SSRS Report – No Page Breaks For You!

One thing I usually run into when creating SQL Server Reporting Services (SSRS) Reports is this: You have a smallish size dataset back, maybe somewhere between 50 and 150 rows, but if it hits that row limit on the page break, you get 3 records on the next page. Annoying. What I usually do for reports like this is just make them all one big page. How? Pretty simple actually. Set the “Interactive Height” to 0 on the report.

Open up Report Builder (or BIDS) and get to your “Report” Properties, and then under “Interactive Size” set the height property to zero. Thats it.

Once you make this minor change, you report will just list your row with no page breaks. Pretty useful for that report with 3 more rows than a page!

SSRS Report Creation Checklist

You can whip out reports in SSRS (SQL Server Reporting Services) very quickly with the report builders (2.0 and 3.0 are money).

But what should you remember to do each time, or information to get?

  1. Where does the data come from (GL, Sales, etc) โ€“ we could use a cube or datawarehouse, or staging, or Other system, etc.
  2. Report Name (on Report Manager)
  3. Short description of the purpose – to appear under report name on report manager
  4. Should it go into an existing folder, or a new folder, or the userโ€™s folder?
  5. Who should have access?
  6. How should it be consumed? Email (and what, excel, pdf, web archive, etc), To a file share, User Ran?
  7. What parameters should be available? a. What are the defaults?
  8. Can we get a rough mockup of how it should look? a. Can we get an existing report (if avail, crystal, or excel, etc)
  9. Does it need to print on a 8×11 page?
  10. How often are you going to run it? (Hourly,Daily, Weekly, Monthly, ad-hoc)
  11. Is it going to be informational, or used to export data and manipulate? (if export โ€“ is there something else we can do?)
  12. If tabular data, does it need to be sortable?
  13. Do snapshots need to be taken? a. How many do we save? b. How often to take them? c. Do you need ability to delete them?

you get the idea, the list could go on and on. So creating that report is simple, but actually getting and doing all the things necessary to get it done “correctly” is more time consuming.

What other things can you think of for the list?

Where does PowerPivot Fit?

Now that SQL Server 2008 R2 is out, and Excel 2010 is out. You can get PowerPivot (http://powerpivot.com/) and create your own in memory cubes!

…. Or something like that.

I still haven’t figure out where PowerPivot fits in a business scenario. Why?

Well first you have what are now being called the “old school” BI users, that use Excel to connect to an SSAS cube and create fancy pivots and reports, maybe convert to formulas and create some nice reports/dashboards.. analytics.

Then you have people who only consume canned/standardized reports, through SSRS mostly, or maybe Excel Web Services… but they don’t create. Just consume.

You might even have power users, who take Report Builder and create those SSRS reports for other users. Awesome.

But then, you have this tool, PowerPivot. What can you do? Hit databases (mostly… cubes and other sources as well), bring back data, relate it, and create pivot reports/graphs off of it.

But you better be pretty dang advanced as a business user to use PowerPivot. I could count on one hand the users (that I have dealt with over the last 10 years) I would feel comfortable giving it to and not ending up with more of a headache.

What do I think is still missing from the Microsoft BI toolset? Looking at Business Objects, the Web Intelligence. Universes. You create a Universe off of a datasource and expose it out to the user, they can create reports/ad-hoc whatever off of it.

Kind of like the ever elusive “Report Model” in the Microsoft stack that no one ever uses, ever will use, or has no reason to use. But in BO, they make it useful.

I don’t see PowerPivot taking the place of a Report Model/Universe, so where does it fit? IT Analysts making “pre” cubes before you actually make cubes for your users that just want to hit it with Excel and not care about anything else?

Or people who just want to create their own cubes in silos. Tell me how that lends itself to “one version of the truth”?

Either way, we will see how it evolves and hopefully find some good use for it. ๐Ÿ™‚