SQL Server Reporting Services 2019 and all releases of Power BI Report Server starting with Power BI Report Server September 2022.

You can also change the following details:

  • The report body properties, such as border and fill color, by right-clicking the white area of the design surface, outside any report items, and selecting Body Properties.

  • The header and footer properties, such as border and fill color, by right-clicking the white area of the design surface in the header or footer area, outside any report items, and selecting Header Properties or Footer Properties.

  • The properties of the report itself, such as page setup, by right-clicking the gray area around the design surface and selecting Report Properties.

  • The properties of report items by right-clicking them and selecting Properties.

For information about using the keyboard to manipulate items on the design surface, see Keyboard Shortcuts (Report Builder).

Design surface size and print area

The design surface size might be different from the page size print area you specify to print the report. Changing the size of the design surface doesn't change the print area of your report. No matter what size you set for the print area of your report, the full design area size doesn't change. For more information, see Renderer behaviors (Report Builder).


To display the ruler, on the View tab, select the Ruler checkbox.

Report Data pane

From the Report Data pane, you define the report data and report resources that you need for a report before you design your report layout. For example, you can add data sources, datasets, calculated fields, report parameters, and images to the Report Data pane.

After you add items to the Report Data pane, drag fields to report items on the design surface to control where data appears in the report.


If you drag a field from the Report Data pane directly to the report design surface instead of placing it in a data region such as a table or chart, when you run the report, you will see only the first value from the data in that field.

You can also drag built-in fields from the Report Data pane to the report design surface. When rendered, these fields provide information about the report. The information includes the report name, the total number of pages in the report, and the current page number.

Some things are automatically added to the Report Data pane when you add something to the report design surface. For example, if you add a report part from the Report Part Gallery, and the report part is a data region, the dataset is automatically added to the Report Data pane. For more information, see Report parts and datasets in Report Builder. Also, if you embed an image in your report, the image is added to the Images folder in the Report Data pane.


You can use the New button to add a new item to the Report Data pane. You can add multiple datasets from the same data source or from other data sources to the report. You can add shared datasets from the report server. To add a new dataset from the same data source, right-click a data source, and then select Add Dataset.

For more about items in the Report Data pane, see the following articles:

Report Part Gallery

The easiest way to create a report is to find an existing report part on the report server or a report server integrated into a SharePoint site.

Select Report Parts on the Insert tab to open the Report Part Gallery. There you can search for report parts to add to your report. You can filter the report parts by all or part of the name of the report part. You can also filter by creator, modifier, last modified date, storage location, and type. For example, you could search for all charts created last week by one of your coworkers.


To view the Report Part Gallery, you need to be connected to a server.

Report parts are deprecated for all releases of SQL Server Reporting Services after SQL Server Reporting Services 2019, and discontinued starting in SQL Server Reporting Services 2022 and Power BI Report Server.

You can view the search results either as thumbnails or as a list, and sort the search results by name, created and modified dates, and creator. For more information, see Report parts (Report Builder).

Properties pane (Report Builder)

Every item in a report, including data regions, images, text boxes, and the report body itself, has properties associated with it. For example, the BorderColor property for a text box shows the color value of the text box's border, and the PageSize property for the report shows the page size of the report.

These properties are displayed in the Properties pane. The properties in the pane change depending on the report item that you select.

To see the Properties pane, on the View tab, in the Show/Hide group, select Properties.

Change property values

In Report Builder, you can change the properties for report items several ways:

  • By selecting buttons and lists on the ribbon.

  • By changing settings within the appropriate dialog.

  • By changing property values within the Properties pane.

The most commonly used properties are available in the dialog boxes and on the ribbon.

Depending on the property, you can set a property value from a dropdown list, type the value, or select <Expression> to create an expression.

Change the Properties pane view

By default, properties displayed in the Properties pane are organized into broad categories, such as Action, Border, Fill, Font, and General. Each category has a set of properties associated with it. For example, the following properties are listed in the Font category: Color, FontFamily, FontSize, FontStyle, FontWeight, LineHeight, and TextDecoration. If you prefer, you can alphabetize all the properties listed in the pane. This change removes the categories and lists all the properties in alphabetical order, regardless of category.

The Properties pane has three buttons at the top of pane: Category, Alphabetize, and Property Pages. Select the Category and Alphabetize buttons to switch between the Properties pane views. Select the Property Pages button to open the properties dialog for a selected report item.

Grouping pane (Report Builder)

Use groups to organize your report data into a visual hierarchy and to calculate totals. You can view the row and column groups within a data region on the design surface and also in the Grouping pane. The Grouping pane has two panes: Row Groups and Column Groups. When you select a data region, the Grouping pane displays all the groups within that data region as a hierarchical list: Child groups appear indented under their parent groups.

Screenshot of the Report Builder Row Groups.

You can create groups by dragging fields from the Report Data pane and dropping them on the design surface or in the Grouping pane. In the Grouping pane, you can add parent, adjacent, and child groups, change group properties, and delete groups.

The Grouping pane is displayed by default but you can close it by clearing the Grouping pane check box on the View tab. The Grouping pane isn't available for the Chart or Gauge data regions.

For more information, see Grouping pane (Report Builder) and Understand groups (Report Builder).

Preview your report in Run mode

In report design view, you aren't working with the actual data but a representation of the data indicated by the field name or expression. When you want to see the actual data displayed in the context of the report that you designed, you can run the report to preview the data from the underlying database displayed in the report layout. Switching between designing and running your report allows you to adjust its design and see the results immediately. To preview your report, select Run in the Views group on the ribbon.

When you select Run, Report Builder connects to the report data sources, caches the data on your computer, combines the data and the layout and then renders the report in the HTML Viewer. You can run your report as often as you like while you continue to design it. When you're satisfied with your report, you can save the report to the report server where other individuals with the appropriate permissions can view your report.

Read more about Preview a report in Report Builder.

Run a report with parameters

When you run your report, the report processes automatically. If the report contains parameters, all the parameters must have default values before the report can run automatically. If a parameter doesn't have a default value, when you run the report you need to choose a value for the parameter, and then select View Report on the Run tab. For more information, see Report parameters (Report Builder and Report Designer).

When you preview a report in run mode, it resembles a report produced in HTML. The preview isn't HTML, but the layout and pagination of the report is similar to HTML output. You can change the view to represent a printed report by switching to print preview mode. Select the Print Preview button on the Run tab. The report displays as though it were on a physical page. This view resembles the output produced by the Image and PDF rendering extensions. Print Preview isn't an image or PDF file, but the layout and pagination of the report are similar to the output of those formats.