ActiveReports 16 .NET Edition
ActiveReports 16 User Guide / Report Types / Report Definition Language (RDL) Report
In This Topic
    Report Definition Language (RDL) Report
    In This Topic

    The Report Definition Language (RDL) report is the most interactive type of report that we offer. Controls can grow and shrink, you can set up interactive sorting, you can set up drill-down reports in which detail data is initially hidden, and can be toggled by other items, and you can add drill-through links to other reports and to bookmark links within reports.

    When you add a RDL report to a project, the OverflowPlaceholder control disappears from the toolbox, and the page tabs disappear from below the report design surface.

    Master Reports

    One way in which RDL reports differ from Page reports is the ability to create and use master reports. A master report is one that you use to add common report functionality like data, company logos, and page headers or footers, while using the ContentPlaceHolder control to designate areas where content reports can add data. In this way, you can quickly change the data source or company address and logo for an entire suite of reports in one convenient place. For more information, see Master Reports.

    Page Break

    RDL reports provides you the ability to add a page break by using the PageSize setting or by specifying the PageBreakBefore and PageBreakAfter properties of data region, group, and rectangle. In addition to the traditional print preview mode that allows you to consider the sheet size while printing a report, it also provides a galley mode wherein you can browse all your data in a single sheet. In RDL reports, you can easily verify data that does not include any page breaks, therefore it can be more appropriately used for browsing laterally extended reports that use controls like Tablix data region or for previewing reports that includes large amount of data.


    Both Page and RDL reports can use themes to apply standard formatting to a range of report controls. Like using a master report, this allows you to change the look of a whole suite of reports in one place. You can specify colors for text and background, hyperlink colors, major and minor fonts, images, and constants, and then specify theme values in report control properties. When you want to change the look, you can do it all in the *.rdlx-theme file and it will apply to each report when it runs. For more information, see Create and Add Themes.


    RDL reports are ideal when you need to show data from different data sets, and when you do not need to control where the data appears on the page. Use data regions to display data in the report, and after the controls grow to accommodate your data, ActiveReports breaks it down into pages. For more information, see Data Sources and Datasets.

    Shared Data Sources

    RDL reports allow you to create and use shared data sources, so that you need not enter the same connection string every time you create a report. 

    Custom Resource Locators

    You can create a custom resource locator for items to use in your reports. In this way, you can locate images for reports, or even reports to use in subreports or in drill-through links. For more information, see Custom Resource Locator.

    Data Regions and Report Controls

    All Rdl reports have controls that can display data differently than in section reports. You can use Sparkline and Bullet report controls for dashboard reports, plus there is a List, Table, and Tablix data regions to display your data. You can use expressions in many of the properties to determine what to display and how to display it. For more information on these and other report controls, see Toolbox.

    Note: The PageHeader and PageFooter sections of RDL Reports do not display controls bound to dataset values at run time. These sections only display controls with static data like labels or, you can also add parameters using dataset values and use controls bound to parameter value in order to display dataset field values in these sections.

    Data Visualizers

    The Image and TextBox report controls have a Data Visualizer feature that allows you to display data in small, easy-to-comprehend graphs. This is a powerful tool to really make your data pop. For more information, see Data Visualizers.


    You can group data within data regions by fields or expressions, control the scope of aggregates, and even create recursive hierarchies in data with parent-child relationships. The Level function allows you to indent by level to show these relationships visually. For more information, see Grouping Data (Page Layout).


    Interactive Sorting

    You can allow users to sort data in List, BandedList, Table, or Tablix data regions using the Interactive Sort properties of a TextBox report control. For more information, see Allow Users to Sort Data in the Viewer.


    You can add parameters to reports that allow users to select which values to display in the report. These are also useful in creating drill-through reports. For more information, see Add Parameters.

    Drill Down

    You can use the ToggleItem property in the Visibility section for report controls, data regions, table rows, and tablix row and column groups to create drill-down reports. With these settings, you can initially hide items and set a toggle item that users can click to drill into more detailed data. For more information, see Create a Drill-Down Report.

    Drill Through

    You can use the Action property in the Navigation settings available on text boxes, images, and chart data values to create drill-through reports that let users click links to more detailed reports with parameters. Although you can create drill-through links to reports without parameters, this may leave users searching a huge detailed report for relevant information.

    Bookmark Links

    You can also use the Action property in the Navigation settings to jump to a bookmark or URL.


    You can control where pages break in RDL reports using PageSize settings, as well as PageBreakBefore and PageBreakAfter properties on data regions, groups, and rectangles.


    By setting the PageSize.Height property to Auto, you can print an RDL report in a single page despite the report page height at design time. For more information, see Printing Reports on Single Page.

    See Also