Report items serve as visual building elements of SSRS report. There are various kind of report items available in SSRS. We can see the list of the items in the Toolbox:
Figure 1: Available report items in SSRS
If Toolbox tab is not visible by default, we can display it by clicking View menu -> Toolbox. The alternative to this is CTRL+ALT+X.
Figure 2: Making Toolbox visible
All the report items are used in report by drag-and-dropping them from Toolbox to design surface of the report. Another way to use a report item is to right-click on design surface and select particular item as displayed in picture below:
Figure 3: Adding a report item do a report design
A brief explanation of each report item is provided below.
- Text Box
Text Box item is used to display textual information to the user. The origin of the information can vary from simple static text to expressions that are related to data stored in database, as well as some built-in functions on the report level.
Line item is used to add more sophisticated design to the overall report style.We can use it to visually divide the regions within the report, as well as a decoration part in header or footer.
Table item is used to display the data in two-dimensional table format. This item contains rows groups. The fields of the table can display data stored from a database, but a report developer has also the possibility to calculate the expressions within the cells.
Matrix item is similar to table, but unlike the table, matrix represents data in a way that they contain rows and columns groups, and report developer defines what will be rows and columns of the matrix.
Rectangle item is used when we want to incorporate two or more report fields to be treated as one unity. This is particularly useful if we have fields that are logically connected, and we might have the need to manipulate with them all at once: we put them in a rectangular, and we will be able to move/copy them all at once.
List item is structurally very similar to table item, but unlike the table item, it allows the report developer to have more freedom when it comes to organizing the layout of the fields. When using lists for data display, we can decide on how to display the data fields and related labels: we can put for example labels on left side and data fields on the right.
Image item allows us to incorporate an image into our report. In business reporting, it is mostly used when we want to incorporate a company logo.
Subreport item allows us to display one report in another. This functionality is very useful if we want to display graphs/tables developed in one report as a part of another, more complex report. This way we don’t have do duplicate reports we want to use multiple times, we just call it from many other reports. Please refer to article “Subreports in SSRS” if you want to gain more knowledge of how and when to use subreports in SSRS.
Chart item provides graphical representation of data. SSRS provides following type of charts to be created within a report: Column, Line, Shape, Bar, Area, Range, Scatter and Polar.
Gauge item is mostly used for graphical presentation of Key Performance Indicators.
Map item is used for graphical presentation of spatial data.
- Data bar
Data bar item is commonly used within Table and Matrix report items in order to graphically present the value of data cell. SSRS offers two types of data bars: a bar and a column.
Sparkline item is very similar to Data bar item in terms of its usage. It is also commonly used within the Table and Matrix report items in order to graphically present the trends related to particular table/matrix cell. SSRS provides following type of sparklines to be created within a report: Column, Line, Area, Shape, Range.
Indicator item is commonly used within Table and Matrix report items in order to graphically present the trend of particular value: a field value related to one time period is compared to same value from some other time period. An indicator will tell the user if the value has a growing or falling trend.
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