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Devin Knight

Devin is a BI consultant at Pragmatic Works Consulting. Previously, he has tech edited the book Professional Microsoft SQL Server 2008 Integration Services and was an author in the book Knight's 24-Hour Trainer: Microsoft SQL Server 2008 Integration Services. Devin has spoken at past conferences like PASS and at several SQL Saturday events. He is a contributing member to the Business Intelligence Special Interest Group (SIG) for PASS as a leader in the SSIS Focus Group. Making his home in Jacksonville, FL, Devin is a participating member of the local users’ group (JSSUG).

SSRS – Embedding Refreshable Reports in Office Tools

Have you ever experienced this?

You have developed a set of Reporting Services report that your users love and they often show them off. The most common way users show off the reports is by taking screenshot images of the reports and embedding those images in a PowerPoint slide deck along with other information they plan to discuss.

I personally have seen this several times and I’ve always thought wouldn’t it be better to have a live version of the report available in the PowerPoint slide deck so it would always be up to date. This way new screenshots never have to be updated if visual aspects or data changes of the report occur because the slide deck would always have a live view of the report.

While this is a feature that has been touted in Power View you don’t have to wait because it is possible with Reporting Services now. Now of course the new Power View method of embedding reports is much more impressive because the reports remain interactive as if they were viewing on the SharePoint.

For this post let’s focus on how this can be done for Reporting Services because many people do not realize this is possible. Many of the Office products have the ability to embed images which can come from a URL. With this in mind we could also embed a URL of a report image and anytime the file is opened it the report will be updated.

Open a PowerPoint deck and go to the Insert menu in the Office Ribbon to insert a Picture. for the file name use the below template replacing the bold text with the relevant information about the report you want to embed.

http://<servername>/ReportServer?%2f<folder+name>%2f<report+name>&RS:Command=Render&RS:Format=Image&RC:OutputFormat=TIFF

**Note** The plus signs between folder name and report name are for any spaces you have between each word.

Then before you click Insert you will need to hit the dropdown arrow and select Insert and Link. Using this options retains the link to the image so that is can be refreshed each time the PowerPoint file is opened.

image

You should now see an image of your report embedded in your document and any time the files is reopened the view of the image will be updated to reflect new data and visualization changes. My example used PowerPoint but this could be done in other tools like Word or Excel too.

I hope this proves to be helpful to the reporting solutions you build.

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