Report Designer in Visual Studio 2008 - Grid Lines?
Can anyone tell me what the story is with the report designer in Visual Studio 2008? (or the SQL Business Intelligence Development Studio)I have a reports project that Ihave upgraded from SSRS 2005 , however the report designer in Studio 2008 appears to be missing grid lines and snap to grid functionality.Ican't see Grid lines in the2008 designer at all! Where have they gone?In Visual Studio 2005 you could turn them on and off , set snap to grid etc through the report properties dialog box however that functionality isn't there in Visual Studio 2008 (I'm using the developer edition)Is this just the version of StudioI'm using or have they been removed? Without grid lines the reports we have are going to be very difficult and fiddly to edit and would probably stop us upgrading.thanks
January 22nd, 2009 8:16pm

Hi there.The layout surface as a whole was reworked for 2008. The new surface does not have a grid you can turn on but does provide could alignment indicators (in relation to other objects on the design surface) when you are dragging objects with the mouse. The new surface also supports great keyboard control. For example Arrow keys will move and object and <CTRL>+<Arrow> will move in small increments. Same with keyboard sizing with <SHIFT>+<Arrow> and <SHIFT>+<CTRL>+<arrow>. We are evaluating how to further improve things so your feedback is appreciated.-Craig (SSRS Team) // This posting is provided "AS IS" with no warranties, and confers no rights
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January 22nd, 2009 9:02pm

Hi,I would like to give some feedback as this auto-alignment is proving very frustrating!I have a report with 27 columns and 7 text boxes of various widths above and resizing by hand is absolutely impossible. Dragging one column results in any of the columns to the right snapping to the start/end point of the text boxes above.The only solution is to manually enter the column width, as the keyboard short cuts doesn't work on table cells.I think this snapping should be removed from table column resizing, or an option to enable/disable it completely should be provided.Lawrence.
February 2nd, 2009 3:16pm

We appreciate your feedback Lawrence and we willinvestigate your concerns for future releases.
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February 2nd, 2009 10:39pm

Hello I would like to agree with Lawrence.Removing the grid from the background and disabling the snap to grid along with other alignment features is a massive retrograde step. It will increase formating time significantly for large reports including many text boxes and tables. I cannot believe that Microsoft think this is a good idea, it reduces SSRS 2008 usability massivley.
October 26th, 2009 7:16pm

I couldn't agree more. This is what happens when programmers create software without understanding a users business requirements. The snap to ruler doesn't even function properly. You set a textbox at 1 inch, you might get 0.9879, or even 1.00234. Extremely anoying when you move a group of objects and your off by a miniscule amount. A create alot of reports for the State, which have strict correspondence guidelines, and what use is a tool that can't even get the standard line spacing correct, not to mention the fact that you can only do rich text formatting on server side reports, and not local reports. I've been twisting my bosses arm to upgrade from 2008 to 2010, but it definately better be more reliable than what I got. I can't honestly justify wasting tax payer dollars on something that is not time efficient.
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April 13th, 2010 1:02am

I've been designing reports for years using a mix of Crystal Reports, Access, and SSRS. When I saw that this had been removed from 2005, I couldn't believe it. Who was the tard of a project manager who thought this was a good move? Show me one comment by any actual user where they suggested, "I think having a grid or snap to grid is useless, let's get rid of it." Seriously... Now, if you wanted to be ingenious and creative, come up with something useful like aligning items inside a container with items outside the container. My reports upchuck in Excel and make a boatload of empty columns when they see items inside a container misaligned with an item outside a container by even 0.001 inches. It's ridiculous.
May 4th, 2010 9:11pm

I agree with all of the above feedback of disappointment. It takes me 3 to 4 times as long to layout a complex design in 2008 versus 2005. Was the grid re-intoduced in 2008 R2 (fingers crossed)?
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May 14th, 2010 2:09am

OH my ... I can't believe that Microsoft did this ... I have upwards of 100 reports designed in the VS 2005 reporting services designer. These reports are not static; changes are made on an annual (at least) basis. When I open these reports in the VS 2008 designer WITHOUT the gridline, they are barely recognizable as the oriting 2005 report. Please say you are going to return the designer to the 2005 format ..!!
May 22nd, 2010 9:09pm

I agree, the change is kinda backwards. I have a report with a ton of textboxes and it is now nearly impossible to get them to line up.
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June 28th, 2010 7:23pm

This seems crazy to me. Vote for a fix to this on MS Connect if you haven't already:
July 9th, 2010 10:55pm

I was just looking for this too - what a mistake to not include this!!I hear and I forget. I see and I remember. I do and I understand.
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July 17th, 2010 12:25am

I agree with all above comments regarding this... so far designing/maintaining reports in SSRS 2008 R2 is frustrating to say the least. You know those funny office YouTube clips of people smashing their PCs etc? Well I am starting to feel like that after spending 1 hour in SSRS 2008 R2... IT IS THAT BAD!!! - no gridlines - Tying to resize a Group Header in a Tablix control and it wont allow me to specify an exact height even though every cell is the same height (different widths). - Clicking on a cell takes you straight to editing the expression... you have to click carefully just to see the properties of that cell. ... and more I don't have time to write down as it is 5pm and I've had enough. Ridiculous by MS.
October 26th, 2010 3:03am

I agree with above. Leave it to Microsoft to make software that is counter productive. They have no clue!
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November 23rd, 2010 9:48am

I also agree with the above. They took a perfectly good grid system for laying out reports, and replaced it with a system that relies on things "snapping" into place, and leads you to have to manually position (either through their arrow/ctrl+arrow system, or manually go input the location you want it). Horrible decision./ Say I have one object that starts at an inch, and is 3 inches tall. If I want a half inch gap between that and the next object, I then have to go through the PITA of having to take the starting point of the first object + object size + the space I want between objects in order to figure out the location. While that is fine for simple numbers, on complex reports it's crazy to make people do that.
December 8th, 2010 4:17pm

I'd like to add a reply to this too. Having upgraded to SSRS 2008 a few weeks ago I feel I am stuck in a mire trying to enhance/upgrade old reports and write new ones. There are a few frustrating changes that are beyond just learning new features which is what I should be doing. Instead of giving the consumers of my reports a better experience with things like the new gauge and map controls I'm spending all my time fighting with the designer just to get the basics sorted. The lack of a grid and snap is so slow to develop with. Why couldn't this have been an option? Why can't I Ctrl Click multiple columns in a table and set all their widths the same? The size parameter becomes unavailable and as soon as I try to drag a seperation bar the selection disappears and I'm only resizing one column. The <<Expr>> in cells. Grrrrrrrrrrrrrrr. I used to be able at a glance spot an expression that needed looking at from the first few characters I could see in the design view. Now I have to right click and then click Expression to see what going on. This hunt and click takes so much longer to work through. Again, this should be an option to expand or contract expression display. What is it with using infinitely subtle shades of grey to show the design space. When we had the grid the dividing lines between Header, Body & Footer were big but clear. Now it's a pale dotted line which looks like rectangle border. Even with the rulers showing it's not much better. There's a very slightly darker line and the numbers change but i still have to rely on slowly moving my cursor until it flips to a double headed arrow to know that I'm in the right place. I know I haven't been using the 2008 IDE for long so I'm not fully "used" to it but I'm sure the changes are detrimental to swift report design. They should at least have been optional to allow report designers time to adjust and use the new tools as and when they wanted to. Microsoft is a very clever company and make some great development tools but I think they still have a massive lack of understanding of how to design a good human interface. SSRS 2005 was a little clunky but it was clear clunky. SSRS 2008 may be better but getting to and seeing the goodness is not easy.
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March 29th, 2011 7:47am

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