Report Rendering - SQL Server 2008

Reporting Services has always done a fairly good job of rendering reports and maintaining formatting between different export formats. With Reporting Services in SQL Server 2008, exporting to Microsoft Excel has been significantly enhanced, and there is a new capability to export to Microsoft Word. Very significant changes have also been made to the underlying paging architecture of the report server.

Exporting Reports

Reporting Services now supports the ability to export reports to Microsoft Word format. Similar to Microsoft Excel, Microsoft Word will render reports with soft page breaks, which will ensure the report layout and format are maintained. Figures show a sales report rendered in Microsoft Excel format and Microsoft Word format, respectively.

Report rendered in Microsoft Excel

Report rendered in Microsoft Excel

Report rendered as aWord document

Report rendered as aWord document

One thing to keep in mind is that Excel will maintain column and row drill-downs, whereas Word will not. Look for + signs beside row and columns labels in Excel to determine if there is some hidden detail data within your Excel report.

Rendering Large Reports

Rendering very large reports within a reporting client introduces some very interesting memory challenges. This was a particular area of frustration in previous versions of Reporting Services, as users sat waiting for their 100-page report to generate. With Reporting Services in SQL Server 2008, this problem is eliminated because of the underlying caching mechanism within the Report Server service.

When viewing a very large report, only the first couple pages of the report are rendered and returned to the client. Behind the scenes, remaining pages are loaded only as they are requested. In Figure, notice that the page is shown as 3 of 4?. This is because we have not moved past the third page of the report, and the fifth and later pages have not been loaded; therefore, an accurate page count cannot be generated.

New paging capabilities for large reports

New paging capabilities for large reports


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SQL Server 2008 Topics