ActiveReports 16 .NET Edition
ActiveReports 16 User Guide / Report Types
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    Report Types
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    ActiveReports provides a number of ways to design a report. In this section, learn about the choosing a report type based on your layout requirements. Depending on the type of report you select, you also get various file formats to create your reports.

    Report Layout Types

    You can design reports using different layouts depending on your requirements. This section introduces these layout types and describes the differences between them to allow you to select the one that suits your report. ActiveReports supports the following report types:

    Page Layout

    In a Page Layout, you design reports at the page level without any banded sections. This lets you place controls anywhere on the report.

    In a Page report, controls do not change in size based on the data, but you can use an Overflow Place Holder to handle any extra data. These are xml-based formats that are similar to the MS SSRS format from Microsoft.

    RDL Layout

    In a RDL report, controls grow vertically to accommodate data. 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.

    Section Layout

    In a Section Layout, you design reports in banded sections. A PageHeader, Detail and PageFooter section appear by default, and you can remove any but the detail section. Right-click the report and select Insert to add other section pairs like ReportHeader and ReportFooter, or GroupHeader and GroupFooter.

    A report section contains a group of controls that are processed and printed at the same time as a single unit. All sections except the detail section come in pairs, above and below the detail section. When you use group headers and footers, the detail section processes for each group, and then the next group processes a group header, related details, and group footer. See Grouping Data for more information.

    You can hide any section that you do not want shown by setting the Visible property of the section to False.

    These reports are legacy paginated-only format that is similar to the RDL report type with the BandedList data region in the paginated mode.

    RDL is the default report type. If you need special fixed pages, you should choose the Page report type. We suggest using the Section report type for migration use-cases only. For XML-based RPX reports we have an import tool, which allows migrating most of the layout.

    For now, each report type has different support in ActiveReports, so we suggest that you choose the report type depending on your requirements. This table will help you choose the report type.

    End-User Designer support Web Designer support DocX Export support Linux support Custom controls support SVG support Galley layout support Document serialization support Different page sizes in a document support Viewer interactivity support
    Page ✗ (paginated only)
    ✗ (paginated only) ✓(internal RDF format) ✓ (supported in RDF format, requires manual document joining in scripts/events)
    ✗ (paginated only) ✓ (internal RDF format) ✓ (supported in RDF format, requires manual document joining in scripts/events

    All report types support scripts (section reports require scripts in most situations) and the possibility to use functions from external assemblies (in expressions for Page/RDL and in scripts/events for Section).



    Page Report The new Page report offers you a way to create very specific styles of reports, ideal for duplicating legacy paper forms.
    Report Definition Language (RDL) Report Learn how to build interactive reports with unique features where controls can grow and shrink.
    Code-Based Section Report Create reports based on C# or Visual Basic in Visual Studio.
    XML-Based Section Report Create reports based on XML layout in Visual Studio.


    Report File Format Types

    You can create reports in a number of file formats with a varied set of features. This section describes the use of each of these file formats.

    Report Template Formats

    To create a report, a user must select one of the following templates containing the report layout. See Basic Concepts and Install ActiveReports topics for details on available report templates and how to access these.

    • RDLX: This is an XML-based proprietary file format that provides custom extensions to the Report Definition Language (RDL) files used by SQL Server Reporting Services. These are stand-alone files that you can process without compiling them into your application. You can customize the report through the Script Tab by embedding script in the report.
      See this msdn page for more on RDL report.
    • VB or CS: These are code-based reports, and are saved as C# or Visual Basic files that are compiled into your applications. They have corresponding code views similar to Windows forms and provide a design and coding experience in line with Visual Studio. This format is ideal for developers who are comfortable with coding in .NET programming languages and would like to use the extensive event-based API provided by ActiveReports in the code-behind rather than design view. You may also use the scripts in the Script Tab instead of the code behind.
    • RPX: This is an XML-based proprietary file format that the ActiveReports engine can process without compiling it into an application. Instead of Visual Basic or C# code behind, you can customize the report with script embedded in the report XML using the Script Tab. You can also use an RPX file with script as a stand-alone file in a Web project.

    Additional File Formats

    ActiveReports also provides some additional file formats for reports. Each of these formats is used for a specific purpose as described below.

    • RDLX-master: This is a master report file that you can reference from other RDLX report files for a standard layout, for example, you can add company logo and address sections. This file is loaded each time the report is executed, so you can change the logo on all of your reports by just changing it on the master report.
    • RDLX-theme: This is a theme file that consists of a collection of styles that you can apply to a report. See Themes for further details.
    • RDSX: This is a proprietary format that is created when you share a data source, making it available to multiple reports.
    • RDF: This is the Report Document Format, in which the data is static. You can save a report in this format to display the data that is retrieved. Once a report has been saved to an RDF file, it can be loaded into the viewer control. See Save and Load RDF Report Files for further details.

    See the following list of file formats available in each layout.

    Format Page Layout/RDL Layout Section Layout
    VB or CS

    Features comparison between report types

    In ActiveReports, the features available in a report depend on the type of report you select. See the following comparison list of features with each report type:

    Feature Section report Page report RDL report
    Viewers & Editors
    Visual Studio Integrated Designer
    Expressions Editor
    Designer Script Editor
    Windows Form Viewer
    WebViewer (Pro Edition). Includes viewer types HTML, RawHTML, and PDF.
    HTTP Handlers (Pro Edition)
    Report Controls
    Drill through
    Drill down
    Data Connections
    Standard Data Sources supported (e.g. SQL, OleDB, XML)
    Unbound Data Source
    Shared Data Source
    Export Filters
    Rendering Extensions
    PDF advanced export features: digital signatures, time stamp, bold font emulation (Pro Edition)
    Master Reports
    Styles (through Report Settings dialog)
    Stand-alone Applications
    ActiveReports Viewer
    ActiveReports Theme Editor
    ActiveReports Designer (stand-alone application)
    See Also