A report object is composed of a report dataset and a visual layout. You design a report by first defining the dataset and then designing the visual layout.

Report objects also contain properties, triggers, code, and an optional request page.

Defining the Dataset

You use Report Dataset Designer in the Microsoft Dynamics NAV Development Environment to define the dataset of a report. You build the report dataset from data items and columns. A data item is a table. A column can be:

  • A field in a table.
  • A variable.
  • An expression.
  • A text constant.

Typically, data items and columns correspond to fields in a table. When the report is run, each data item is iterated for all records in the underlying table. Filters are applied and the dataset is created.

When a report is based on more than one table, you must set relations between the data items so that you can retrieve and organize the data. In Report Dataset Designer, you indent data items to establish a hierarchy of data items and control how the information is gathered.


To create a report that displays a list of customers and lists the sales orders that were placed by each customer, you must define the following data items:

  • A data item that corresponds to the Customer table.
  • A data item that corresponds to the Sales Order table.

You indent the second data item, which is the Sales Order table. As the report works through the records in the Customer table, it finds each customer's sales orders by examining the records in the Sales Order table.

Designing the Visual Layout

You build the visual layout of a report by arranging data items. A report that is displayed or printed must have a client report definition (RDLC) layout. You use Visual Studio Report Designer or Microsoft SQL Server Reporting Services Report Builder to design the RDLC layout. You generally display most data in the body of a report, and you use the header to display information before any data item record is displayed. For example, you can display a report title, company, and user information in the header of a report.

With Visual Studio Report Designer, you can add useful features to your report layouts, such as:

  • Links from a field on a report to either a page or another report.
  • Images and graphs.
  • The ability to toggle columns so that you can hide or display data.
  • The ability for users to interactively change the column on which data in the report is sorted.

For more information about Visual Studio Report Designer, see Report Designer (Visual Studio).

For more information about SQL Server Report Builder, see Report Design View (Report Builder).

See Also