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Create Your First RDL Report
Create Your First RDL Report

Create Your First RDL Report

Bold Reports is an end to end solution for creating, viewing, managing, exporting, sharing, and scheduling reports with flexible permissions. You can access reports from any device. Create, view pixel-perfect paginated reports that help you make the bolder business decisions.

In this blog, we are going to walk through creating a simple sales report using Bold Reports On-Premise’s demo website. We’ll bind data to a table report item and preview the report with a couple of mouse clicks.

Let’s create a new report using Bold Report Designer. Refer to the documentation for how to launch the designer.

Bold Reports On-Premise report designer
Bold Reports On-Premise Report Designer

Connect Data

Data is artifact information that can be assigned to report items. A data source contains database authentication configurations. A dataset contains the queries and collection of fields that represent data. Refer to the documentation to learn more about data.

Create a data source

We are using the Northwind data source to fetch and display Sales order details.

  • Click the Data icon from the configuration panel to launch the data pane.

    Report designer data pane
    Report Designer data pane
  • In the data pane, click the NEW DATA to start creating new data source.

    Data pane with highlighted new data button
    Data pane with highlighted NEW DATA button
  • We have plenty of data sources from which to choose. We are going with the SQL Server connection type.

    Data source selection
    Data source selection
  • Once you’ve navigated to the new data source connection, specify the required fields and click Connect to navigate to the Query designer.
Data source connection panel
Creating a new data source connection

Create a data set

  • The query designer panel is launched once we successfully connect with the SQL Server data source. The query designer contains a schema area, query designer surface, toolbar, and preview area.

    Bold Reports Query designer
    Bold Reports query designer
  • The schema area contains tables. we can drag tables onto the query designer surface to visualize the table schema. By clicking the run icon in the toolbar, we can execute the query, which generates a preview in the preview area.
  • We can then edit the name of the data set in the Name field, which is available in toolbar pane.

    Assign a name for the dataset
    Assign a name for the data set
  • Drag the Orders table onto the query designer surface.

    Drag and drop table into query designer surface
    Drag the table onto the query designer surface
  • Click the run icon from the toolbar to generate a preview of record in the preview area and click Finish to save the action.
Preview record in the data preview
Preview record in the data preview
  • We can find the saved data set in the data panel. Everything about the data is ready for us to design a report around it.

    Dataset expanded
    Data set in the expanded state

Add a table to the design surface

  • Now we are going to design our report. The designer view contains an item panel and design surface. The item panel contains collections of report items that can be used in a report and the design surface is where you design the report.

    Report designer item panel and design surface
    Report Designer item panel and design surface
  • Drag and drop the Table report item from the item panel under the Data Region category onto the design surface. Now, the table renders with default rows and columns. We need a few more columns to display the records in the table.
  • To insert more columns, right-click into the cell and select Insert Column to insert a new column.

    Adding more columns into the table item
    Adding more columns to the table item
  • To add heading for each column, click the cell and enter the text in the Content section of the Properties pane.

    Assigning heading for the column
    Assigning a heading to a column
  • After assigning a heading for every column, the table will look like the following.

    Table with the column heading
    Table with column headings
  • For customization, we are going to change the background color and font color of the heading. Select the row. In the properties pane under Basic Settings and Appearance, we can see color picker. Select the color you need. For more customizations refer to the documentation table.

    Customized table item
    Customized table item

Assign Data

  • You can assign data by clicking on the assign data icon inside the cell, then selecting the data you need to assign.

    Assigning data into the cell
    Assigning data to the cell

Add header text to a report

  • In addition, we are going to add the header to the report. Right-click on the design surface and select Add Header to add a new header.

    Add header in the design area
    Add header to the design area
  • To add the text to the header, drag the Text report item to the header of the design surface and assign text. We can change the text size by dragging the control points to increase or decrease the text size.

    Add text item to the header area
    Add text item to the header area
  • For customizing the text, we have various properties to use. Refer to the documentation text to learn more about customization. Here we have changed the font and background color in the Basic settings and Appearance sections in the Properties pane.
Textbox item customization
Customized text item


  • we can preview the report by toggling from design to preview. We can also export the report in PDF, Excel, Word, HTML, PowerPoint, XML and CSV formats. For more options kindly refer to this documentation on the report viewer.
Preview of report
Report preview


  • Now, we are going to publish our report. We can do this as public or private. A public report allows access to anonymous users, while private reports provide access only to registered users.
Highlighted publish button
Highlighted publish button
  • once the Publish button is clicked, a pop-up window opens. Fill the fields: category, name, and description. Click Publish to publish the report.
Publish action popup window
Publish action pop-up window
  • We can find the published report on the landing page.
Published report in the landing page
A published report on the landing page


In this blog, we have learned how to create a simple report and display data in a table report item using Bold Reports. To explore further, I recommend you go through our sample reports and documentation. We have also attached the generated .rdl file for further reference.

If you have any questions, please post them in the comments section below. You can also contact through our contact page or, if you already have an account, you can log in to submit your support question. Feel free to check out the Bold Reports Embedded Edition demos and documentation to explore the available tools and their various customization features.

Bold Reports now comes with a 15-day free trial with no credit card information required. We welcome you to start a free trial and experience Bold Reports for yourself. Give it a try and let us know what you think!

Stay tuned to our official Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Pinterest and Instagram pages for the announcement about the release. Also, we will post a detailed blog post for Bold Reports Cloud to guide you in working with cloud reports application.




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