SSRS Basics: Set up Visual Studio to Write a New SSRS Report

SSRS with Visual Studio
SSRS with Visual Studio

When first looking into writing SQL Server Reporting Services (SSRS) Reports in Visual Studio, it’s easy to think that creating a report will be possible straight out of the box with one of the existing templates that Visual Studio comes with. Somewhat surprisingly, this is not the case for Visual Studio 2012 and 2013.

To be able to create and edit SSRS reports in Visual Studio 2012 or Visual Studio 2013, you will need to download a separate component from the Microsoft support site. This component is called Microsoft Visual Studio Tools for Applications 2012 (or 2013 depending on the version of Visual Studio that you prefer to work with)

Currently the URL to download Microsoft Visual Studio Tools for Applications component for Visual Studio 2012 can be found here:

http://www.microsoft.com/en-ca/download/details.aspx?id=38807

After running the download component from the Microsoft site, the real download is fairly large and could take a good 10 to 20 minutes depending on your internet connection. The install process also takes a while, so you should probably plan to grab a coffee while the process completes.

Once you have finished the install, you will finally be able to create and work with SSRS reports within Visual Studio. Here are the basic steps for setting up a new SSRS report project:

  1. Open up Visual Studio
  2. Select File –> New –> Project
  3. You will now see a new project template option called Business Intelligence
  4. Expand this project template and select the Reporting Services option.
  5. You can now either choose to use the setup wizard or just a plain project template.
  6. See the example image at the start of this article for a screen shot of what it looks like to select the new Reporting Services project template in Visual Studio 2012.

So there you go, that’s what is needed to be able to create or work with SSRS reports in Visual Studio. Note that once you have built your SSRS report, you will need to publish it to your Reporting Services server in order for it to be available to your user-base.

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