WiseOwl Training - Established 1992 Wise Owl Training

Established May 1992
30 years in business
Wise Owl Training
30 years in business
See 482 reviews for our classroom and online training
Changing the appearance of parameters in SSRS
This blog shows you how to use CSS style sheets to change the default appearance of the Reporting Services parameter strip.

Posted by Andy Brown on 06 August 2012

You need a minimum screen resolution of about 700 pixels width to see our blogs. This is because they contain diagrams and tables which would not be viewable easily on a mobile phone or small laptop. Please use a larger tablet, notebook or desktop computer, or change your screen resolution settings.

Customising the SSRS Parameter Bar using CSS

Many people on our Reporting Services courses ask if they can customise the appearance of the SSRS parameter bar.  The answer is yes ... but see this hint.

I'd recommend not customising the parameters bar.  You'll spend days (weeks?) playing about with the CSS style sheets trying to get everything right - and even then you're vulnerable to Microsoft releasing a new version of SSRS which will change the way things work.  Far better to manage your users' expectations!

However, I recognise that there are times when you really do need to change the default parameters bar appearance (well, I think I do) from the slightly dull default:

Report with parameters bar

The parameters bar as it appears by default.

However, some changes aren't necessarily an improvement!

Custom parameter bar

Here we've applied a pink style to the parameter bar.

Still interested?  You'll need to learn how to configure Reporting Services to use a different style sheet, and then create this extra style sheet - all of this is described in the rest of this blog.

You'll need to know CSS to customise the parameters bar.  You can see a tutorial on CSS here.

Configuring Reporting Services to use a Different Style Sheet 

Somewhere inside your report server is a folder containing a configuration file called rsreportserver.config.  On my computer the folder can be found at:

C:\Program Files\Microsoft SQL Server\MSRS10_50.SQL2008R2\Reporting Services\ReportServer

This is because I have a named instance of SQL Server called SQL2008R2 installed, and more than one copy of Reporting Services running.  Your folder path might be easier to find. 

If you edit this file, you can tell SSRS to use an additional style sheet:

Using HtmlViewerStyleSheet

Here we're telling SSRS to use a style sheet called pink.css.

What you now need to do is to create this style sheet!

Creating a Style Sheet for SSRS 

The default style sheet on which reports are based is complicated, to say the least, and you don't want to start from scratch.  Fortunately, Microsoft have provided a template for you to use called HtmlViewer.css.  You can find this in the Styles subfolder of the folder shown above:

The HtmlViewer.css file

The template provided for editing styles.  Here I've already copied it to create the pink.css style sheet.


All that you need to do is to copy and paste the HtmlViewer.css template, and rename it to create your style sheet!

Creating the Styles 

I've no intention of creating a full tutorial for style sheets for SSRS, but here are some styles you may like to find and customise:

Style Controls appearance of
msrs-topBreadcrumb The top links of the report (Home, My Subscriptions, etc.).
The parameters strip itself.
SplitterNormal The line between the parameters bar and the paging toolbar below it.
The bar containing tools to move between pages, zoom in, etc.

Just to give a flavour of what's possible, here's my customised parameter bar:

Customised parameter bar

The parameter bar after I'd had my evil way with it.

Here is a sample of the CSS to achieve this, with some comments :



/* make background owly pink! */

background-color: pink;

border: 1px solid maroon;

width: 400px;





widen labels for parameters

and change font colour


padding: 5px;

padding-right: 0px;

color: maroon;

width: 20px;


And with that, I leave you to your own devices.  Good luck!

This blog has 1 thread Add post
10 Jun 20 at 15:38

In your example of the rsreportserver.config file, do you mean that we can reference something like this and it would still work?




I needed to also apply this CSS syntax: body:nth-of-type(1) img[src*="Blank.gif"] { display: none; }

The purpose of that is to remove several blank.gif's that appear on a report, per this post: https://stackoverflow.com/questions/45454067/tiny-boxes-appear-when-rendering-ssrs-reports-in-html-viewed-from-chrome

11 Jun 20 at 09:40

I've left this post up in the hope that someone else may be able to answer it!