Report server content management (SSRS native mode)

In Reporting Services, content management refers to the management of report server items. All items can be managed independently of each other through properties and security settings. Any item can be moved to a different location in the report server folder namespace. To manage items effectively, you need to know which tasks a content manager performs. In SQL Server 2016 Reporting Services or later (SSRS) CTP 3.2, the Reporting Services web portal is available. This article looks at the web portal and the new web portal experience.


Content management is different from report server administration. For more information about how to manage the environment in which a report server runs, see Reporting Services report server (native mode).

Content management includes the following tasks:

  • Secure report server site and items by applying the role-based security provided with Reporting Services.

  • Create a report server folder hierarchy by adding, modifying, and deleting folders.

  • Set default values and properties that apply to items managed by the report server. For example, you can set baseline maximum values that determine report history storage policies.

  • Create shared data source items that can be used in place of report-specific data source connections. A publisher or content manager can select a data source that is different from the one originally defined for a report. For example, you can select a data source to replace a reference to a test database with a reference to a production database.

  • Create shared schedules that can be used in place of report-specific and subscription-specific schedules, making it easier to maintain schedule information over time.

  • Create data-driven subscriptions that generate recipient lists by retrieving data from a data store.

  • Scheduling report processing and specifying which reports can be run on demand and which ones are loaded from the cache balances the demands placed on the server.

  • Provide permission to perform management tasks by using predefined roles: System Administrator and Content Manager. Effective management of report server content requires that you're assigned to both roles.

Tools for managing report server content include Management Studio, and the web portal. Management Studio allows you to set defaults and enable features. The web portal is used to grant user access to report server items and operations. The portal is also used to view and use reports and other content types and view and use all shared items and report distribution features. The web portal is an updated site that allows for much of the functionality of the deprecated Report Manager. For more information, see Reporting Services tools.

Report server items

Report server items include reports, shared data sources, shared datasets, resources (items that are stored on but not processed by a report server), and folders. Items can depend on other items, for example, a report can depend on the shared data sources it references. If you move a dependent item, the report server updates the reference information automatically.

You can move report server items to different folder locations in the report server folder hierarchy. When you move an item, all properties, including security settings, move with the item to the new location. When you move a folder, all the items in the folder move with it.


For CTP 3.2, if you want to move the location of an item, you need to perform that action in the web portal.

In the web portal, the items that you can move are indicated in the folder hierarchy. The following image shows the icon for each movable item.

Screenshot of the various report server content icons.

Not all items that you work with can be moved. You can't move items that are associated with a report, such as subscriptions or report history. Those items move with their associated reports. Similarly, you can't move items such as shared schedules that exist outside of the folder hierarchy. You can't move items if you lack permission to do so. Permission to move an item is conveyed when the following tasks are selected in your role assignment for the item in question: "Manage reports," "Manage folders," and "Manage data sources."


A folder hierarchy is used for addressing items stored and managed by a report server. By default, the folder structure consists of a root node named Home, and reserved folders that support the optional My Reports feature. Other folders are user-defined. Report server folders are useful if you want to grant the same level of access to multiple items. Items in the folder and other folders that branch from the primary folder inherit permissions that you set on the folder. For example, you can create a set of folders under the Home folder, assign team permissions to each folder, and then let team members customize folders under the team folder as needed.

If you're using a browser to connect directly to a report server, the root node of the folder structure is the name of the report server virtual directory. From the root node, you can create, modify, and delete folders as necessary to organize report server content. You can add content to a folder, move items between folders, modify folder names or locations, and delete folders that are no longer required.

Folders are virtual containers for published items that you access through the web portal or a browser connection to the report server. The folders and their contents don't actually exist in a file system. Instead, they're stored in the report server database and accessed through the Report Server Web service endpoint. The report server folder namespace is a hierarchy that includes a root node, predefined folders, and user-defined folders. The namespace uniquely identifies items that are stored on a report server. It provides an addressing scheme for specifying items in a URL. When you select or locate a report, the folder path becomes part of the URL for that report.

How you work with folders depends on tasks that are part of your role assignment. If you're using default security, Content Managers and Publishers can create and manage folders. If you use custom role assignments, the role assignment must include tasks that support folder management. For more information about role assignments and tasks, see Grant permissions on a native mode report server and Tasks and permissions.

Report server folders can contain the following items:

  • Reports

  • Shared data sources

  • Shared datasets

  • Report Parts


    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.

  • KPIs

  • Mobile Reports

  • Resources (items that are stored on but not processed by a report server)

  • Other folders

Reserved folders

Reporting Services reserve predefined folders. They can't be moved, renamed, or deleted. User-defined folders include any folders created by a user or report server administrator with permission to add items to a folder.

The following table describes predefined folders that anchor the folder hierarchy and provide a framework for several features.

Folder Purpose
Home The root node of the folder hierarchy.
Users This folder appears when you enable the My Reports feature. It contains subfolders for all users who use the My Reports feature, and it's accessible only to report server administrators. Each subfolder name matches the user's name.
My Reports Provides a personal workspace for each user.

Creating folders

You can create a folder in any available folder in the hierarchy.

If you're creating folders for restricting access to specific reports and models, you should specify role assignments. The assignments should allow users to browse, but not view the contents of, parent folders that are in the folder path.

Modifying folder properties

After a folder is created, you can modify properties to rename the folder, add or modify the description, or move the folder to another location. These properties are available on the General properties page for the folder. For more information about setting properties that grant access to a folder, see Secure folders.

Deleting folders and folder contents

When you delete a folder, you delete all the items that it contains. Before you delete a folder, you should inspect its contents. You need to determine whether it contains items that might be referenced or used by other items in another part of the folder hierarchy. Referenced items include report definitions that support linked reports, shared data sources, and resources.

If you delete a report that has one or more linked reports that reference it, the linked reports become invalid after you delete the report. You can't determine in advance the linked reports that are affected, because a report doesn't retain information about linked reports that are based on it. You can, however, review the properties of a linked report to find out which report the linked report is based on. In contrast, shared data source items list all reports that currently use the item so that you can easily determine whether the connection information is in use. For more information, see Create, modify, and delete shared data sources (SSRS). Finally, resources that are used by reports don't identify those reports.

Before you delete a folder, consider whether you need to retain the report history of any report you're about to delete. Or, consider if you should retain a report-specific construct that is part of a report. If you might need any of this information, move the item out of the folder before you delete the folder.

The visibility of an item in a folder depends on both role assignments (that is, permission to view an item) and viewing options in effect for a folder. In the web portal, you can set the Contents page to list view or details view. In some cases, a report or item might be hidden in list view. Be sure to view a folder in details view before deleting its contents.


A resource is a managed item that is stored, but not processed, on a report server. Typically, a resource provides external content to report users. Examples include an image in a .jpg file, an ESRI shapefile that contains spatial data, or an HTML file that describes the business rules used in a report. The JPG, SHP, or HTML file is stored on the report server, but the report server passes the file directly to the browser rather than processing it first. For more information, see Images (Report Builder and SSRS) and the Adding Data to a Map section in Maps (Report Builder and SSRS).

Add and view a resource

To add a resource to a report server, you upload or publish a file:

Operation File type
Upload To upload a resource, you must use the web portal if the report server runs in native mode or an application page on a SharePoint site if the server runs in SharePoint integrated mode. For more information, see Upload a file or report in the report server or Upload documents to a SharePoint library (Reporting Services in SharePoint mode).
Publish All files in a project that aren't reports, report parts, data sources, or datasets, are uploaded as resources. To publish a resource, add an existing item to a project in Report Designer and then publish the project to a report server.

All resources originate as files on a file system, which are later uploaded to a report server. Except for the 4-megabyte default file size limitations imposed by ASP.NET, there are no restrictions on the kinds of files you can upload. However, when published to a report server as a resource, file types that have equivalent MIME types are more optimal than others. For example, resources that are based on HTML and JPG files open in a browser window when the user selects the resource. The browser renders the HTML as a Web page and the JPG as an image that the user can see. In contrast, resources that don't have equivalent MIME types, such as desktop application files, for example, might not be rendered in the browser window.

Whether report users can view a resource depends on the viewing capabilities of the browser. Because the report server doesn't process resources, the browser must provide the viewing capability to render a specific MIME type. If the browser can't render the content, users who view the resource see only the general properties of the resource.

Secure and manage a resource

Resources exist alongside reports, shared data sources, shared schedules, and folders as named items in the report server folder hierarchy. You can search for, view, secure, and set properties on resources just as you would any item stored on a report server. To view or manage a resource, you must have the View resources or Manage resources tasks in your role assignment.

Reference an image resource from a report

Resources can contain an image that you reference in a report. If report requirements include the use of external images, consider the following advantages to storing the image as a resource:

  • Centralized storage in the report server database. If you move the report server database and its contents to another computer, the external image stays with the report. You don't have to keep track of image files that are stored on disk on different computers.

  • Secured through role assignments rather than file system security. The same permissions used to view a report can be applied to the resource. In contrast, if you store the image on disk, you must ensure that either the Anonymous user account or the unattended execution account has permission to access the file.

To use an image resource in a report, add the image file to the project and publish it along with the report. Once the image is published, you can update the image reference in the report so that it points to the resource on the report server. Then, you can republish just the report to save your changes. You can now update the image independently of the report by republishing the resource. The report uses the most current version of the image available on the report server.

For more information, see Update a resource (web portal).

My Reports

The My Reports folder is a personal workspace for each user who logs in to a report server with a valid domain account. This special-purpose folder provides storage for work-in-progress reports, reports that aren't intended for wide distribution, or reports that are modified to fit a need. You can't restrict the number or size of items that are stored in a My Reports folder, or configure a My Reports folder to be shared among users.

Technically, My Reports maps the name of a virtual folder that each user sees (My Reports) to a primary Users Folders folder and unique subfolder based on user name. When a user accesses their My Reports folder, the user is redirected to their subfolder under Users Folders. Each subfolder provides storage for the reports and items a user adds to their My Reports folder. In the web portal, you see My Reports at the root level. You need to drill into the Users Folders folder.

The Users Folders folder is created when the report server is installed. Subsequent user-based subfolders are created when a user opens My Reports for the first time, for example, by clicking My Reports in the web portal. Each folder name is in the following format:

/Users Folders/<username>/My Reports  

Only users with valid system accounts are allocated folders. If a user name contains special characters, the name is created with escape character equivalents. Escape character equivalents are listed in the following table.

Character Escape value Example
(space) [ ] Firstname Lastname becomes Firstname[ ]Lastname
\ (backslash) Replaced with a single space character DomainName\Username becomes DomainName Username
@ (at symbol) [at] becomes username[at]
& (ampersand) [amp] username@company& becomes username[at]company[amp]
$ (dollar sign) [dollar] User $Name becomes User[ ][dollar]Name

The My Reports feature is optional. When you install a report server, My Reports is disabled by default. For more information about enabling this feature, see Enable and disable My Reports. For more information, see Secure My Reports.

Report server content management tasks

Upload files to a folder
Create, delete, or modify a folder (web portal)
Update a resource (web portal)
Upload files to a folder

Reporting Services tools
Roles and permissions (Reporting Services)
Reporting Services reports (SSRS)