At the National Grid (Features for RS.Next)

Now that SQL 2005 is done, we have been working on plans for the next release of Reporting Services. While we have lots of ideas for new features, we are always interested to hear about what customers want. If you would like to see something in the next version, then post a comment with the suggestion on this blog entry. I can't promise that we will be able to get it in, but I'll make sure they all get looked at.

Comments (54)

  1. Christian says:

    -C# in functions

    -authentification against a database

    -RTF-fields and HTML-fields

    -Word export

  2. James says:

    Love the product – it rocks. I’d like to be able to easily write a custom assembly that retrieves data from a data base, applies business logic and returns a dataset or reader to the report writer for presentation. I think you can do some stuff like this, but it has been unintuitve for me. I’ll have to do some more reading/working with it.

  3. Nicola Jones says:

    I haven’t had a chance to see if this has been done with Reporting Services released as part of SQL 2005, but I would like the ability to disable the Total fields automatically added to Excel reports if you are using Matrix’s in your report. At a very minimum, I need to be able to label these fields. We haven’t upgraded to SP2 (or even SP1) because these are added and cause the Excel reports generated to become misleading.

  4. mdignan says:

    The feature I’d most like to see is a Zoom in the Report Designer. Cheers.

  5. Morris Valentine says:

    Overall, RS is a terrific product! One thing that would make it even better is ditching the Notepad-like editor for writing code-behind (Report > Report Properties > Code) and instead using the Visual Studio code editor itself.

  6. Scott says:
    1. HTML/RTF display

      2. Easier ways to integrate into applications using non-Windows security
  7. Kamel says:

    Deep integration with Ananlysis Services

  8. Phill Carter says:

    I’m sure most of these, if not all, are already on the list.

    On the Excel export,

    – show grid lines

    – non-merging cells

    – Page header in report design moved to page header area, as per page footer

    – option to allow export of formulas or just the values

    – ability to name different worksheets

  9. GUILLOT Sébastien says:
  10. David Seymour says:

    Better deployment options – some manner of controlled, versioned drops of reports to packages for deployment to other environments would be great.

    We currently do this by MSI packaging the rdl files and using rs.exe to script import them to RS.

  11. Darren Fuller says:
    • RTF Fields

      – C# in functions

      – A better way of backing and restoring RS servers (e.g. security settings on different folders)

      – The ability to change datasources on multiple reports at the same time
  12. Jacque says:

    Total # of pages per group (Page x of y)

    Circular boarders

    Strikethrough text

    Ability to design and modify report in Layout mode

    Wishful thinking…the ability to import/translate report design from other report writing software.

  13. Real support for Firefox 1.5

  14. Markus Fischer says:

    A subscription should be able regardless if the report contains UserID as information.

    Or is this issue fixed in 2005?

  15. Jorriss says:

    Teo Lachev had some good suggestions on his blog at

    1. Exposing the intrinsic RDL object model to manipulate data regions and items programmatically. It will be great if this works similar to the ASP.NET user controls where controls can be added, changed, or removed at runtime. For example, custom code should be able to reference a table region to add, remove, and bind columns at runtime.

    2. Server-side events, e.g. OnReportRender, OnBodyRender, OnPrint, OnRegionRender, etc.

    3. A supported way to maintain state in custom code.

    4. Exposing the report datasets to custom code to allow programmatic navigation and data retrieval, e.g. looping through the dataset rows.

    5. Decoupling the Report Builder Designer and exposing it as a reusable .NET control which can be embedded in applications. Ideally, a developer should be able to pass the semantic model (or metadata described in a different format) the designer. The output of the WYSWIG manipulation should be returned in the form of RDL.

    6. Enhancing the Report Builder Designer to support custom code and plugging in custom function libraries.

    7. Simplifying CAS security to the three levels supported by SQL Server and SSAS – Safe, External Access, and Unsafe.

    8. Binding server-side reports to ADO.NET datasets.

    9. A conditional page break.

    10. The XML extension should support XML schemas and cast the column types to data types according to the schema.

  16. Ed Richard says:

    Easier/more control over printing. The ability to select a default printer from the report definition and setting properties like duplex printing etc.

    Our users can’t be trusted settings these each time they run a Report.

  17. neil blake says:

    most of these have already been mentioned, but i will re-iterate.

    -a real code editor environment (perhaps use VS shell?) with full intellisense support

    -C# in functions (custom report code)

    -more control over formatting of text boxes i.e. the ability to have a bold word in the middle of a text box while the rest is normal text. also, more control over the formatting of matrices, like the ability to add a backgroud color (or text highlighting) to only the text box in the lower right hand side (say, if you have a summary row & column)

    -ability to design and modify report in Layout mode

    -ability to switch to layout mode without having to hit the DB everytime (huge productivity gain for developers could be had here if we could cache data for large reports)

    -binding reports to ADO.NET datasets (binding to XML – sweet! even if i have to create a dataset first and pass that to the report)

    -ability to name different worksheets (for export to Excel)

    some crazy thoughts….

    -ability to bind to objects (how about binding a sales invoice to an order object or collection)

    -a migration tool to import (or convert) my legacy crystal reports to RS. I figure since Crystal is included with VS that there is probably some legal reason that you haven’t done this already though.

  18. neil says:

    i just remembered two more…

    -how about the ability to select multiple fields from the fields window and drop them onto a table such that each field goes into a new column (if there is a way of doing this where i don’t have to first create a table with enough columns and then add each field individually, i haven’t found it yet)

    -the ability to simply size columns relative to the size of the data (basically, a "grow horizontally" while locking the vertical growth). when exporting to excel, i often don’t care what width my report is.

  19. Martin Soles says:

    Let’s start with the Visual Studio project type. How about letting us specify sub-folders for reports and other items? We want to keep our reports under source control and end up having a separate project for each folder. This is very wasteful.

    As for the reports. Drill through or linked reports. It would be nice to have a bit of control over the links so that we can have the report server tucked safely behind a firewall and still be able to expose reports with these links in them (that work).

    • Standard Header/Footer support, being able to put company name, page x of y in a standard control that can be re-used across reports

      * export to word/rtf

  20. Marco Russo says:
    • Styles – something functionally equivalent to CSS but scoped with RDL object properties

      * UDM – Real UDM integration, without the need to copy the report builder model from the UDM; at least a sort of auto-synch feature!

  21. Andrew says:

    Here’s a couple I can think of…

    * A stateful report wizard, one that remembers the fields you selected and allows you to go back and add additional fields, change groupings, etc. (See pivot tables in Excel)

    * Group/sort/drilldown buttons for ease of development.

    * Optimization of sizing & formatting for Export to Excel, PDF

    * Export to PPT, DOC, RSS (?)

    * RSS Subscriptions to reports

    * HTML code support

    * Enhanced Stylesheet & templating support

    * Advanced properties viewer (Similar to Dundas Charts viewer) which displays any and all properties of a report in an easier-to-read format other than XML.

    * MDX Builder/Query Tool

    * Better integration with cubes

    * Further Documentation on data sources (Exchange, WebDAV, File System)

    * Enhanced grow/shrink functionality

    * Excel Preview tab

    * Formulas, Formatting, Data Type formats in Excel

    * Caching tool to take sampling of data and store it offline so database is not hit during previews/refreshes.

    * Get rid of that encryption key backup-restore somehow.

    * Offer full-blown Dundas Charts in Enterprise version.

    * Tree view in web portal

    * Keep going with Report Builder. Looking good so far!

    * Print preview design mode.

    * Excel preview design mode.

    * Folder structures for deployments.

    * Better versioning for deployments.

    * Scripting support.

    * Naming of excel worksheets.

    Sorry for the long list & "better" touchy-feely stuff. Some of this may already be in 2005 and I just haven’t seen it yet.

  22. Philippe says:

    An easy one. make the Report description a large or expandable (elispsis) text field. We use this to store the description of the report that will show-up to the users in the ReportManager folder. i.e. "This report will show the end customer consumption based on either the direct or the indirect channel, people with no specific customer access will only be limited by their geographic or product responsibility/" Such text is hard to write or maintain in the small report description text box.

  23. Phlippe says:

    Matrix Reports.

    Offer possibility to repeat all rows items so the matrix report can be used to create a pivot table. Right now, Matrix reports do not offer a way to repeat rows values making the creation of a pivot a hassle. Not to speak about the issue with the header title rows that cannot be put on the top.

    On a more general note, I want to let you know that our people do not need reports. We have too much data for this. Sure, we could use cubes, however reports are a kind of Adhoc reporting which is more convenient for general users.

    We use reports and cubes as query tools… Good or bad? 21500 active products, 37000 active customers and 4 differents time dimensions for delivery by days… and history by weeks for 3 years. A lot of data not suitable in a printed form.

    Cubes are too complex or too slow, reports are better but quickly run in the Excel 65500 rows limit. Nobody will never read all rows. Regardless of the delivery (cube, report) they will find their way by dynamically analysing the data. They will never read or print it.

    Well I could use Report Models, but then, I run into the access control issue. I cannot set very granular access control based on groups membership when using a report model. I have to provide data to the user based on a cumulative (or absence thereoff) of group membership.

    I provide this feedback with the hope that day to day real life needs like ours may be addressed one day. Lot of data, users not OK with cubes (too much support for regional, home office and casual business users), reports not powefull enough, Adhoc reporting not enough securable.

    Give people something good, they will only ask for more 🙂 If they do not, it is not good.

  24. David says:
    • HTML/RTF display

      – ability to specify encoding for HTML/MHTML

      – more features with data-driven subscriptions (detecting blank reports and not sending them, encoding comment in different format…)
  25. chicagoclone says:

    two major things…

    t1. tighter integration with excel, including getting rid of merged cells

    1. Report builder using Oracle as datasource. I got everyone really excited about the report builder and then when it was released with the ability to only support sql server databases, people were less than amused.
  26. I would like to have a relational data based RDL dataset of project numbers presented to an end user where by the end user can select a variable to “print all” projects in the list/dataset. The dataset would be looped thru until end. For each project number in the list, call another MDX cube based RDL report which is nicely formatted and more detailed, print the result, get next project number and continue the automated printing process. If I am a project manager responsible for 20 projects, today using out of the box Reporting Services, one would have to print manually 20 times. Very annoying even to my cat. Is this technically possible using the web service of Reporting Services? What else would be required? Thanks, Rich

  27. Parker Smith says:

    Enable the text block to pull data from an uploaded text file in the same way an image control can display an uploaded image file, so common text can be displayed and updated across reports the way common images can.

  28. Kyaw. says:

    A conditional page break

  29. Kyaw. says:

    Conditional Page Break

  30. Philip Coupar says:

    Some of these have already been said but:

    HTML/RTF Field

    Better support for templates, prefereably the ability to apply a template to any report so template updates are automatically reflected in old reports.

    Styles based formatting

    More control over chart colours

    Tree view multi-selct for UDM hierarchies as a parameter

    Templates for report builder

    The ability to use more than one matrix, table or chart on a report builder report.

    The ability to add graphics such as company logo to report builder

    Conditional formatting in report builder.

    This list grew quicker than I thought it would.  hopefully much of this can be achieved in the upcomming service packs, I would hate to think we will have to wait for the next full release before these features are avaiable.

  31. Graeme says:

    Fix the bug that means I have to enter the size of A4 page in inches before it is recognised.

  32. jc143 says:

    -Nice and simple but add Globals!ReportDescription

  33. Joshua Bell says:

    Brian, you mentioned using parameters for ‘Expand All’ in one of your forum posts (

    This works, but it could be done much better. When I export a grouped, drill-down report to Excel, there are numbered boxes (1 per group level) that expand/collapse all.

    I never even knew that Excel could do that, and I think that Reporting Services would benefit from that feature as well.

  34. Anders Westin says:

    The "Autorefresh" is great and I would like to see a "showNextPage" time-delay untill end of report is reach then the pagerefresh can show an updated "report". (Or is it allredy a way to do that).

  35. Raghavendra Koti says:

    One big let down of Reporting server, for me, has been the incompatibility it has with Excel export.

    1. Column merging should be avoided.

    2. Export of certain large reports takes a lot of time, whereas trying to use excel object model and generating it directly takes almost no time. I would love to see a more efficient excel export.

    3. The file size of the excel is huge. I have managed to generate the same excel files with far less size directly.

    4. Freezing header does not get exported to Excel. (RS 2005)

    Overall, cleaning up the export to excel functionality in the RS would make it much more robust and acceptable.

  36. Jeff Z says:
    • The RSClientPrint Active X control should more closely resemble how the Winforms printing works… currently the control doesn’t automatically detect Legal sized paper as it does when printing from a WinForms report viewer.  The user shouldn’t have to modify these settings, they already exist in the report definition.  OR, otherwise expand the report definition to specify things like orientation, and paper output explicitly.

      * RTF

      * More built in support for formatting dates, numbers, and currency.  I shouldn’t have to write formatting code, Crystal gives you the ability to select from pre-defined formats that let you control everything from the number of decimal places that are displayed to how negatives are shown, to how a date looks.

  37. Joel T says:

    Full MDX / Analysis Services support, specifically, the ability to put @parameters in a caculated member and other advanced MDX. Hierarchical( sp??) display of parameter when it is a Hierarchy.

    The ability to do custom aggregations (vs just a total) on a table or matrix (show totals)

    Better MDX editor!

  38. KL says:

    I am shocked that there is not an HTML or RTF Field while old Crystal 8.5 from 5 years ago could do it.

  39. bwelcker says:

    I understand that rich text is an important feature for everyone. We have a good design for this functionality but need the time to fully support it across all of our rendering formats.

  40. Markb says:

    Would love to see the Matrix developed more, have more control over the rows, to be able to hide a row, to measure when a group is hidden or collapsed.


    Dynamic columns on a Table!!!!!!

  41. AlvinA says:

    I would like to see events before and after printing / exporting a report from the ReportViewer control. Right now there is just a single ‘Print’ event.

    I am trying to get headers & footers to appear only when printing the report. I don’t want to see them in the ReportViewer. I thought I could use BeforePrint and PrintComplete events to show/hide them.

  42. mlee says:

    Firstly, I’d like to say how impressed I am with the current version of Reporting Services, there has been signifigant improvment over the last version.

    My Wish List:

    A Rich-Text Control

    Conditional Page Breaks

    Improved border control (Currently the data region for the matrix control inherits it’s borders from the columns and rows)

    More intuative sizing in design view (resize, rerender, resize, rerender, resize rerender…yawn!)

    Cached datasets

    The ability to insert tab spacing in the Query Designer.

    The ability to use the Shift+Insert and Ctrl+Insert in the expression editor! (Major annoyance!)

    Render-time control over the size and position of controls, particularly images and text boxes.

    I think I’ll leave it there for now.

  43. Daniel says:

    A function for determining if the report is being rendered for the screen or exported to PDF or excel. With this function one could do conditional actions/formatting based on render mode (i.e. suppress hyperlinks if exporting, hide/unhide data, etc.)

  44. bwelcker says:

    RE: Function to return renderer. This was not possible in SQL 2005 as expressions were evaluated before rendering. We will be makeing this possible in the next release.

    RE: More control over matrix / dynamic columns in table. Stay tuned. I think you will like the next release.

  45. Angela says:

    conditional page break to allow you to create a page break on a group when the group finished on an odd page. This would allow us to duplex print invoices for many customers without having the last page of one customer on the back of the first page for the next customer.


  46. bwelcker says:

    Angela, conditional page breaks are on the list for a future release.

  47. Joe Kidd says:

    Add formatting functionality to the Matrix control. Particularily, provide the same visibility options provided with a table when it comes to rows and columns such as visibility being based an expression.


  48. Twinky says:

    A RDL object model!!!

    This way you can manipulate/change a rdl report at run time.

    Or even create a complete report from code.

    This is a must have if you want to create truly dynamic/ad hoc reports in applications.

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