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An analysis of the main new features in SQL Server Reporting Services 2016
Part two of a six-part series of blogs

Microsoft have put a lot of effort into SSRS 2016, including completely rewriting Report Manager (it's now called Web Portal) and creating separate software for publishing reports to mobiles. There are lots of new features to contemplate!

  1. What's new in Reporting Services 2016 (SSRS 2016)
  2. SSRS 2016 - the basic user interface for creating reports (this blog)
  3. Report Manager becomes Reporting Services Web Portal
  4. Mobile Report Publisher in Reporting Services 2016
  5. Report Builder 2016 (Report Builder for SSRS 2016)
  6. Other new features in Reporting Services 2016

This is part of a wide-ranging blog explaining the new features in every part of SQL Server 2016.

Posted by Andy Brown on 11 July 2016

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SSRS 2016 - the basic user interface for creating reports

When so much else has changed in Reporting Services 2016, it would be easy to lose sight of just how much hasn't!  There are only a few tweaks to the basic Visual Studio report creation process.

Creating a report in SSRS 2016

I've just created the following report in SSRS 2016:

A 2016 report

A fairly typical grouped report.

I found the process to be more-or-less identical to that in SQL Server 2012.  In particular, the following irritations seem still to be there!

Irritation Notes
Paste format tool This is ... still missing!
Repeating table column headers You still seem to have to invoke advanced mode to set these.

So much for what hasn't changed; let's now look at what's new in the basic report design interface.

Yukky new icon style

In common with other SQL Server 2016 applications, the toolbar icons have had all the colour stripped out of them:

Toolbar icons

An example of the new icons.


More control over parameter layout

I have to admit, this wasn't quite what I was expecting!  You can now position parameters in a grid pattern:

Moving parameters

Here I've got two parameters, and am about to add a column to shift them over to the left.

So here's the sort of effect you can create:

Parameters in different columns

Hmmm ... I was expecting a bit more flexibility than this!

Incidentally, you can hide the parameters panel easily enough:

Hiding parameters area

Right-click on your report and choose the option shown to hide the parameters panel.

Strange behaviour if not using print layout

I don't know if this is my laptop or not, but previewing a report doesn't show any data:

Not in print layout

Until I click on the Print Layout button shown, I don't see any data.

As soon as I click on Print Layout, everything's hunky dory:

Print layout

Normal service is resumed ...

I suspect this is down to user error, but just mention it as one of the differences I've encountered between 2012 and 2016.

New chart types

There are two new chart types in SSRS 2016.  Tree:

Tree chart

An example of a tree chart

And Sunburst:

Sunburst chart

Sunburst charts look a bit doughnutty to me ...


Here are all the chart types, since I'm sure some of these are new too!

Chart types

The full range of chart types in SSRS 2016.

Gauges have got funkier!

The gauge templates are much jazzier:

The default gauge templates

The default gauge templates.

Report parts are now built-in

This was something you could do in Report Builder, but not in SSRS itself.  However ... now you can!

Report parts menu

You can choose this option from the menu to save one or more report items as a report part.


This will group items together in a published report, allowing you to reuse them (it's not - IMHO - a very useful feature).

Client-side printing uses PDF format

I'll be honest, I don't quite get this, so here's a summary of the change from the horse's mouth (the Microsoft website):

The print button on the report viewer toolbar uses the Portable Document Format (PDF) format for client-side printing of Reporting Services reports viewed in a browser. The new remote printing experience uses the PDF rendering extension that is included with Reporting Services, to render the report in PDF format. You can download a .PDF form of the report or if you have an application installed for viewing .PDF files, the print button displays a print dialog box for page common configuration items such as page size an orientation and a preview of the .PDF file. Although client-side printing is enabled by default, you can disable the feature to prevent it from being used. Previous versions of Reporting Services used an ActiveX control that required downloading to the client computer from the report server. If you upgrade your report server to SQL Server 2016, the print control is not removed from the report server or client computers.

I'm sure this will change someone's life!


Those are all the changes I could find in the way you design reports in SSRS 2016.  However, the way people view your reports is profoundly different, as the next part of this blog will show.

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