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Export Data From SSRS To Word CSV and XLS


Export From SSRS By Mike Bennyhoff

Export Data From SSRS To Word CSV and XLS Export Options


Report Builder is a tool provided by Microsoft that enables users to create, manage, and publish reports to the SQL Server Reporting Services server. It offers a user-friendly interface that supports various data sources and provides a wide range of report-building features, including the ability to upload, download and export data from SSRS to Word CSV and XLS.


  • Using the Export Button: In Report Builder, once a report is generated, users can simply use the "Export" button available on the ribbon. This action opens a dialog where users can select the desired format for the report. The available formats include PDF, Excel, Word, PowerPoint, CSV, XML, MHTML (Web Archive), TIFF, and more. After selecting the format, users can specify the location where the exported file will be saved. This process is straightforward and allows for quick export of reports for further use or distribution.

  • Configuring Export Options: Report Builder also allows users to configure certain options for exports, such as page size, orientation, and margins when exporting to formats like PDF or Word. This ensures that the exported reports meet the specific requirements for presentation or printing.

Exporting Reports through SSRS Service (Report Server)

Export SSRS Service Options

SQL Server Reporting Services (SSRS) offers a robust platform for developing, deploying, and managing reports. One of the key functionalities that enhance the versatility of SSRS is its capability to export reports into various formats, catering to different needs and scenarios. This feature ensures that reports can be easily shared, analyzed, and integrated with other applications. Here, we explore the different ways to export reports from SSRS, focusing on methods through Report Builder and the SSRS service.


Exporting Reports through Report Builder

SSRS Report Builder Export Options

Report Builder is a tool provided by Microsoft that enables users to create, manage, and publish reports to the SQL Server Reporting Services server. It offers a user-friendly interface that supports various data sources and provides a wide range of report-building features, including the ability to save and to export reports.


  • Using the Export Button: In Report Builder, once a report is generated, users can simply use the "Export" button available on the ribbon. This action opens a dialog where users can select the desired format for the report. The available formats include PDF, Excel, Word, PowerPoint, CSV, XML, MHTML (Web Archive), TIFF, and more. After selecting the format, users can specify the location where the exported file will be saved. This process is straightforward and allows for quick export of reports for further use or distribution.

  • Configuring Export Options: Report Builder also allows users to configure certain options for exports, such as page size, orientation, and margins when exporting to formats like PDF or Word. This ensures that the exported reports meet the specific requirements for presentation or printing.

Format Details - CSV

Exporting to CSV (Comma-Separated Values) is a commonly used feature in SQL Server Reporting Services (SSRS) for distributing report data in a format that can be easily imported into spreadsheet applications, databases, or utilized by other software systems. The CSV rendering extension converts the data within the report into a plain text format, using commas to separate the values. This section delves into the CSV rendering process, focusing on renderer modes, interactivity, and device information settings.


CSV Renderer Modes

SSRS does not explicitly define distinct "renderer modes" for exporting to CSV. Instead, the rendering behavior can be influenced by the structure of the report and the specific host device information settings applied during the export process. The way data regions, headers, footers, and visibility properties are defined in your report design can affect the output of the CSV file.


Default CSV Settings

Device information settings allow for customization of the whole report server rendering process. When exporting a report to CSV, you can specify device information settings in the RSReportServer.config file or programmatically to alter the behavior of the CSV rendering extension. Some of the key device information settings for CSV exports include:


  • FieldDelimiter: By default, SSRS uses a comma (,) as the field delimiter, but this can be changed to another character if needed, such as a semicolon (;) or tab.

  • FileExtension: This setting allows you to specify the file extension of the output file. For CSV exports, this is typically set to .csv.

  • NoHeader: This boolean setting determines whether the column names will be included as the first row in the CSV file. Setting it to true removes the header row from the CSV output.

  • Encoding: Specifies the character encoding for the CSV file. Common values include UTF-8 or ASCII. This is important for ensuring that special characters are correctly represented in the exported file.

  • Qualifier: Defines a text qualifier that encloses values in the CSV file. This is useful when values might contain the delimiter character. Double quotes (") are commonly used as qualifiers.


To modify these settings, the server administrators can edit the RSReportServer.config file located in the ReportServer directory. Alternatively, when programmatically rendering a report server call, these settings can be specified as part of the script render request to customize the CSV output.


Export TO XLS

Exporting reports to Excel (XLS) from SQL Server Reporting Services (SSRS) is a widely used feature, particularly beneficial for users who wish to edit, save and to perform further data analysis or manipulation in a familiar spreadsheet environment. However, there are some considerations and limitations associated with exporting SSRS reports to Excel, including Excel's inherent limitations, how SSRS report items translate into Excel, and various customization options.


Excel Limitations

When exporting reports to Excel, it's important to be aware of Excel's limitations, which may affect the output:


  • Row and Column Limits: Excel versions have maximum row and column limits (e.g., Excel 2007 and later versions support up to 1,048,576 rows and 16,384 columns per sheet). Exceeding these limits will result in errors or truncated data.

  • Cell Content Limit: Excel has a limit on the number of characters that can be displayed in a cell (32,767 characters).

  • Performance: Large datasets can significantly slow down performance in Excel.

Excel Renderer

The Excel renderer in SSRS translates report definitions into an Excel workbook. It attempts to maintain the layout and formatting of the original, report definition as closely as possible, but some report definition features might render differently due to the distinct nature of spreadsheets compared to paginated reports.


Report Items in Excel

SSRS report items are mapped to Excel constructs as follows:


  • Tables and Matrices: Rendered as Excel tables with rows and columns.

  • Charts and Gauges: Exported as images within the Excel file.

  • Text Boxes: Become individual cells or merged cells if spanning multiple columns or rows.

Page Sizing

Excel does not have "pages" in the same way as SSRS reports, so page size settings from SSRS do not directly apply. However, when printing from Excel, page size and margins can be adjusted within Excel's Page Layout configuration options.


Worksheet Tab Names

By default, SSRS names worksheets based on the complete report's name or the tablix member names in the report code. Custom naming can be implemented using the PageName property for each report item that creates a page break.


Document Properties

Certain document properties like author, title, and comments can be set within the report properties folder in SSRS and are carried over to that folder within the Excel file upon export.


Page Headers and Footers

SSRS page headers and footers are translated to Excel's headers and footers code, though with some limitations due to differences in functionality between SSRS and Excel.


Change Reports at Run-Time

Modifications to reports at run-time, such as changing visibility or dynamically adding content, are reflected in the report manager Excel export based on the report manager's final rendered state.


Troubleshoot Export to Excel

Common issues when exporting to Excel include:

  • Layout Problems: Caused by differences in how SSRS and Excel handle page layouts. Ensuring that items in SSRS do not overlap can mitigate layout issues.

  • Performance Issues with Large Datasets: Consider optimizing the report query or breaking the report into smaller chunks.

  • Data Truncation: Due to Excel's row, column, or cell content limits. This may require splitting the report data across multiple sheets or files.

In summary, while exporting to Excel from SSRS is a powerful feature for data analysis, understanding the limitations and differences between data source SSRS and Excel is crucial for generating useful and accurate Excel documents. Proper report design and consideration of Excel's constraints can help in effectively utilizing this export functionality.


Export To Word

Exporting SQL Server Reporting Services (SSRS) reports to Microsoft Word is a valuable feature for many organizations, enabling them to distribute reports in a widely accessible and editable format. This process involves several aspects that affect how the report translates from SSRS to Word, including how specific report items render, pagination, document properties, and more. Let's delve into these aspects to understand the dynamics of exporting SSRS reports to Word.


Report Items in Word

When SSRS reports are exported to Word, most report items, such as tables, charts, and images, are rendered to maintain visual fidelity with the original report. However, complex layouts in SSRS might not always translate perfectly due to differences in how Word handles document flow and positioning. For instance, tables in SSRS are exported as Word tables, but the exact rendering can vary based on the table's properties and content (Microsoft Docs).


Pagination

Word documents flow differently than paginated reports in SSRS. SSRS handles page breaks explicitly, but when exporting to Word, the content flows continuously unless specific page breaks are defined in the report. This can lead to differences in where pages end compared to the original SSRS report layout.


Document Properties

The export process retains certain document properties, such as the title and author information, making references to the Word document easier to manage and identify within document management systems.


Page Headers and Footers

Headers and footers in SSRS reports are exported to Word, but there may be limitations. For example, dynamic expressions based on page numbers might not function as expected since Word handles headers and footers differently, especially if the parameters of the expressions depend on details about the total number of pages or specific report items (StackOverflow).


Document Map

The Document Map feature in SSRS, which provides a navigable outline or table of contents, is partially supported in Word. While Word has similar functionality, the translation from SSRS's structure to Word's might not always be direct or maintain the same user experience.


Word Style Rendering

SSRS attempts to preserve the styling of the report, including font choices, colors, and layout, as closely as possible when exporting to Word. Nonetheless, due to differences exist in rendering engines and capabilities, some style aspects might appear differently.


Squiggly Lines in Exported Reports

Users might observe "squiggly lines" under text in exported Word documents, indicating spelling or grammar errors flagged by Word. These are not part of the SSRS report but are the error, generated by Word's proofing tools.


Word Limitations

When exporting to Word, it's important to consider Word's limitations, such as maximum document size, which might affect large SSRS reports. Additionally, complex SSRS layouts might be simplified in Word due to its linear flow model.


Benefits of Using the Word Renderer

The main benefit of exporting SSRS reports to Word is the accessibility and familiarity of the Word platform for end-users. Reports become easily editable, allowing users to customize or annotate the reports as needed for their own research purposes.


Backward Compatibility of Exported Reports

SSRS supports exporting reports to both newer (.docx) and older (.doc) Word formats, ensuring compatibility across different versions of Microsoft Word. However, using the newer format is recommended for better performance and support for newer features.


The Word 2003 Renderer

Although SSRS supports exporting to the older Word 2003 format, this option might come with additional limitations due to the older format's constraints. Users are encouraged to export to the newer .docx format when possible to take advantage of the latter version' enhanced capabilities and fewer restrictions.



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