Mastering Reporting Services Expressions – SQL Server Pro eLearning Series

I will be presenting a series of three online sessions for the SQL Server Pro Magazine eLearning series titled “Mastering SQL Server Reporting Services Expressions”.  Please join me for live chat sessions during the presentations on the 12th of February at 11am, 1pm and 3pm Eastern Time.

If you do any report design with SSRS, this is an essential skill for all types of reporting solutions.  SQL Server Reporting Services (SSRS) is a very capable and mature reporting tool that has been part of the SQL Server suite for more than 10 years. It’s fairly easy to create basic reports with no programming and only fundamental technical skills if you keep things simple, but if you have to build highly-functional reports, you need to know how to write and use expressions. With some essential expression skills, you can take your report designs to the next level and give your business powerful reporting and analytic capabilities.

Instead of having many different reports for all of your users’ needs, wouldn’t it be great if just a small number of reports were flexible enough to meet the needs of different business users? That would make the choice easier for users with fewer reports to maintain.

Have you ever created a report that doesn’t export to Excel in a format that works for the user? Wouldn’t it be great if the report were smart enough to know how it was being viewed or exported – and formatted itself accordingly? You can do that with expressions.

Attend this training to learn how to:

  • Use parameters to drive dynamic report features with selectable table columns, chart elements, and data measures.
  • Conditionally visualize data elements to highlight threshold values and outliers using color, size, fonts, and icons.
  • Build one report to visualize and format data in different ways, based on a variety of requirements and conditions.

After you have mastered expression basics, you can apply the same techniques in more advanced and creative ways, such as:

  • Defining custom drill-through targets, allowing users to navigate to different detail reports under different conditions.
  • Creating one report with dynamic filtering that responds to user-interaction.

Who should attend:

  • IT professionals and developers who use databases to create report solutions for business users. Users should have a fundamental understanding of query languages like T-SQL and functions in any expression or programming language.
  • Business analysts who access various data sources to analyze and understand business information. Financial professionals who need to produce balance sheets, profit and loss statements, reports, and invoices. These users should understand essential database concepts like tables and fields, or how to browse an analytical cube with dimensions and measures.
  • Business users should be proficient using Windows software, working with files, and documents. Some prior experience with SQL Server Reporting Services is recommended. Experience with other reporting tools such as Access reports or Crystal Reports might be helpful for new users.

Session 1: Introducing Expressions in Basic Report Design – 11am ET

  • How expressions work
  • Visual Basic.NET expression fundamentals
  • Parameter basics and incorporating parameters in expressions
  • Decision making – IIF() and SWITCH() functions
  • Handling empty values and evaluation errors
  • When to use calculated fields and calculated values
  • Making properties dynamic

Session 2: Extending Report Features with Expressions – 1pm ET

  • Dynamically changing report content
  • Hiding and showing table columns
  • Managing group visibility
  • Dynamic chart element colors
  • Modifying query logic with expressions

Session 3: Dynamic Report Features & Creative Designs – 3pm ET

  • Expression best practices
  • Reporting Services design patterns – working with the tool
  • Managing complex expressions and writing custom functions
  • Defining selectable drill-through targets
  • Creative ways to visualize information
  • Creating an interactive dashboard
  • Customizing report exporting and dynamic formatting
Paul Turley

Paul Turley

Microsoft Data Platform MVP, Principal Consultant for 3Cloud Solutions Specializing in Business Intelligence, SQL Server solutions, Power BI, Analysis Services & Reporting Services.

6 thoughts on “Mastering Reporting Services Expressions – SQL Server Pro eLearning Series

  1. Hi Paul,
    I couldn’t seem to see a link to the 3 sessions you done on the ssrs expressions. Is this premium content?

  2. Hi Paul,

    Yes, thanks. HD mode is a lot clearer.

    Will the sessions above be on this blog site or another page?



    1. The Mastering Reporting Services Expressions series is offered by Penton/SQL Server pro Magazine and will be hosted on their site.

      Paul Turley | SQL Server MVP | 360.265.5822 | | SolidQ Think Big. Move Fast.

  3. Hi Paul,

    Will the sessions described above be presented on this blog site, similar to your MDX videos?

    By the way, thanks for those videos, they were very useful and informative. Unfortunately though, when attempting to view the videos in full screen mode the resolution is poor and the videos themselves are a little too small when viewing at the size provided on the site. Is there anything I can do to enhance the resolution?



    1. Thanks for the feedback on the videos. The files were quite large in the highest resolution so they are reduced and quality diminished some but you should be able to see the text in HD mode. Click the HD toggle button in the top right hand corner of the player. I’ll make it a point to shoot future videos at a lower resolution and then keep them at the highest quality when published.

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