Should You be Using the ActiveReports.NET Standalone Report Designer?

Although ActiveReports.NET can be used in various ways, the most user-friendly way to make simple reports is within our desktop designer application, also known as the Standalone Report Designer.

With this designer, our customers can set up reports using drag-and-drop controls, design-time data sources, and straightforward customization techniques.

To understand if this is the right option for you, let’s go into some of the use-cases in which you should be using the Standalone Report Designer.

If you are looking to get started with creating “WYSIWYG” reports, then our Standalone Report Designer can help you reach your goals. As with all our designers, this easy-to-use option allows you to change everything about your report at design time.

You can quickly create RDL, page, and XML-based section reports without feeling overwhelmed by unnecessary complexities. The designer also offers a ‘script’ tab for each type of report, giving you some flexibility to edit report controls at run-time.

This designer is also an excellent choice for not-so-tech-savvy users for various reasons. Perhaps a user needs to connect a report to a data source without knowing the exact query syntax.

Using our Visual Query Designer, they can select which database they want to connect to and then create a dataset to connect to a table within that database.

Designer

As you can see, you can seamlessly add a control, make the appropriate edits, and preview the report in minutes. The toolbox on the left allows you to drag different types of controls onto the report, such as charts, tables, and text boxes, while the report explorer next to it provides a layout of each piece of your report.

Not only that, but you can also edit every property of each control within the properties tab on the right-hand side of the designer.

Although it is helpful for simple scenarios, the Standalone Report Designer can also be used in more complex situations.

The designer offers support for all the same controls, databases, and properties that you can find in our class library documentation, so it is up to the user to decide how they create their report.

However, if you want to control everything about the reporting process through code, you might need to use a code-based section report, which our Standalone Report Designer does not support. You will need to use our Visual Studio Integrated Designer to edit the report’s design for this use case.

For more information on code-based section reports and their use, check out our code-based section report documentation.

If you have any specific questions regarding the Standalone Report Designer, please reach out to our support team and create a ticket.

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