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Posted Sep 29, 2004

MSSQL Server Reporting Services: Master Chart Reports: Track Exchange Rates in a Line Chart

By William Pearson

About the Series ...

This is the ninth article of the series MSSQL Server 2000 Reporting Services. The series is designed to introduce MSSQL Server 2000 Reporting Services ("Reporting Services"), with the objective of presenting an overview of its features, together with many tips and techniques for real-world use. This column also serves as a vehicle for sharing my conviction in Reporting Services' role as a new paradigm in enterprise reporting. As I advise clients on a more and more frequent basis these days, this is the future in a big way. I hope you will consider my input valuable, and that you will investigate closely the savings and advanced functionality that will soon be available to anyone with an MSSQL Server 2000 (and beyond) license.

Important: For information concerning the applications to which you will require access to benefit the most from our series, please see our initial Database Journal article, A New Paradigm for Enterprise Reporting.

It is assumed that you have access and the other rights / privileges required to complete the articles within the series. For details on the specifics of the adjustments necessary to quickly allow full freedom to complete the exercises in this and subsequent articles, as well as important assumptions regarding rights and privileges in general, please see earlier articles in our series, as well as the Reporting Services Books Online.


In our last article, Pie Charts in Reporting Services, we began the Master Chart Reports subset of our MSSQL Server 2000 Reporting Services series. This "mini-series" will demonstrate how to create chart reports of various types, and how to exploit the rich and flexible features contained in Reporting Services that enable us to make report data more meaningful, and easier to understand, from the perspective of our information consumer audiences.

As we have seen in previous articles, and as we will show in many prospective articles within this series, Reporting Services enables us to present both summarized and detailed data in colorful, easy-to-read charts of various designs. We can choose from a number of chart layouts and types within the Reporting Services chart data region options. (As we have discussed in earlier articles, a data region is an area on a report that contains data from a data source that is repeated. The types of data regions are list, matrix, table, and chart.) As we have begun to see in our exploration of charts, as well as other data regions within Reporting Services, already, and as we will see through in-depth, practical exercises in coming articles, we can also extend the value of our reports in myriad ways. Among these ways, just for starters, are the capability to format chart and other objects in a host of ways, to drill down to see the details behind the graphical / numerical summaries, to combine chart reports with other types of reports, and to access myriad other options in the powerful Reporting Services tool set.

The focus of many of my "introductory" articles is a full set of procedures that are designed to underlie a more in-depth study of specific property settings, and so forth, in subsequent articles. My objective is to allow a reader to complete a report, or a report component, in a manner that is insulated from non-linear distractions. This, I hope, serves as a complement to the digital documentation that ships with the application, and which focuses more on definitions and purposes of fields and settings than on building a specific kind of report from scratch. The ultimate objective, again, is to provide hands-on opportunities to learn overall, start-to-finish procedures, before homing in on specific options of interest, although we will certainly deal with a set of these options in each exercise as a part of completing the stated objectives of the session.

In this article, our exploration of chart reports will move into an examination of the line chart. Line charts are another popular chart type, and are likely to be familiar to the majority of us, if not in the context of report authoring, then at least as an information consumer. Just as we saw was the case with the Reporting Services pie chart item in our last article, we will find that the line chart item is both easy to use and feature endowed. In this session we will:

  • Create a chart report in Report Designer;
  • Create an underlying dataset;
  • Locate a chart item on the new report;
  • Assign the line chart type to the item;
  • Populate the chart item with the required data.
  • Practice the use of various properties available to the line chart;
  • Preview the report to verify its operation.

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