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Second Biggest Mistake When Designing SSRS Reports

By Garth Jones

The second biggest mistake that people often make when creating a report is putting too much data in it.

Take the report below, this is an actual mock-up of a report requested by a client. What makes this report really interesting is that if it was printed it would be 48-inches wide! It is virtually impossible to scroll left to right and ensure what you are reading the same row.

Second Biggest Mistake - Mock-up

Instead, I always suggest breaking-up a really big report into smaller sections. In the mock-up I color-coded the sections, so that the client could see roughly how the final reports would look.

The four sections worked out to:

· Device Details

· Patch Details

· SCCM Client Details

· Other Tools

As I have worked with this client over the years, this initial report has morphed. It is now comprised of at least a dozen different reports. The reports follow the idea of a summary report drilling down into a list report which drills down to a details report. You can read more here about three essential SSRS reporting styles.

The moral of the story is less is more. If a single row doesn’t fit onto a page when printed, then there is likely too much information. Break-up the report into two or more reports or report sets.