How to use custom thumbnails with Mobile Reports in SQL Server 2016

Happy Sunday folks!

In the new Reporting Services web portal, you see thumbnails for each of the mobile reports you’ve published to the server.  Well, here’s a neat hack that allows you to update your mobile reports with custom thumbnails.  Keep in mind, the normal disclaimer applies around the fact it isn’t officially supported and if you break something, you’re on your own, etc.

1. Download the latest version of the Mobile Report Publisher
2. Create your mobile report
3. Save it locally vs. publishing it the server.  It doesn’t matter if you use either Excel data or shared datasets from your server.


4.  Find the file location where you saved it locally.image

Now change the file extension from .rsmobile to .zip

5.  Double-click on the .zip file to view the contents

You’ll see two image files called thumbnail.png and thumbnail-phone.png that look like the following and were generated when I first created this report.  These are the files you’ll want to replace, and you can replace one or both of them.

image        thumbnail-phone

6. Now, pick new images to use.  They need to be named the same as the ones with the file, and need to be in the .png format.  Ideally, they’ll have the same dimensions as the default files, which are –

thumbnail.png file – 1150×555
thumbnail-phone.png file – 550×825

That isn’t a requirement for this to work, but it does mean your pictures might look a little distorted if they don’t match.

I chose one of my son’s favorite stuffed animal to use as the new thumbnail.png file.


Once I saved the file and renamed it, I simply dragged it into the still zipped folder and answered yes when prompted to overwrite the existing file.  You see it has replaced the existing file, and the file size has increased significantly.  Something else to be aware of if you do this for multiple files.


Now, I can rename the file extension back to .rsmobile and then upload the file to my Reporting Services server.


Once uploaded, it will automatically recognize it is a mobile report based on the file extension, and put it in the right category in the portal.


I’ll also now see the new thumbnail I added to the file in place of the one generated by the Mobile Report Publisher.image

Here’s how it looks in My Favorites

And when I click the report tile, the report still renders as I’d expect in the browser:

One thing to keep in mind – if I were to edit this report and re-publish or upload it, new thumbnails will get generated and overwrite the custom one(s) I added to the file.  So I’d have to do this each time I make changes to the report and re-save it.  That’s why this is a hack though, right?  🙂

Hopefully you enjoy this and have some fun playing around with this concept.  Have a great week!

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