ⓘ ActiveReports


ⓘ ActiveReports

ActiveReports is a.NET reporting tool used by developers of.NET Core, MVC, JavaScript, WinForms, and ASP.NET applications. It was originally developed by Data Dynamics, which was then acquired by GrapeCity. ActiveReports is a set of components and tools that facilitates the production of reports to display data in documents and web-based formats. It is written in managed C# code and allows Visual Studio programmers to leverage their knowledge of C# or Visual Basic.NET when programming with ActiveReports.

Among the components included with ActiveReports are exports to file formats such as PDF, Excel, RTF, and Word. The main components are a Visual Studio integrated report designer, and an API that developers use to create customized reports from a variety of data sources.

ActiveReports Standard Edition includes a Visual Query Designer, a customizable Windows Viewer control, and a WPF Viewer control. The integrated report designer handles three types of reports:

  • Section Reports with banded sections like the original ActiveReports reminiscent of Microsoft Access reports
  • RDL Reports with a continuous page layout like the original Data Dynamics Reports uses Report Definition Language
  • Page Reports with a fixed layout for forms

The Professional Edition of ActiveReports includes the Standard Edition tools plus End-User Report Designer controls for desktop and web. Developers can host these report designers in their own Microsoft Windows and web applications to let end users create and modify reports. It also includes a client side JavaScript viewer, server-side ASP.NET viewer, ASP.NET HTTP Handlers that export reports to HTML or PDF format without custom code and advanced PDF encryption.


1.1. Features Features new to version 13

  • We have a new AutoMergeMode property for detail cells in Table and Tablix data region.
  • You can embed the new Web Designer into any web application to deliver ad hoc reporting.
  • Improved RichTextBox control now supports more tags and attributes.
  • ActiveReports now provides new generation viewer which is built on JavaScript library.
  • Convert Section reports to Page reports, in addition to RDL reports.
  • FormattedText control now supports more tags and attributes and displays the formatting of the html text directly in the Designer
  • New Chart control that provides ease of data visualization through encodings
  • Extending your Visual Studio theme to the ActiveReports VS integrated Designer

1.2. Features Features new to version 12

  • With Dataset Joins in Page and RDL reports, you can use nested data regions bound to different datasets
  • The ActiveReports installer offers option to specify the installation path and option to integrate ActiveReports in specific Visual Studio IDE versions.
  • Support for some more industry-standard barcodes such as Code_11, SSCC-18, Telepen, and Maxicode
  • Export your Page and RDL reports to CSV and JSON file formats
  • New RepeatToFill Property for Tablix Page report
  • Shrink the text in TextBox and Label controls to fit within the width of the control by using MinCondenseRate property
  • We have enhanced the ActiveReports Import tool by adding a new RPX import feature, allowing you to convert your section reports to RDL reports.

1.3. Features Features new to version 11

  • Added PDF printing pre-sets and optimized the PDF export for shorter export times and smaller output files.
  • Added galley mode to the HTML5 viewer so that wide and long reports can be viewed as a single, scrollable sheet.
  • Added the Micro QR Code symbology to the barcode control.
  • Added an Excel import wizard that can also be an intermediary for importing layouts from other reporting tools.
  • Added new properties to the API: PageReportDesignerActions End User Designer, OverwriteOutputFile rendering extensions, and OptimizeStatic PDF.
  • Optimized rendering for two times faster first page load times, 1.5 times faster PDF export file generation and 60% smaller peak memory footprint.
  • Added composite charts to RDL and Page reports to enable merging of line, bar, and area plots on the same chart with multiple Y axes.
  • Improved the XML data provider with an XML Query Designer with a tree view of the data.
  • Added JSON data provider that allows reports to consume data from JSON files, web services and REST API.
  • Added CSV data provider that allows reports to consume data from comma separated, tab separated, and other plain text files.


1.4. Features Features new to version 10

  • Created a new lighter layout engine for faster rendering and fewer formatting and layout challenges.
  • Added the Word rendering extension for DOCX format exports.
  • Added style sheets for RDL and Page reports.
  • Replaced the Matrix with the new Tablix data region to allow users to create stepped matrices, merge cells vertically, and use multiple adjacent row and column groupings.
  • Improved integration between ActiveReports Server and the developer version of ActiveReports so that developers can execute reports on the server and use shared data sets.

1.5. Features Features new to version 9

  • Added Layers, groups of controls that you can lock or unlock, add or remove, show or hide for complex layouts.
  • Added support for mouse-controlled resize handlers for overflow areas in Page Reports.
  • Improved Excel Rendering Engine for better exporting performance and precise layout accuracy.
  • Added independent rounded corners for Shape and CrossSectionBox controls in Section Reports.
  • Added the Visual Query Designer, a graphical interface that allows users to interactively build queries and view the results.
  • Added the Table of Contents control to display an organized hierarchy of report headings and labels along with their page numbers in the body of a report.
  • Improved reporting engine for better performance and smaller memory footprints.

1.6. Features Features new to version 8

  • Added the Maps report item for spatial and analytical geographical representation of data with support for views, projections, vector layers, and Virtual Earth tile layers from the Microsoft Bing service.
  • Updated reporting engine optimized for speed.
  • Added touch support for the Windows and WPF Viewer.
  • Expanded barcode support for GS1 Composite symbology including RSS14Stacked and RSSLimited barcode styles, and added MicroPDF417 options to control compaction and segments.
  • Added the HTML5 viewer with touch and gesture support.
  • Added ActiveReports Server as an optional add-on that supports multi-tenant reporting, security extensibility, data caching, and report optimization features.

1.7. Features Features new to version 7, service pack 1

  • Added a WPF Report Viewer.
  • Added a PDF/A export option for report archiving.

1.8. Features Features new to version 7

  • Persistent Licensing makes the installed system remain licensed until the license is manually deactivated, making upgrade to maintenance releases easier.
  • Support for Visual Studio 2012
  • Added Page-Based Reports with advanced data regions including charts, tables, and crosstabs that can be mixed within the same report section, eliminating the need to use subreports in most instances.
  • Table Control
  • Matrix Control
  • Advanced Printing Support: Scale pages, add page watermarks, print multiple report pages on a single sheet N-up.

1.9. Features Features new to version 6

Latest Service Releases

  • Support for.NET Framework 4.0 Client profile
  • Utility to convert from Crystal Reports 2005 and 2008 to ActiveReports
  • Windows Azure reporting in partial trust and full trust modes
  • Microsoft Silverlight Report Viewer
  • Support for Visual Studio 2010
  • ASP.NET medium trust support

Standard Edition

  • Granular control over text boxes and labels
  • Quality and performance improvements
  • Designer snap lines
  • 64 bit support
  • External style sheets
  • New Reduced Space Symbology RSS barcode styles
  • Cross-section box and line controls that span report sections

1.10. Features Features new to version 3

ActiveReports Designer

  • Component tray for design-time work with.NET data providers
  • Report Explorer support for parameters and calculated fields
  • Design-time unbound fields
  • Design-time support for custom parameters
  • Design-time preview tab

Windows Forms Viewer

  • Users can add annotations
  • Linked reports open in tabbed pages
  • Web links open within the viewer

Reporting Engine

  • Pyramid
  • Gantt
  • Renko
  • Chart control supports seven new chart types
  • Point and figure
  • Funnel
  • Three line break
  • Kagi
  • ReportInfo control for page N of M or report run dates

2. Professional Edition

Includes all of the Standard Edition features, and adds the following.

End-User Report Designer

  • Provides easy access for saving and loading report layouts
  • Allows developers to host the designer in Windows Forms applications
  • Allows developers to customize the designer to the needs of end users
  • Provides end-user report editing capabilities
  • Allows developers to monitor and control the end users design environment


  • Supports end user interactivity
  • Allows quick viewing of ActiveReports on the web
  • Provides text search capability with matches returned including page numbers
  • WebViewer control with RawHTML, HTML, and PDF viewer types can be used on ASP.NET pages
  • Provides printing and exporting capabilities

JavaScript Viewer

  • Adapts different display sizes
  • Responsive web design
  • Less dependency on other libraries jquery, etc.
  • Works on modern web application frameworks - ASP.NET MVC, ASP.NET Core MVC, HTML5, and major JavaScript Frameworks such as Angular and Vue.js

Web Designer Component

  • Familiar layout and design
  • Responsive to mobile and desktop layouts
  • Supports modern browsers and frameworks
  • Can be hosted in web applications to enable self-service reporting


3. Supported document formats

  • Microsoft Excel Workbook *.xls;
  • Adobe Portable Document Format *.pdf;
  • Image formats.
  • Plain Text *.txt;
  • HTML Web Page *.html;
  • MHTML Single-File Web Page *.mht;
  • Rich Text Format *.rtf;
  • Comma-Separated Values *.csv;

4. Included report items

  • Chart
  • SubReport
  • Line
  • Matrix
  • Shape
  • Container
  • Text Box
  • Check Box
  • Picture
  • Report Information
  • Bar Code
  • Bullet
  • Cross Section Box
  • Table
  • Page Break
  • OLE Object
  • Label
  • Sparkline
  • 3rd party controls
  • Map
  • Table of Contents
  • Banded List
  • Cross Section Line
  • Calendar
  • Rich Text Box
  • Overflow Placeholder
  • InputField
  • Formatted Text

5. Known Issues

In the past, ActiveReports was known to be unable to handle large reports. This issue was ongoing across years and versions. Since that time, development efforts have focused on improving large report handling in every release.

ActiveReports can be used in many ways, so each project can have a number of reasons for consuming memory. In newer versions, CacheToDisk and CacheToDiskLocation properties were added for PDF exports. Some other considerations that may cause too much memory use in section reports include:

  • Report and Document object instances not released from memory
  • Large or repeated images on every page
  • Subreports in repeating sections instantiated in the wrong event so that many new instances are created instead of one
  • Summaries in header sections that delay rendering