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Posted 20 Oct 2005


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One to Many Reports with VS.NET 2005 (2.0) Report Designer

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4.69/5 (58 votes)
9 May 2006CPOL
A tutorial on how to create a hierarchical (1:m) RDLC report in Visual Studio .NET 2005 (local mode).


One of the most common types of reports is a master detail report. The following tutorial provides the most straightforward method for creating this type of a report in Visual Studio 2005. We will be using the Access NorthWind database as our data source. If you do not have the NorthWind database, you can download it here.

Note: SQL Server 2005 Reporting Services (.rdl) uses a similar method for creating master detail groupings.

1. Add a new report to the project

  • Right click the project in Solution Explorer.
  • Select Add/New Item.

    Image 1

  • Select Report:

    Image 2

  • Name the report, and click Add.

2. Create the DataSource and TableAdapter for the report

  • Open the Data Sources window.

    Image 3

  • Click the Add New Data Source button (top left).
  • Select Database.
  • Select New Connection...
  • Change the DataSource to Microsoft Access Database File.
  • Select the NorthWind database: C:\Program Files\Microsoft Office\Office\Samples\Northwind.mdb.
  • Test Connection, and click OK when successful.
  • Click Next.
  • Click Next ("Save the connection string to the application configuration file").
  • Choose Views, then check the "Sales by Category" view. Note: When doing this for real, you will need to create a flat view in your data source that provides data with the top level information repeated on each line. This sample view has been created in this manner.


    SELECT * FROM Main JOIN Detail ON Main.MainID = Detail.MainID
    "Main Info, Detail1"
    "Main Info, Detail2"
    "Main Info, Detail3"
  • Click Finish. The NorthWindDataSet should now appear in your Data Sources window.

    Image 4

There are three main ways to create a hierarchical report using grouping. This example will use the "Master List Detail Table" method. The other two methods are "Master List Detail List" and "Single Table Master Detail". An alternate method to using groups is to use sub-reports.

3. Add the master list

  • Open your Toolbox.
  • In the Report Items section, drag a list onto your report. (This will be the master list.)

    Image 5

  • Open the Data Sources Window.
  • Drag the CategoryID and CategoryName fields into the list (Master section).
  • Right click the list, and select Properties.
  • Click "Edit Details Group".
  • In the "Group on" section, select the master record's ID field, CategoryID in this case.
  • Optional: In the document map label field, select the master record's description field, CategoryName in this case. This will provide a clickable tree in the report viewer to switch between master records.
  • Optional: Click page break at the end. This will put page breaks between each master record.

    Image 6

4. Add the detail table

  • Drag a table from the Report Items toolbox section into your master list.

    Image 7

  • Right-click the top left corner of the table, and select Properties.
  • Set the DataSet name to the NorthwindDataSet_Sales_by_Category table. Some clarification: the report designer refers to a result set as a "DataSet". This is not the same as a .NET Framework "DataSet". The report designer's "DataSet" more closely relates to a .NET DataTable.
  • Select the Groups tab.
  • Click Details Grouping... Note: In a single table master detail report, you would instead click "Add...".
  • Group on each detail column. In this case: ProductName and ProductSales.

    Image 8

  • Click OK.
  • Click OK.
  • Drop the ProductName field into the Detail (middle) row of the first column in the table.
  • Drop the ProductSales field into the Detail (middle) row of the second column in the table.

    Image 9

  • Optional: Resize the parent list textboxes, bold the table's column headers, and add another textbox label for the ID.
  • Optional: Drag the Product Sales column from the Data Sources into the Detail table's Product Sales Footer row.

    Note: VS automatically inserts the Sum aggregate function which will provide a subtotal of the Products within the Parent category.

  • Optional: Prepend some descriptive text ("Total: " in this case) into the summary Footer record, and format the Detail and Footer values as currency.
    Detail:  = FormatCurrency(Fields!ProductSales.Value)
    Footer:  = "Total: " & FormatCurrency(Sum(Fields!ProductSales.Value))

    Image 10

5. Create the report form

  • Open Form1 from Solution Explorer.
  • Drop a ReportViewer onto the form (from the data section of the Toolbox). A dialog should appear. If this dialog disappears, use the triangle button on the top right border of the ReportViewer to see it again.
  • Select the report from the Choose Report combo.
  • Click Dock in the parent container to fill it to the form. Note: This adds the DataSet, TableAdapter, data source, and adapter code to fill the adapter.

    Image 11

Run the project.

Image 12

With optional formatting:

Image 13


1. Filter the results (WHERE clause)

  • Right-click the DataSet in Solution Explorer and select View Designer.

    Image 14

  • Right-click the TableAdapter section of the DataTable, and select Configure....

    Image 15

  • Modify the SQL statement to include the WHERE clause. For SQL Server, you would use a named parameter @CategoryId. OLEDB adapters require ? parameters.

    Image 16

  • Click Finish.
  • Add the appropriate controls for your form to provide the parameter value.
  • Move the code to fill the adapter, and refresh the report from the Form Load event to the event that will load the report. For example: "Go" button Click event.
  • Provide the required parameter in the adapter's Fill method.

    Image 17


Please comment on anything that needs further clarification, or with any questions on implementing this. Also, please provide suggestions before rating the article less than a 5.


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


About the Author

Robert R Freeman
Chief Technology Officer Kiefer Consulting
United States United States
Sacramento, CA based Senior .Net and SharePoint Solution Architect for Kiefer Consulting
B.S. in Mathematics from UCDavis
.NET Wizard - Experts-Exchange
MCSD, MCTS: MOSS 2007 Config

Some of the bigger questions:
1. What is the meaning of my life?
To satisfy the purpose of your creator(s). (Meaning must derive from purpose. Those who create you, give you meaning.)

2. Who is my creator?
Ultimately, God is your creator. God designed and created the universe and everything in it. You and others in your life can also be a part of your creation, overriding or furthering God's purpose.

3. What is God's purpose for me?
To love and be loved by your creator and others and to enjoy the life you've been given.
This can be distinguished two ways.
a. Use your built in common sense (morality/feelings)
b. Use the creator's handbook. Fortunately our creator did not abandon us. He is with us now and even lived and died as one of us. Check out his biography in "The Bible"

Note on free-will vs. predetermination:
God exists outside the constraints of time. He exists at every point in time simultaneously and knew of your birth and every decision you will/have made. But this does not mean God predetermined any of it. Pre and post are time related concepts that do not apply to God. God always has been and always will be. He determines our universe to exist, gives it the parameters of natural law, and allows us to make our own way through it (free-will). Note that these are all present tense, it would be more appropriate to use past, present, and future tense combined. God's purpose is for us to love him and one another. But a prerequisite of love is the free-will to love. So even though God wants us to love him/others, he can not ensure it. He can, however, help us if we allow him to. A miracle is God modifying natural parameters in response to human will.

Comments and Discussions

GeneralMy vote of 5 Pin
sanjeev.198610-Jul-12 3:04
Membersanjeev.198610-Jul-12 3:04 
GeneralMy vote of 1 Pin
jaylien18-Jan-10 18:18
Memberjaylien18-Jan-10 18:18 
QuestionDate Format in RDLC report Pin
vanillaET25-Aug-09 2:27
MembervanillaET25-Aug-09 2:27 
QuestionRDLC Runtime Creatinon and Grouping Pin
jouharmm29-Oct-08 21:00
Memberjouharmm29-Oct-08 21:00 
QuestionHow to pass data at run time to RDLC report Pin
Yousufkhan12-Sep-08 21:51
MemberYousufkhan12-Sep-08 21:51 
QuestionHow to filter out the report data using runtime selected date? Pin
Franklin Cheung1-Sep-08 19:00
MemberFranklin Cheung1-Sep-08 19:00 
GeneralDon't want the #Error text Pin
anderslundsgard30-Sep-07 22:41
Memberanderslundsgard30-Sep-07 22:41 
QuestionMaster-Detail report with 2nd detail table? Pin
MG_NYC12-Sep-07 5:01
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Generaltoolbar buttons Pin
donyang200523-Aug-07 12:39
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Generalmultiple hirerachiesreport Pin
hyperspace1231-Aug-07 12:57
Memberhyperspace1231-Aug-07 12:57 
GeneralPrint report without viewer Pin
MG_NYC9-Jul-07 11:56
MemberMG_NYC9-Jul-07 11:56 
AnswerRe: Print report without viewer Pin
Robert R Freeman9-Jul-07 13:33
MemberRobert R Freeman9-Jul-07 13:33 
QuestionPrint Report with data from sql server without preview Pin
mjohl27-Jun-07 4:30
Membermjohl27-Jun-07 4:30 
AnswerRe: ANSWER FOUND -> Print Report with data from sql server without preview Pin
mjohl1-Jul-07 20:49
Membermjohl1-Jul-07 20:49 
Newsmastering in 2005 download Pin
jay_dubal19-Jun-07 1:18
Memberjay_dubal19-Jun-07 1:18 
QuestionCrash when adding fields to report Pin
climbsolo28-May-07 5:22
Memberclimbsolo28-May-07 5:22 
QuestionDeploying ssrs 2005 .rdlc reports with website as precompiled Pin
babin_sudipto16-May-07 10:48
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QuestionPDF Export from report viewer Pin
magicalmanish10-May-07 20:22
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Generalone-to-one relationship for data source Pin
vfuwhite8-Feb-07 14:57
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AnswerRe: one-to-one relationship for data source Pin
Robert R Freeman10-Feb-07 19:45
MemberRobert R Freeman10-Feb-07 19:45 
GeneralRe: one-to-one relationship for data source Pin
vfuwhite15-Feb-07 11:55
Membervfuwhite15-Feb-07 11:55 
GeneralPage Number [modified] Pin
Mark Henke12-Jan-07 11:40
MemberMark Henke12-Jan-07 11:40 
GeneralOne to Many Reports using Class Objects Pin
larry hoover11-Jan-07 15:14
Memberlarry hoover11-Jan-07 15:14 
QuestionHOw to Write Custom Code in RDLC , Pin
soolmaz325-Oct-06 13:07
Membersoolmaz325-Oct-06 13:07 
QuestionHow to create a rdlc file at runtime and provide it data source Pin
priyasheth@mechsoftgroup.com30-Jul-06 20:11
Memberpriyasheth@mechsoftgroup.com30-Jul-06 20:11 

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