Click here to Skip to main content
Click here to Skip to main content
Go to top

How to embed Barcodes in your SSRS report

, 27 Jun 2014
Rate this:
Please Sign up or sign in to vote.
How to use barcodelib generated Barcodes in SSRS (consider Barcode fonts don't work in runtime)

Introduction

The following excerpts will show how to embed successfully barcodes in your SSRS reports (similar to Crystal Reports but somewhat different). Using Barcode fonts is nice, however won't work on the reports published on a the SSRS Reports server. Furthermore Barcode Fonts can be quite expensive. Thankfully to , who published an excellent article (http://www.codeproject.com/Articles/20823/Barcode-Image-Generation-Library), the world is a far better place now.

To procede with the below steps, you need to download the binary barcodelib from his article.

Background

So I was struggeling to get it to work using first free Barcode fonts, which failed as mentioned in the intro. You can try and you'll think it works until you publish the report.

Next I attempted to write some custom code generating a Bitmap, using Graphics.DrawString into it using the Barcode font and returning it as Byte[]. Great it worked, BUT the image quality deteriorated so dramatically when exporting the report as PDF, because first of all it being a truetype font ....so the barcode rendered and converted and printed etc. was scannable at times but unfortunately the barcode scanner would strike at times, with the image not being good enough to be readable. So using my own code and a free font wasn't good enough. Plenty of forums and ideas' later I found Brad's article and thought to give it a try for it renders the barcodes directly and is not a font conversion to image.

Using the barcodelib as provided by Brad Barnhill seems to perfectly generate barcodes that actually come out in excellent quality even after printing and highly configurable as well, rotating them, with and without labels, all sorts of barcode format etc.

So how to integrate that custom dll stuff in SSRS? Well, see below.

Using the code

First of all you copy the barcodelib.dll (from Brad Barnhill's article http://www.codeproject.com/Articles/20823/Barcode-Image-Generation-Library)

to "Everywhere". To be more specific (for my example with SSRS 2008 and VS 2008) ->

C:\Program Files\Microsoft SQL Server\MSRS10_50.MSSQLSERVER\Reporting Services\ReportServer\bin\

C:\Program Files (x86)\Microsoft Visual Studio 8\Common7\IDE\PrivateAssemblies

C:\Program Files (x86)\Microsoft Visual Studio 9\Common7\IDE\PrivateAssemblies

Then you add in the Report->Properties references to System.Drawing from the .NET tab and

 

another reference to the barcodelib.dll in the report servers's bin folder using the browse tab.

Then add the Class Name "Barcodelib.Barcode" and Instance Name "bar".

It should now look like this:

in the Code section of the report Properties you add now the following code

 Public Function Convert(Text As String) As Byte()
            Dim b As System.Drawing.Bitmap
         '   Dim bar As New BarcodeLib.Barcode
            bar.Alignment = BarcodeLib.AlignmentPositions.LEFT
            bar.IncludeLabel = False
            bar.RotateFlipType = Drawing.RotateFlipType.RotateNoneFlipNone
            b = bar.Encode(BarcodeLib.TYPE.CODE39Extended, Text, 400, 30)
            Dim bitmapData As Byte() = Nothing
            Using ms As New System.IO.MemoryStream()
                b.Save(ms, System.Drawing.Imaging.ImageFormat.Bmp)
                bitmapData = ms.ToArray()
            End Using
            Return bitmapData
        End Function

Do you recognise the instance "bar" from earlier is being used here?

You may replace the settings as you'd like your Barcode formatted (i.e. enhance the function to take parameters if you like), rotated, type of barcode format etc. Check the earlier in the Introduction mentioned article for the barcodelib's featurette! Can't thank Brad enough!

And adjust the size (in this sample 400x30) maybe to your expectations. Playing around trial and error, have a fun.

The SSRS image properties (see a little further below) want a byte[]. So they shall get one, quickly write the bitmap into a memorystream and take the byte[]. Other methods i.e. using Marshal.Copy may work but would introduce more hustle in the SSRS embedded Code scenario that we are dealing with here.

Now that everything is prepared, we get to the interesting part.

You add an Image to your report to contain the barcode. Go to the Image properties

Set the image source to be "Database", MIME type "Image/bmp" and set the expression for field to the following:

"Code" accesses the namespace of your embedded code where we called barcodelib to generate the Barcode.

You may replace "*Test1234*" with your Barcode Contents, i.e. from datasource

First(Fields!myfield.Value)

The report's preview will generate you a neat barcode, and your deployed/published version of the same on your reports server as well Smile | :) . Too easy, ain't it?

 

voilà - all done Now!

 

Points of Interest

There are a number of things to watch out for.

  • Make your image size big enough or allow auto growth, or set to Fit Proportional. If the barcode gets distorted or clipped it may not render readable for a barcodescanner if half of it is missing
  • Code39Extended seems to require an asterisk to start and end the barcode. That means your text needs to start with * and end with *. The contents of the read barcode will then be whatever is between the * asterisks. That may apply for some other barcode formats as well.
  • Make sure you print your reports with a high resolution so the barcode comes out as it should and not all wash, use color printing as the original barcode image is 24Bit bitmap, and grayscaling may wash it. On my laser printer I use color, one sided and raster printing as options.
  • If you deploy your reports to another remote machine, make sure you deployed the barcodelib to that machine's report servers' bin directory
  • There maybe issues when using VS2012 see http://social.msdn.microsoft.com/Forums/en-US/3d1d536a-8fdd-43e3-9616-d3e46f02ea8b/visual-studio-2012-rdlc-with-external-reference-bug?forum=vsreportcontrols

There are plenty of other very interesting articles on this site on the subject matter of barcodes, have a look!

History

2014-09-09 Added the hint about the VS2012 issue when embedding custom libraries

2014-06-27 Added some more details on the points of interests regarding the printing of the barcodes

License

This article, along with any associated source code and files, is licensed under The Code Project Open License (CPOL)

Share

About the Author

Philipp Katscher
Software Developer (Senior)
Australia Australia
No Biography provided

Comments and Discussions

 
QuestionImage wont display on deployed server PinmemberMember 109905629-Sep-14 7:44 
AnswerRe: Image wont display on deployed server PinprofessionalPhilipp Katscher9-Sep-14 13:40 
GeneralRe: Image wont display on deployed server PinmemberMember 1099056210-Sep-14 4:33 
GeneralRe: Image wont display on deployed server PinmemberMember 1099056210-Sep-14 8:08 
GeneralRe: Image wont display on deployed server PinprofessionalPhilipp Katscher10-Sep-14 14:30 
QuestionError Pinmemberdavedave1235-Sep-14 4:35 
AnswerRe: Error PinprofessionalPhilipp Katscher7-Sep-14 22:04 
GeneralRe: Error Pinmemberdavedave1238-Sep-14 12:23 
GeneralRe: Error PinprofessionalPhilipp Katscher8-Sep-14 19:31 
GeneralRe: Error PinprofessionalPhilipp Katscher8-Sep-14 19:35 
GeneralMy Vote of 5 PinprofessionalMubin M. Shaikh20-Jul-14 21:45 
GeneralMy vote of 5 PinprofessionalMihai MOGA20-Jul-14 4:40 
GeneralMy vote of 5 PinprofessionalMB Seifollahi24-Jun-14 22:14 

General General    News News    Suggestion Suggestion    Question Question    Bug Bug    Answer Answer    Joke Joke    Rant Rant    Admin Admin   

Use Ctrl+Left/Right to switch messages, Ctrl+Up/Down to switch threads, Ctrl+Shift+Left/Right to switch pages.

| Advertise | Privacy | Mobile
Web02 | 2.8.140916.1 | Last Updated 27 Jun 2014
Article Copyright 2014 by Philipp Katscher
Everything else Copyright © CodeProject, 1999-2014
Terms of Service
Layout: fixed | fluid