Saturday, January 28, 2012

SQL Server Reporting Services is Free!

You may not be aware of this great side of SQL Server: free Reporting Services. When I say free, I don’t even mean “comes with the SQL Server that you already paid for, so is sort of free”, I mean “any random person off the street can use it for free, as in beer” I know, the first time I heard it, I was a little skeptical too. Fortunately, it is absolutely true!

SQL Server Express Edition with Advanced Services comes with the ability to create your own reports. There are some limitations of this version; for a full list see this site. A few of the larger limitations are listed here:

  • You can only display data from the SQL Server Express databases on the same server
  • The Reporting Services metadata will be stored in the SQL Server Express database on the same server
  • You can only run on-demand reports, which means no subscriptions

This version is a great way to try out the capabilities of Reporting Services and learn how to develop reports. And on top of that, everything you create can also be deployed to another edition of Reporting Services. You can download the Express version here:

If you’re interested in learning about general reporting or the capabilities of Reporting Services, I highly recommend you check it out!


Thomas LeBlanc said...

Wow, did not know that. Now, I can show my boss something is free i. e. no additinoal cost.


Saggi Neumann said...

This is slightly more complicated but you can also use ReportViewer (which is a free redistributable) and some .net code in order to render SSRS reports without even installing a server.

Anonymous said...

This is really great. I am trying to convince my boss to go with SQL Server as opposed to MS Access. If I develop some cool reports using the FREE version of SQL Server and Reporting Services may be he will reconsider.

Mark Lybarger said...

do you know if this version supports federated links or conections to other remote databases such as db2 or postgres?

TomH said...

Is it possible to share the reports, i.e.; give someone a link to your (Express) SSRS ?
Having some difficulty figuring how to configure for others to see the reports - suggestions or guidance please...? :-)

Jessica M. Moss said...

Hi Mark, SQL Express supports linked servers, so I don't see why it wouldn't work!

Hi TomH, Once you install and configure SSRS with Express, you can share the Report Manager page with users to run reports. It will be something similar to: http://localhost/reports_SQLExpress. This article may provide some additional guidance:

Good luck!

Anonymous said...

Hi Jessica,

Do you know if I can use a newer version of SSRS if I have paid for a previous version of MSSQL, let's say I have paid for MSSQL 2008, but want to use SSRS 2012, can I do this?

Thanks in advance,

Julian Alvarado

TomH said...

Now called SQL Server data Tools, it is still free and if I remember right is actually bundled with the Express w/Advanced Services edition

Jessica M. Moss said...

Hi Julian,

You can absolutely use SSRS 2012 Express with Advanced Services, whether you have purchased SQL 2008 or not. However, you are bound by the license associated with the 2012 version.


You are right in that the development environment for 2012 is called SQL Server Data Tools - Business Intelligence!


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Anonymous said...


Do you know if it is possible to show page total for each group at at the end of a group in SSRS?

Thank you.

Jessica M. Moss said...

Hi Anonymous,

You can add the total for each group, and then break at the end of each group, as described here:


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TomH said...

Hi Jessica - are you going to update the Stairway to SSRS on SQL Server Central? I is a great starting point
Thanks much,