This series of posts introduces the recipes in the Paginated Report Recipes eBook. In recipe #3, “Reusable Report Template”, Kathi Kellenberger demonstrates how to create a universal report template that you can use to create standardized reports that have consistent styling, branding and look-and-feel. This is an effective best practice to ensure that all reports meet organizational standards and conform to a standard style and format. Kathi’s approach provides tremendous flexibility by using parameters as variables to change several report styling elements. Thank you, Kathi, for contributing this recipe to the collection.
The Reusable Report Template recipe allows you to build Paginated reports and SQL Server Reporting Services reports in Visual Studio, starting with a new report template that allows you to easily switch-out a logo image, background, border and line colors and the report title in the header.
Back when I was doing a lot of SSRS project work, I used techniques similar to those described in this recipe to create “starter” report templates. At the beginning of a new project, I would create a standard template report and then create new reports from the template. I also used parameters and expressions to define dynamic styling properties. However Kathi has taken all of these tricks to the next level by building a comprehensive report template with all of these techniques built-in. At the center of the template is a custom parameter handler function that helps manage several styling properties in a single parameter and then maps them to various report settings.
Use the detailed instructions in this recipe to define your own standard report template with your corporate branding and style, and then use the advanced coding technique to swap-out styling property values. The report recipe is available here. The sample files and other resources related to this recipe are available here.