Handling No Data in SSRS Controls


When SQL Server Reporting Services (SSRS) successfully renders a given report control (i.e. Table, Matrix, List etc.), the result set can either be empty (which means no data returned) or actually show data. In cases whereby an empty result set is returned, SSRS controls, such as tables and charts, use NoDataMessage and NoRowsMessage properties to inform report users of no data.


Fortunately, some SSRS controls, such as charts, that references NoDataMessage property have by default the “No Data Available” caption to handle instances whereby an empty result set is returned. To illustrate this point – I have an SSRS dataset in my report that sources HumanResources.vEmployee object from the AdventureWorks2012 Sample Database. I have also created another dataset that will be used to populate report country parameter.

report main dataset

FROM [AdventureWorks2012].[HumanResources].[vEmployee]

country parameter dataset

SELECT 'Australia' Country
SELECT 'Canada'
SELECT 'Germany'
SELECT 'France'
SELECT 'United Kingdom'
SELECT 'United States'
SELECT 'South Africa'

NoDataMessage Property

I have used aforementioned datasets to add a vertical bar chart in the report that shows a number of Adventure Works employees by country of origin. By default, the report looks as follows:

Default Report view with all countries selected



As shown in the above chart, United States has the most number of employees working for Adventure Works. The following images show the report filtered by France and later by South Africa. Whilst a single French employee is found, there are no South African employees and thus the “No Data Available” message is shown.

Report filtered by France


Report filtered by South Africa – No Data Available



NoRowsMessage Property

Unlike controls that references NoDataMessage property, SSRS controls that handle empty result sets using the NoRowsMessage property – do not have a default caption. To illustrate this point, we again use the dataset that determine the number of Adventure Works employees by country of origin, however, instead of a using a chart control we will display result into a table.

Table based off all countries




Again, when we filter the report by France – we are able to find the single French employee.

Table filtered by France


Table filtered by South Africa


When the report is filtered by South Africa, as shown below, no data is found – however, unlike the chart control, the “No Data Available” caption is not shown in the table. We could fix this by editing the value of NoRowsMessage property. This is done by:

Step 1:

Highlight the Tablix and view it’s properties.

Report Tablix and it’s properties


Step 2:

Set the NoRowsMessage to “Sorry, No Data”.

Setting value of the NoRowsMessage property


Step 3 (Optional):

Set the Color property to Red.

Setting value of Color property to Red


When you rerun the report by using South Africa as a filter, you should be able to see the custom no data message as shown below:

Report table control with a custom no data message




That’s it, folks. Till next time.