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Report Design Best Practices

It supports four kinds of data regions: lists, tables, matrices, and charts.

    It offers a range of other items such as text boxes, images, links, rectangles, and sub reports. User interactivity is available through parameters, links, conditional display, end-user sorting, drill-down, and a document map. Reports may be rendered in a variety of formats, including HTML, Excel, PDF, image files, XML, and comma-separated values (CSV).

The decisions you make about each of these key areas can affect the final display and functionality of the report. The following sections offer more information about some of the factors that affect design and layout.

Data Regions

One of your first critical design decisions is which type of data region to use in your report. Reporting Services offers the following types of data regions:


A table represents data, row by row. The columns are static in that they do not expand, but the rows expand downward. Thus, as a table grows, it pushes the data beneath it downward. You can also group data within the table. Cross tabs

a matrix, or crosstab is like a table, but both columns and rows can expand to accommodate data. A matrix can push other report objects downward and outward on the report page. You can group data and also nest columns and rows within the matrix. Lists

A list is a freeform data region that is often used for creating forms. You can nest lists within lists to group data. Charts

A chart is a graphical representation of data. Reporting Services offers a wide range of chart formats.

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