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Posted 14 Aug 2006


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A New .NET Reporting Way

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4.66/5 (49 votes)
29 Sep 2007CPOL3 min read
Looking for a free and simple way to design and add reports to your .NET application? Take a look at MyNeoReport library.
Sample Image - myneoreport_designer.jpg


About three years ago, I started developing in .NET using a famous free editor and I needed to add some reports to my applications. Since I like to see what I'm going to print, just not to waste half a forest in paper only to adjust that text font, I started developing a little reporting library and a designer that uses it. By the way, my initial work was included into that famous free .NET editor, but I abandoned that project because I saw that it was badly designed (this is the doom of most first drafts), so it became a brand new project: MyNeoReport engine and designer, that let me design reports in a WYSIWYG way and, if I want, I now have total control on each the report objects from my application.


Today, if you are an hobbyist you have also some Microsoft® free solutions to develop your application, but these entry level IDEs still don't have built-in reporting tools (and I also dislike the one included in professional ones). There isn't a free (good and working) solution out there that lets you manage printing in an easy way in managed code, so I decided to begin MyNeoReport and now, after three years, it is quite mature (ok, there are no hyper-advanced features, but boy... it is simple to use, well-organized and free).

Using the Code

In this article, I'll describe some code that you can use for managing the report content in your application. Note that you can access the report at runtime or you can define the report in the designer. Note that the full designer covers almost all the capabilities of the engine, and if you want, you can write your own designer (maybe better than mine).

The preview of the sample report is shown below:


The engine is composed of two libraries:

  1. NeoDataType.MyNeoReport.dll - The core of all
  2. NeoDataType.LiveCodeEngine.dll - The engine for scripting feature

These libraries must be distributed with your application, but you need to reference only NeoDataType.MyNeoReport.dll, since the other is just for support. The main namespace you need to include is NeoDataType.MyNeoReport:

// c#
using NeoDataType.MyNeoReport;

Imports NeoDataType.MyNeoReport

Here you can find all the report entity classes. The most important ones are:

  1. Report, of course, the most important
  2. Page, that defines the page characteristics
  3. Section, that identifies a section (report and page headers and footers, details and groups)
  4. Label, Image, Shape, DataLabel, Dataimage, that are the base items that you can print

Report identifies the report document, it allows you to load and save a report to disk, it gives you some information such as how many pages the report will print, but, more important, it exposes the Page property.

Page describes the page size, orientation, measure unit, and, of course, the sections to be printed.

Section is a horizontal band that contains the items to be printed. Default sections are ReportHeader, PageHeader, Details, PageFooter, ReporFooter, but MyNeoReport also supports grouping sections.

In summary, the structure of a report is as follows:

 +- Page
     +- Sections

Create a New Report and Add Items

// c#
private void CreateANewReportSample()
    // Create a new report
    Report report = new Report();
    // Now you can set Page properties
    Page page = report.Page;
    // Set the page width to 5x8 inches
    page.Units = ScaleMode.Inches;
    page.Width = 5;
    page.Height = 8;
    // Add some items to print
    // - add a label that indicates the page number
    Label label = page.ReportHeader.AddLabel();
    // This label uses special functions as described here:
    label.Text = "Page {@PageNumber} of {@PageCount}";

    // - add an ellipse shape rotated by 20 degrees
    // This is another way to create and add an item
    Shape shape = new Shape();
    shape.ShapeType = ShapeType.Ellipse;
    shape.Angle = 20;
    // If you use the PageControl to add designer capability
    // to your application, you need to assign the Page object
    // to it

Define the Details Data Source

// c#
private void SetDetailsDataSource()
    // Default datasource is OleDbDataSource that lets you connect to OleDb providers.
    // You can choose to pass data to a datasource changing it to a TableDataSource
    // with section.ChangeDatasourceType(DataSourceType.UseDataTable)
    OleDbDataSource dataSource = (OleDbDataSource)report.Page.Details.DataSource;
    dataSource.ConnectionString = myConnectionString;
    // Add a label and a data label bounded to the data
    // to the details section
    // - add a label that indicate the record number
    Label label = page.ReportHeader.AddLabel();
    // This label uses special functions as described here:
    label.Text = "Product {@RecordNumber} of {@RecordCount}";

    // - add a data label that indicates product name
    DataLabel datalabel = page.Details.AddDataLabel();
    // Move the data label to the right
    datalabel.X = label.X + label.Width;
    datalabel.DataField = "ProductName";
    // - add a data label that indicates product price
    datalabel2 = page.Details.AddDataLabel();
    // Move the data label to the right
    datalabel2.X = datalabel.X + datalabel.Width;
    datalabel2.DataField = "UnitPrice";
    // Set the text in case the data is NULL
    datalabel2.NullText = "Price undefined";
    // Set the format of the data, according to MSDN 
    // for the format strings
    datalabel2.Format = "#,###.00";
    // You can call the standard connection string wizard
    // using dataSource.ShowConnectionStringWizard();


Show the Preview and Print

// c#
private void ShowThePreview()
    // Ok, now that you set all the report properties and items
    // you can preview and print it!
    // First of all, you need to choose the destination printer.
    // This is needed also for the preview, so it can be appropriate.

    // Show the preview in a separate window.
    // Note that you can use the NeoDataType.MyNeoReport.PreviewControl
    // if you want a preview in your form.
    // You can also print the report directly with
    // report.Print();

Points of Interest

I like MyNeoReport because its classes let you create a report (data bounded or not) without a designer, but just via your code because the classes give you total control over each aspect of the report and its components.

If you think that the built in items (Label, Image, Shape, DataLabel, DataImage) are too few, you must know that MyNe<code>oReport is extensible: you can write your own item by just inheriting from NeoDataType.MyNeoReport.ItemBase. You can look at the Designer code that is supplied to check all the abilities of the Report classes.

This is just a little introduction to the power of MyNeoReport library. For more information, documentation, support and newer releases, you can visit the site that supports me.


The MyNeoReport 1.4 is a big update, with some new enhancements, optimizations and bug fixes. This is described in the file upgradeinfo.txt contained in the download package.


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


About the Author

Fabio Zanetta
Web Developer
Italy Italy
No Biography provided

Comments and Discussions

Questionsome example for before print code in objects? Pin
wlnaim29-May-08 20:13
Memberwlnaim29-May-08 20:13 
GeneralCount Function Pin
pablleaf9-May-08 4:19
Memberpablleaf9-May-08 4:19 
Generaldatasources Pin
Roberto_Rwk5-Apr-08 21:50
MemberRoberto_Rwk5-Apr-08 21:50 
QuestionHow can I switch the scriptTextbox from C# to VB? [modified] Pin
MBCDC26-Mar-08 11:00
MemberMBCDC26-Mar-08 11:00 
GeneralRe: How can I switch the scriptTextbox from C# to VB? Pin
kithe21-Apr-08 20:52
Memberkithe21-Apr-08 20:52 
QuestionHow can I print all data? Pin
Fruhstuck25-Mar-08 15:39
MemberFruhstuck25-Mar-08 15:39 
GeneralNQuery Pin
majid soorani10-Nov-07 3:09
Membermajid soorani10-Nov-07 3:09 
GeneralBeforePrintCode skip for the last record. Pin
MOISJWang6-Nov-07 11:03
MemberMOISJWang6-Nov-07 11:03 
Hi Fabio,

I really like your tool, compared to EasiReport (another free report writer from CodeProject). It is more intutive and manageable from a developer standpoint. I almost completed testing the tool for my application except I could not figure out the glitch in the tool. It seems to me that the BeforePrintCode for Details section will not be executed for the last record in the dataset. I have debugging this to prove this is the case. If I don't use BeforePrintCode to format my data, it works fine. All data prints correctly, including the last record. However, if I am doing the formatting in BeforePrintCode, the BeforePrintCode did not execute for the last record. What I am trying to do here is to format a data value from "True"/"False" to "Yes"/"No", which is more meaningful to end users. Can you help me for this. I am hanning to this last issue for moving on to design other reports.

By the way, I got my 5.


Software design/development are state of the arts and fun. Don't lose your dreams and visions.

GeneralRe: BeforePrintCode skip for the last record. Pin
ilqlo7-Feb-11 22:51
Memberilqlo7-Feb-11 22:51 
GeneralShowPreview as virtual method Pin
dorwin1-Oct-07 7:39
Memberdorwin1-Oct-07 7:39 
GeneralRightToLeft Have problem Pin
majid soorani29-Sep-07 23:44
Membermajid soorani29-Sep-07 23:44 
GeneralExport To Word Needed Pin
majid soorani26-Sep-07 3:29
Membermajid soorani26-Sep-07 3:29 
GeneralRe: Export To Word Needed Pin
Fabio Zanetta26-Sep-07 4:28
MemberFabio Zanetta26-Sep-07 4:28 
GeneralAdd Export to (*.pdf) ,.. Pin
majid soorani26-Sep-07 16:20
Membermajid soorani26-Sep-07 16:20 
GeneralRe: Add Export to (*.pdf) ,.. Pin
Fabio Zanetta29-Sep-07 8:32
MemberFabio Zanetta29-Sep-07 8:32 
Generalparameter [modified] Pin
majid soorani21-Sep-07 23:59
Membermajid soorani21-Sep-07 23:59 
GeneralRe: parameter Pin
Fabio Zanetta22-Sep-07 1:34
MemberFabio Zanetta22-Sep-07 1:34 
GeneralRe: parameter Pin
majid soorani22-Sep-07 1:37
Membermajid soorani22-Sep-07 1:37 
GeneralRe: parameter Pin
Fabio Zanetta22-Sep-07 2:47
MemberFabio Zanetta22-Sep-07 2:47 
GeneralRe: parameter Pin
majid soorani29-Sep-07 23:18
Membermajid soorani29-Sep-07 23:18 
Generalsample need for parameter Pin
majid soorani29-Sep-07 23:29
Membermajid soorani29-Sep-07 23:29 
GeneralRe: parameter Pin
Fabio Zanetta30-Sep-07 0:24
MemberFabio Zanetta30-Sep-07 0:24 
GeneralRe: parameter Pin
majid soorani30-Sep-07 0:41
Membermajid soorani30-Sep-07 0:41 
GeneralNeed Zoom Pin
majid soorani18-Sep-07 2:36
Membermajid soorani18-Sep-07 2:36 framework 2.0? Pin
fiShBoN313-Sep-07 6:23
MemberfiShBoN313-Sep-07 6:23 

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