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New features of SSRS 2008 R2 - Part 1 Naming Excel sheets when exporting reports

  • 4 December 2009
  • Author: Bret Updegraff
  • Number of views: 71928

This is the first of what I hope to be a long series of posts that demonstrate some new features of SQL Server Reporting Services in the 2008 R2 upcoming release. At some point I may define and go into more detail but for now, I simply want to expose you, the reader, to some new features in the next version of SQL Server Reporting Services (SSRS).

At the company that I work for, we have created a series of reports that have been enhanced over the years based on customer feedback. These reports were built on SQL Server 2005 while it was in beta. The application is still running in SQL 2005 and it uses all of the BI componants of SQL Server -

Enough of the background....
The Problem
One of our enhancements was taking several reports that were very similar in nature and combining them into one report. The key requirement was that these reports need to export into seperate tabs when exported into Excel. This meant that the user could run one report that contained several pages of seperate reports where as before the user would have had to run the reports seperately. We were able to tell SSRS to create a new page for each grouping of the dataset and so we combined all of the seperate reports into one dataset and seperated the data by using these groups. This worked well with one problem. When you export the data to Excel it names the sheets "Sheet 1", "Sheet 2", etc... There was no way to control this nameing without really digging under the covers of the rendering engine and creating custom code. Newsgroups were full of posts enquiring on how to name sheets in Excel with no good answers.

There was hope... SQL Server 2008 was released... but still no solution. Denied!

The Solution
Back in November I got my first view of SSRS 2008 R2 Nov CTP release during a presentation at SQL PASS. Bob Meyers and Sean Boon did a great job of showing off many new features of SSRS - many of these will hopefully be bloged in the next parts of this series soon. At the end they did a quick demo and showed that in the R2 release we will have the ability to name the sheets for exports to Excel. This 90 second demo earned the applause of the entire room.

Here is how it is done:
I have created a boring and simple report using the Adventure Works database simply for the purpose of showing this feature.
This report simply pulls Sales Person data and groups it by Territory so that each territory has it's own page.

Here is an example of the report exported to Excel before setting the sheet names.

In order to name the Sheets appropriately all you have to do is select the Group that has the page breaks from the Row Groups shown below

Then in the properties window navigate into the Groups section and find the PageName attribute.  By clicking on this attribute you can select the TerritoryName field from the dataset used to fill the report.  This can be any field or expression that you want to use, but for my example I wanted to use the name of the territory as the name of the sheets.

Here is a screen of the final result - SIMPLE!!

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