Report Design 101 - Binding fields using the Report Manager

With Enterprise Reporter you can now access a feature-rich report layout designer which will help you customize your data and the style of your reports. You can create reports that are tailor-made for your company’s needs - whether it simply involves adding your company’s logo into reports, or shaping report data using aggregates or filters. However, before you create reports from scratch, it is useful to understand the fundamentals of report design.

Binding fields to a report is a fundamental concept you need to know in order to create meaningful reports. When you add a new field to a report definition, it isn’t automatically displayed in your report (you have to tell it where and how you want it to appear – we’re still working on the mind-reading feature!). Simply explained, when you bind a field, you are placing data into your report using the report designer’s layout surface. The “bind” occurs between the data and the report layout.

As an example, I’ll show you how to create a simple report with a bound field. Feel free to follow along – even if you haven’t collected SQL data, you can still do this example.

  1. Begin by creating a new report in the Report Manager.
  2. Navigate to the Fields Tab and select a report type. For this example, we will use the 'Database Object' report type under the SQL Server Report Pack category.

In this view, the Selected Fields pane is an important part of binding fields to reports. Fields selected here will correspond to the field list that will be available in the report designer. More fields can be added by selecting a field in the Available Fields tree and clicking Add or by dragging it to the Selected Fields list.

  1. Navigate to Layout Tab and click ‘Design a new layout using the layout designer’.

In the right-hand side of the layout designer you will see a Field List section. This contains the same list of fields which the user picked from the Field List settings tab from step #2. These are the fields that can be used on the layout surface of the report designer.

  1. Drag the 'Database Name' field into the layout surface. It should then look something like this:


At this point the field is bound and ready to be rendered in a report. Depending on which band you put it, the field may repeat for each row in the database or may be grouped. But that’s for another blog topic!

  1. To preview how the report will look, you can click the preview button below the report designer:


And that’s all there is to binding. Just remember to do this every time you add a field to a report, and you’re on your way to getting exactly what you want in your reports.