Up to this point, we have been viewing reports in the preview format. The preview format works great during report development for checking out your report layout and interactivity. However, when you want to present your report to users who do not have the Report Designer, you need something other than the preview format to do the job.
In place of the preview format, Reporting Services lets you export your report to other rendering formats so it can be presented to a user. These presentation rendering formats retain the layout, fonts, colors, and graphics of the report. The presentation rendering formats are as follows:
MHTML (web archive)
Reporting Services also lets you export your report to two additional formats, which are used primarily for rendering report data into a form that can be used by other computer programs. These data exchange rendering formats contain the data portion of the report along with a minimal amount of formatting. Here are the data exchange rendering formats:
Comma-Separated Values (CSV)
Most of these rendering formats can be generated from the Preview tab in the Report Designer using the Export toolbar button. This enables you to render a report to a file or to a printer and manually distribute it to your users. It also lets you verify what the report will look like when your users choose to receive your report rendered in one of these formats.
In this chapter, we look at each of these rendering formats, which report features they support, and how they can best be used. To demonstrate each rendering format, we use a report project that contains a set of reports with many of the layout and interactivity characteristics discussed in the previous chapters. If you want to “play along at home,” you can download the Chapter09 report project from the website for this book and try exporting the report to each rendering format yourself.