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Create an Word Report from an Existing RDL

This tutorial will help you design your first report in Word using the OfficeWriter for Word Designer from an existing report file (RDL) that was created in Visual Studio or Report Builder. We will build a simple employee list and display some basic information about each employee.

Tutorial Requirements:

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  1. Reporting Services is installed on a server you can access, working properly, and you have rights to publish and view reports.
  2. The AdventureWorks data base (which is an optional component in the Reporting Services installation) is installed on the Reporting Services server.
  3. OfficeWriter is installed on the Report Server
  4. OfficeWriter Designer is installed on your local PC

For more information on installing and configuring OfficeWriter Reporting Services Integration, see Installation or contact your System Administrator.

OfficeWriter Designer Toolbar

The control center for creating reports with OfficeWriter is the OfficeWriter Designer toolbar. When you open Word, you will the OfficeWriter Designer tab in the ribbon.

If you do not see the toolbar:

  • Make sure that you ran the installer for the OfficeWriter Designer, which is a separate installer from OfficeWriter.
  • If you do not see the toolbar after running the installer, the toolbar may have been disabled. Please see this OfficeWriter Answers Post for more information.

Opening a Report File

An a RDL file is an xml-based report definition file. In this tutorial we will assume the RDL was created in Visual Studio or Report Builder. If you are interested in creating RDLs with the OfficeWriter Designer, read Using MS Query in Word to Design Reports.

  1. Open Microsoft Word

  2. Go to the OfficeWriter Designer tab and click Open Report

  3. If your report defintion file was saved on a local or network drive, navigate to the folder containing the file, select it, click Open, and continue to Adding Fields to your report
    If your RDL file was deployed to Reporting Services, click the Retrieve on the bottom right corner of the dialog box.



  4. In the Report Browser dialog box, type in your report server's URL or Domain name and click Refresh. This will load all the available report folders into the list box. Navigate to your report file, select it, and click Ok.

Adding Merge Fields to Your Report

When you open the report, the Designer parses the RDL for information about the data sets and makes that information available while you are working in Word. Data sets will appear in a drop-down list and you will be able to insert fields from those data sets into the Word template as data placeholders called data markers.

For this tutorial we will use an RDL that was created in Visual Studio containing a data set with the following query:


After opening your report in Word with the OfficeWriter toolbar, you should find your query listed under Merge Fields > DataSets.

  1. Place a two column, two row table in your report template.



  2. Place your cursor in the top left cell of the table.

  3. Go to Merge Fields in the OfficeWriter Designer toolbar and locate your query from the drop-down list.

  4. Hover over the query to open the Merge Field Menu.



  5. Select LastName from under Insert Merge Field to insert a merge field into the table cell. Your report should now look like this:



  6. After the AdventureWorks.LastName merge field, type in a comment and a space. Go to Merge Fields > the data set > Insert Merge Field and select FirstName. Your report should now look like this:



  7. Place your cursor in the top right cell of the table. Go to Merge Fields > the data set > Insert Merge Field and select Title.

  8. In the bottom left cell, type Employee ID: and insert the EmployeeID field.

  9. Place your cursor in the bottom right cell of the table. Insert the EmailAddress field.

Your finished report template should look like this:

Setting a Repeat Region

There are two ways to import data into an OfficeWriter for Word report: at the Document level or in a Repeat Region. If a dataset is imported at the Document level, merge fields from this query can appear anywhere in the document, and only the first row of data is imported into the report. If a dataset is imported into a Repeat Region, merge fields for that dataset must be contained in a section of the document wrapped in a special bookmark. Everything within the bookmark region will be repeated for each row of data in the dataset.

By default, all merge fields are considered to be at Document level. To set a dataset to import into a Repeat Region:

  1. With your mouse, highlight the entire table on your report. Select not only the table, but also include the blank row below the table.



  2. Go to Data Markers > the data set. Under Repeat Region, select Set Selection to Repeat Region to wrap the section in the repeat bookmark.
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If you highlight a table without highlighting a row after it, the report will include a separate table for each employee without spaces between them. It would look like one long continuous table. Many times you will want to do this, but for this demo, we want to make it look like separate tables.

Publish and View Your Report

Before publishing the report on the Reporting Services server, we must save the Word template locally as an RDL file.

  1. From the OfficeWriter Designer toolbar select Save. You will have the option to Save to Disk or Deploy to Remote Server.

  2. Select Save to Disk.

  3. Navigate to a local folder where you will store the template report file. This will be where you store your work file in case you want to edit it later, not a location on the Reporting Services server.

  4. Save the template as an RDL file.

  5. To publish the report, from the toolbar, click Save and select Deploy To Remote Server.

  6. From the Publish dialog box select the drop-down to display the Server or URL.

  7. Choose the server on which Reporting Services is installed.

  8. Click Refresh.

  9. Select a folder for which you have publish rights and click Ok.

  10. If your report published with no errors, you will receive a Publish Successful message dialog. Click Ok to continue.

  11. To view the report, click View on the OfficeWriter Designer. The report viewer will open another Word window with the report results. It should look like this:



  12. Select Close Report View to return to your report template.

To verify that your report is actually running on Reporting Services:

  1. Open a browser and go to the Reporting Services Report Manager (usually installed at http://<server address>/Reports).

  2. Navigate to where you published your report.

  3. Select the report. Reporting Sevices will display the report but only show you the data set.

  4. From the export option drop-down, choose Word designed by OfficeWriter.

  5. When prompted, click Open . Word will open and display your report the way you created it.

Samples

Download the .rdl file described in this tutorial.

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