Paginated reports, commonly referred to as “pixel-perfect” reports, are an essential tool for creating data-rich, highly customizable, and print-ready reports. While many users are familiar with the basic features of paginated reports in Power BI and SQL Server Reporting Services (SSRS), there are several lesser-known capabilities that can enhance the overall reporting experience. In this blog post, we’ll explore some of these hidden gems and explain how they can add value to your paginated reports.
- Document Map
The Document Map feature allows you to create a navigable outline or table of contents for your paginated report, making it easier for users to quickly jump between different sections or categories within the report. By adding a Document Map, you can provide a more organized and user-friendly reporting experience, especially for lengthy and complex reports.
- Interactive Sorting
Interactive Sorting enables users to sort data in a table or matrix directly within the report by clicking on column headers. This powerful feature provides users with more control and flexibility to explore and analyze the data according to their needs. To enable interactive sorting, simply set the “InteractiveSort” property of the table or matrix column header textbox.
- Custom Code and Expressions
Paginated reports support custom code and expressions, allowing you to create complex calculations, data transformations, or conditional formatting rules that might not be achievable with built-in functions. You can use Visual Basic.NET (VB.NET) to write custom code within the report, and then reference the custom functions in your report expressions.
- Fixed Headers and Footers
When dealing with long tables or matrices that span multiple pages, it can be helpful to keep the headers and footers visible as users scroll or navigate through the report. To achieve this, simply set the “FixedData” property of the table or matrix header row to “True.” This ensures that the headers and footers remain in place, providing users with essential context as they explore the data.
- Data-Driven Subscriptions
Data-driven subscriptions enable you to automate the delivery of paginated reports based on dynamic, data-driven criteria. This feature, available only in SSRS, allows you to configure report delivery based on data stored in an external data source, such as a database table or a query result. Data-driven subscriptions can be used to deliver personalized reports to users or to schedule report delivery based on specific conditions or events.
- Custom Pagination
By default, paginated reports use automatic pagination to determine the number of pages and the layout of report items. However, you can also take full control over the pagination process by using custom pagination. This allows you to specify the exact number of rows or columns to display per page and to control the placement of report items across multiple pages.
While many users are familiar with the basic features of paginated reports in Power BI and SSRS, exploring lesser-known capabilities can provide a more powerful, flexible, and user-friendly reporting experience. By leveraging features such as Document Maps, Interactive Sorting, Custom Code and Expressions, Fixed Headers and Footers, Data-Driven Subscriptions, and Custom Pagination, you can create truly dynamic and interactive reports that cater to a wide range of user needs and preferences.
This blogpost was created with help from ChatGPT Pro.