Finding the Best Reporting Tools and Report Designers for .NET C# Applications

When it comes to desktop and web-based report design tools, there are dozens of options. There are many different choices, ranging from the simplest of report generation tools to very complex data visualization suites.

When it comes to .NET reporting tools specifically, an effective platform offers a combination of simplicity and power.

A perfect designer should be straightforward, easy to use, and give you complete control of your .NET reports – without the hassles of a steep learning curve, complex documentation, or a hefty price tag.

With .NET reporting tools, balancing the ease and accessibility of a great report designer with its power and capabilities can be a challenge.

Many companies fall to one side, producing a .NET reporting platform that caters to only non-technical end-users or power-user developers.

This balance of accessibility and power is difficult to achieve, but ActiveReports.NET has reached this equilibrium with its End-User Designer, Standalone Designer, Web Designer, and Visual Studio Integrated Designer, which all simplify .NET reporting to meet the varying needs of diverse report authors.

In this blog, we will cover how to find the best reporting tools and report designers for .NET C# applications by looking for the following elements:

  1. Data Visualization in .NET Reporting
  2. Allow Users to Create Reports with Custom .NET Report Designers
  3. Design Reports Without a Learning Curve with Ongoing Technical Support
  4. Different Report Types for Different Enterprise Use Cases
  5. Best .NET Reporting Customer Service

Download Now!


.NET Reporting Solutions

When looking for the perfect .NET reporting solution to design meaningful reports, there are quite a few factors you must consider when evaluating your options. Naturally, these considerations are determined by your specific use case.

Here are a few key elements of a .NET report designer essential to creating robust and meaningful .NET reports.

1. Data Visualization in .NET Reporting

Data visualizations are arguably the most essential aspect of a .NET report designer, as they drive the aesthetic and act as the foundation of the story behind the data.

They are a crucial element in the process of transforming your data into a visually appealing source of information. With ActiveReports.NET, you have a complete set of data visualization controls, including:

  • Charts
  • Tables
  • Tablix
  • Barcodes
  • Maps
  • Table of Contents
  • Calendars
  • Subreports
  • BandedLists
  • RichTextBoxes

Use these data visualization controls to create complete .NET reports, ensuring an eye-catching aesthetic and meaningful data representations!


2. Allow Users to Create Reports with Custom .NET Report Designers

Users who need to create custom .NET report designers can create a custom end-user report designer in the Visual Studio-integrated designer. Custom .NET report designers can customize the designer UI with granular control over user actions and control functionality.

With ActiveReports, you can easily embed royalty-free, customizable .NET report viewers into your applications to give your users endless features, such as:

  • Table of Contents
  • Thumbnails
  • Drill-down interactivity
  • Parameters
  • Annotations


drill down

3. Design Reports Without a Learning Curve with Ongoing Technical Support

When it comes to finding the best .NET reporting solution, you don’t want a tool that comes with a steep learning curve. With a perfect reporting solution comes certain ease of use when designing reports.

ActiveReports prides itself on being an accessible yet powerful .NET reporting tool. With the designer’s drag-and-drop controls, the standalone report designer, non-technical, and technical end-users can build a report suited to their needs -- in a matter of minutes.


Developers building reports in the Visual Studio-integrated designer experience a familiar UI and integrated tooling, with the Visual Studio menus, toolbox and toolbars, property grid, and even IntelliSense and context-sensitive help!

Code-Behind Events Using Visual Studio in the Programming Languages VB.NET and C# Which Allows for Endless Possibilities, such as:

  • Dynamically added controls and fields
  • Manipulation of data
  • Changing of format

This not only saves you money but makes your job easier! Additionally, the user experience is smooth when designing reports with a consistent look and feel, regardless of the report type.

For users who have questions or prefer to do their research before jumping into reporting, the ActiveReports Documentation is thorough (yet simple) and covers various topics.

Can’t find what you are looking for in our documentation? You can find additional topics in our Community Forums, or users can Contact Support to create tickets for our quick and responsive support staff, 24/5.

4. Different Report Types for Different Enterprise Use Cases

ActiveReports helps .NET developers in many industries, including:

  • Finance
  • Accounting
  • Stock analysis
  • Analytical
  • Budgets
  • Risk analysis
  • Scientific/research
  • Calendars
  • Scorecard
  • Insurance
  • Healthcare
  • Clinical
  • Manufacturing
  • Retail/inventory

When creating reports, you shouldn’t be limited in what types of reports you can make. You should have the freedom and ability to create the kind of reports you need to get the most out of your reporting solution. Most .NET reporting solutions limit report authors to either RDL reports or Section reports.

With ActiveReports, you can create RDL reports and Section reports – Code-based and XML-based, but there’s more! We also grant users the ability to design a third, unique report type with Page reports!

Each report type has different usages, allowing report authors to take full advantage of the endless possibilities at their fingertips when designing reports with ActiveReports.

Use Page reports for a fixed, page-level report layout where what you see is what you get, giving you total control over where your data goes!

When you’re unsure how much data the report will have or where it should go, use RDL reports to act as a continuous report that will grow and shrink as needed!

If you want to control detailed aspects of the report’s behavior through code, use Section reports to drive the report using code-behind events!

While other .NET reporting solutions limit your report types, ActiveReports puts you in total control to help you achieve more with your reporting.

create rdl

5. Best .NET Reporting Customer Service

It is quite often that users need features that we had not thought to add into ActiveReports. Unlike most .NET reporting solutions, the ActiveReports team does not brush off feature requests from existing customers.

Instead, we take these requests, analyze their feasibility, and implement them as soon as they can be finished through hotfixes and service packs. You can see a prime example of this through our ActiveReports v15 Release Notes.

Customers have been asking for additional enhancements and features, and we’ve been more than happy to accommodate through improvements of:

  • Dynamic Columns
  • CrossAggregate Function in Tablix
  • Improved CSV Export
  • More Page Break Options
  • .NET 5 Support

New features like:

  • Custom Font Resolver
  • Improved TIFF and PDF Exports (Section reports)
  • New Radar DV Chart Template
  • Web Designer Enhancements
  • Web Installer
  • Improved Performance on Excel Export

Anytime a user needs a feature, we always keep an open mind to determine how to make it work to provide the best possible experience with ActiveReports.

Don’t just take it from us! See what others are saying about their experience with ActiveReports:

"I really like the code behind the event-driven model and how flexible it is for unique reporting requirements." - Ralph Corigliano, CEO, Executive Support Systems

"We chose ActiveReports due to its full feature set, friendly licensing model for web-based applications, and ease of development." - Aaron Christian, Director of Software Development, Orion Healthcare Technology

“I cannot imagine developing reliable, robust business applications without ActiveReports!" - Jim Bullington, James Bullington Consulting Services

“Ease-of-use and the ability to have multi-level subreports were the two main considerations. ActiveReports stood head and shoulders above the other three products." - Rod Pick, Software Designer & IT Manager, Melmarc Products

These critical elements are necessary when researching the best .NET report designer (ActiveReports has them all). Give us a try and check out our What’s New in ActiveReports v15 video.

Download Now!

comments powered by Disqus