Multi-column interactive sort in SQL Reporting Services 2005

I’ve seen Brian Welcker (a group PM for SSRS – do a few demos in which he showed the new interactive sort capability of SQL Server Reporting Services 2005: It allows the user to sort columns in a report without having to round-trip back to the data source, which is a very good thing.

Anyway, you can also sort on multiple columns at the same time with ease…however, the version of 2005 Books Online I have loaded didn’t document how…To get it to work, do this:

1. In design mode, use the BOL help topic “Sorting Data in Report Desinger” (check out the “Interactive Sorting” section) to specify which columns will allow interactive sorting

2. Preview the report. and click an up/down sort indicator to sort by your first column

3. Hold SHIFT and click on other up/down indicators to sort on the 2nd, 3rd, etc. columns (without releasing the original selections you made)

Thanks to Jason Carlson for helping me with this.

Comments (13)

  1. Robert says:


    Now if Interactive sort only worked properly when print previewing or printing… 🙂

  2. Cec says:

    Thanks for the tip, exactly what I was looking for!

  3. Michael Petrescut says:

    Great Tip.  Exactly what I was looking for!

  4. Wasim Kazi says:

    Is there a way to find the column on which sorting has been done. This is so that we can highlight the column to indicate that the table has been sorted on that particular column.

  5. The actual "button" you click on to do ths sort indicates it has been "touched" once you interact with it…it could be a little bit more apparent, however…

  6. Ed Egan says:

    I have a report by which is grouped by a date field (transaction date).  The end user can select a date range prior to running the report.  So when the report is run data is grouped by date with each group having columns that can be sorted.  The issue is that when the user selects column to sort, it is only sorting the data for that group.  To sort the other groups…the user has to sort that groups columns as well.  This can be cumbersome.  Is there a way the report can be designed so that when the user selects sorting options for one group, it impacts all other groups as well?  Any help would be greatly appreciated.  

  7. sivapragasam says:

    I have this interactive sort in my report. The sort feature works well when one user runs the report in report manager. But when multiple users view the report and click on the interactive report, the report hangs.

    The sysprocesses table shows the following:


    Dbid = ReportServer

    program_name= Report Server


    Windows 2003 SP1, SQL 2005 RTM

    Pls understand this is a production issue. Serious replies appreciated.



  8. Siva, the first thing you should do is install SP2 of SQL – I suspect that will solve the problem for you.

  9. arnold says:

    Can multi column sorting be achieved by passing parameters ??

  10. Dean says:

    Does anyone have an idea re: Ed’s question for sorting multiple groups? It’s crazy to me that each different grouping header needs to be sorted separately…

  11. suresh babu says:


    i have a problem, i have given sorting feature for three columns A,B & C. by default when report is generated column A is sorted. when i click on column C, the report gets sorted and i click B , then B gets sorted.

    my problem is how do i go back the default sorting?

  12. Stephanie says:

    I have two tables in one report, both with interactive sorting on all of the columns.  When I run the report and initially sort on either table everything work fine.  As soon as I try sorting on the other table, all sorting functionality stops working.  It doesn’t matter which table I start with.  Has anybody else had a problem with interactive sorting on reports with more than one table?


  13. Hi how to add interactive sort for dynamically created columns values?