ActiveReports 7 Features and Highlights
See What's New in the ActiveReports 7 Release!
Visual Studio 2013 Ready
Get even more out of Visual Studio 2013 with ActiveReports 8: see increased productivity with less code required and added functionality. ActiveReports 8 offers full support for Visual Studio 2013. While ActiveReports 8 allows you to adopt the latest technologies, it also supports versions 3.5 and higher of the .NET Framework.
Multiple Report Types to Fit Your Reporting Needs
- Fixed Page Layout gives developers a new way of creating reports where layout is the primary focus. Great for creating invoices, prospectus reports, forms, or other highly structured reports.
- Continuous Page Layout makes it easy to create reports using tables, crosstabs, charts, and other data regions with flexible layouts.
- Section Reports follow the tradition of previous ActiveReports versions and are similar to Access reports. Using code-behind or scripts, you can respond to the various events that occur while the report generates to create extremely customized reports that are hard to produce with other products.
Seamless Visual Studio Integration for an Easy Start
When you install ActiveReports, report design templates are added to the Visual Studio installed templates list. You can choose from page report, code-based section report, or XML-based report templates. We also install entire-project templates to get you started with creating a reporting application quickly!
Easy-to-use Report Designer
Easily design great looking reports using the ActiveReports 8 report designer. The Designer tab organizes your design elements in one place:
- The dockable Report Explorer keeps all report controls, fields, parameters, and report settings at your fingertips
- The ActiveReports toolbox allows you to drag and drop controls onto your report and customize them
- The Preview tab lets you see how your reports will look at run time without running the project
Use the Report Designer Control in your Own Apps
The ActiveReports Professional Edition features a royalty-free, fully customizable end-user report designer control for Windows Forms. This allows you to host the report designer in your own Windows Forms applications and allow your end users to create and modify their own reports. You can also combine the Designer and Visual Studio PropertyGrid controls for full reporting functionality. As a starting point for your own application, see the sample project included in the installation.
Localize Reports for Different Cultures
All report types in ActiveReports 8 support localization of reports. Localize the content of your reports in the same way that you do a Windows Forms application. You can also specify that certain controls always use a particular culture for formatting purposes (for example, when displaying US Dollar values from your database while viewing the report in France).
Localize Controls and the Entire UI for Different Cultures
ActiveReports uses standard .NET localization satellite assemblies. Included with the installation is the complete set of resource files needed to localize the controls and the engine so your users see everything in their own language.
Customizable Report Viewer Control for Windows Users
The included Windows Forms Viewer control allows you to offer your end users:
- Selection of report parameter values
- Report zooming and previewing
- Multiple tabs for viewing hyperlinks
- Split-page and multi-page views
- Table of Contents pane
- Thumbnails pane with thumbnails of report pages
- Text searches
Customize the toolbar with extra buttons, and hide features that you don't want to use. To get started, simply add the control to your Visual Studio toolbox and drop it on a form.
Silverlight Viewer for Rich Reporting in Silverlight
The Silverlight Viewer control included in ActiveReports Professional Edition allows developers to display reports within their Silverlight applications. The control supports:
- Report parameters
- Report drill through
- Exporting the report into the various formats supported by the product
Built on the MVVM design model, the viewer control will fit right in with the rest of your applications. Use your own template resources to alter the way the viewer looks, for example, to add or remove toolbar buttons.
Flash Report Viewer Provides Rich Browsing on the Web
The Flash-based report viewer, included in ActiveReports Professional Edition, provides a seamless, interactive report viewing experience and one-touch printing.
* This feature requires Adobe Flash version 10 or higher.
- Choose from pre-defined themes (including Office, Windows XP, Vista, and Windows Classic)
- Enhance the viewer experience by controlling the printing, paging, table of contents, thumbnail views, and other options with the extensive client-side API
- Localize the Flash Viewer with one of several included locales - if your language is not available, you can translate it for us and we'll integrate it into the product
AJAX-based ASP.NET WebViewer
The ASP.NET WebViewer control, included in ActiveReports Professional Edition, provides developers with multiple ways of displaying reports all with the same server-side control. Display reports using a:
- Rich HTML-based viewer that uses AJAX for page requests as well as passing parameter information back to the server.
- Raw-HTML dump that precludes the interactivity options, but is good for just giving the user everything at once.
- PDF-based viewer, gives your users the best printing option available as it avoids issues that come from printing HTML.
- Flash-based viewer.
Support for Windows Azure Reporting
ActiveReports 8 supports reporting within Microsoft Windows Azure cloud services in full trust mode. Although there are some restrictions because of the underlying platform limitations, you have early access to the benefits of using this platform. In addition to PDF, ActiveReports 8 also supports the Excel Export filter in Azure full trust.
ASP.NET Medium Trust Support
ActiveReports 8 supports ASP.NET medium trust environment, with some restrictions. Understanding that many web hosting environments do not grant full trust, we've done our best to improve your ASP.NET reporting experience.
Built-in, Customizable Charts with Advanced Features
The ActiveReports toolbox includes a Chart control that supports the most commonly used 2D and 3D chart types, including XY charts and financial charts.
Report Parameters Enable Dynamic Filtering of Data
Use the ActiveReports Parameters collection to:
- Pass values directly into a textbox or a chart on a report
- Choose what subset of data from your data source to display in a particular instance of a report
- Pass values from a main report into a subreport
Specify report parameter values in code prior to running the report or collect them at run time through any of the various viewer controls. Page reports support rich report parameters that let you prompt the user to select values from a list that can be data bound, or use cascading parameters to let the user narrow down their selection.
Wide Report Layout Flexibility
- Section Reports allow you to use group headers and footers to section off portions of data in your reports. Or, if necessary, you can embed a report in another report using the Subreport control. Once you place the Subreport control on a report, you attach a report object to it in code. You can pass parameters to the subreport from the main report, ensuring that data related to the main report displays in each instance of the subreport.
- Page Reports offer a wide array of layout choices, focused on letting "data regions" do their own layout and design. The new Fixed Page Layout report type offers a true WYSIWYG report design experience. You can also use the Continuous Page Layout model which allows controls to grow and flow as needed.
Export to a Wide Range of Document Formats
ActiveReports 8 includes tools for exporting your reports to popular formats like:
- Adobe PDF with advanced encryption and international font support
- Microsoft Excel
- Rich Text Format (RTF) or Microsoft Word
- Text or XML
- Various image formats (such as PNG, JPG, BMP, and TIFF)
The extensive APIs allow fine control over the exported documents and their properties. You can use the exported documents in both Windows-based and Web-based applications. Provide export options for your users, or have your application create the exports automatically. With a separate DLL for each export format, you are free to use and deploy any combination.
Advanced PDF Reporting Features
By using a single setting, you can prompt users to print a report when the PDF opens. Additionally, the well-known PDF reporting features of ActiveReports 8 just got even better in the Professional Edition. While exporting .NET reports to PDF, you can now digitally sign your reports with a hidden signature or with visible text and graphics. Personalize your signature using 16 attributes. For example:
- Use the Signature to validate the report author
- Use a Certification Level attribute to control user access
- Use the Time Stamp feature to create third-party authorized versions of your documents
These features are fully compatible with Adobe's new security guidelines.
Provide Powerful Printing Capabilities
With ActiveReports, printing your reports is not only easy but it's powerful and fast. At design time and run time, configure duplex printing, print multiple copies, and configure page orientation. The Windows Viewer control also has additional advanced printing options such as page scaling, n-up printing, and watermarks.
Built-in Barcode Control
ActiveReports has excellent integrated barcode functionality, including two new barcode symbologies in the latest version:
- Intelligent Mail barcode (the US Postal Service is replacing the Postnet barcode with IM beginning in 2013)
Several options have also been added to the EAN and UPC symbologies.
Crystal Reports® and Access Report® Conversion Tools
ActiveReports 8 comes with an ActiveReports Import tool that supports the conversion of Microsoft Access and Crystal Reports (versions 2008 and 2010) to ActiveReports. Due to differences between products, the extent to which your reports are converted depends on your specific report layout.
External Style Sheets and Themes for Consistent Style
With ActiveReports, you can set up styles and apply them to various controls within your reports, and then save the styles to an external XML file for use in other reports. Then, if you want to distribute the same reports with a different look, simply change the style sheet instead of changing fonts and colors and sizes on individual controls in each report. Themes can also include images, allowing logos or other ornamental images to be swapped out easily.
Extensive Public Knowledgebase
When you buy ActiveReports and related products, you're getting a market leading product, and the confidence of knowing that for more than a decade, over 50,000 developers have adopted and enriched the product with their experience and skills and have contributed to a global online knowledge base with innumerable links, articles, forum discussions, comparisons, blogs, and emails.
Royalty-free XCOPY Deployment Eliminates Costs and Overhead
With ActiveReports, you can create code-based section reports within Visual Studio and compile them directly into the executable. Additionally, you can use Page reports or XML-based section reports with script that can be distributed without compiling them into the application. You can distribute ActiveReports assemblies using XCOPY deployment or place them in the Windows global assembly cache (GAC). With XCOPY deployment, developers can easily distribute applications without being forced to use complicated installer technologies.
What's New in ActiveReports 7?
In the most significant ActiveReports release ever, ActiveReports 7 brings more controls, customization, and page layouts. Plus, it now includes tables and matrices (features familiar to Data Dynamics Reports users)! Also enjoy support for Visual Studio 2012.
Visual Studio 2012 Ready
Get even more out of Visual Studio 2012 with ActiveReports 7: see increased productivity with less code required and added functionality. ActiveReports 7 offers full support for Visual Studio 2012. While ActiveReports 7 allows you to adopt the latest technologies, it also supports versions 3.5 and higher of the .NET Framework.
New Report Layout Options
New Page reports offer advanced data regions to make it easy to create different kinds of reports. Charts, tables, crosstabs, and more can be freely mixed within the same report, eliminating the need to use subreports in most instances.
- Fixed Page Layout: create highly structured reports using the new FPL reporting engine. Reports using this model won't go changing your layout, and the advanced data overflow capabilities allow you to easily design WYSIWYG reports.
- Continuous Page Layout: take advantage of various data regions to let them format the data fed into them in their own ways. Tables can use multiple groups and grow as needed, while crosstabs can group data along rows and columns. As data regions grow, other report controls respond dynamically, moving as needed.
Tables, Matrix, List, and Banded List
ActiveReports 7 now includes features familiar to Data Dynamics Reports users. Providing more report layout flexibility, ActiveReports 7 includes Tables, Matrix, Banded Lists and Charts as part of page report layout options. All of these can contain other report items such as text boxes, images, bar codes, sub reports, shapes, graphs, calendars and more.
- The Table data region has a static number of columns, and you can add group header and footer rows.
- The Matrix is a data region with dynamic numbers of rows and columns, and is similar in functionality to a cross tab or pivot table.
- The List is a free-form data region in which you can place other report items.
AJAX-based ASP.NET WebViewer Control
The new AJAX-based WebViewer control no longer relies on ASP.NET postbacks to do its work. It has also been updated with a new API and report parameter support, so you no longer need to write the code to handle parameter input yourself!
Advanced Printing Support
Scale pages, add page watermarks, print multiple report pages on a single sheet (N-up)!
New Barcode Features
- New symbologies including Intelligent Mail and Data Matrix
- New features in UPC/EAN barcodes
Rich-parameter Support Across All Viewers
All viewer controls can now prompt the user for parameter values. When using page reports, these parameters can also offer sophisticated data entry options such as a data-bound list of values to choose from and cascading parameters where one parameter value filters the list of available values for the next parameter.
Once you've entered a retail license key, your system remains licensed until you manually deactivate that license, making it easier to upgrade to maintenance releases.
What's New in Prior Releases?
What's new in the ActiveReports 6 Service Pack 2 Hotfix 1?
Crystal Reports-to-ActiveReports converter
You have been able to convert all of your old 2005 and 2008 version Crystal Reports into ActiveReports 6 reports using shortcuts in the Start menu under All Programs, GrapeCity, ActiveReports 6, Tools: Crystal Reports to ActiveReports Converter. New features include:
- Now supports converting datasources from Crystal Reports when converting to RPX format.
- Now supports conversion of Crystal Reports 2010 templates to RPX format.
End User Report Designer
A new public API allows you to update properties on reports, sections and controls at run time in your End User Designer applications.
Exports and Report Properties
We continually enhance ActiveReports by adding properties based on your feedback. New properties in this hot fix include:
- The OnlyForPrint property of the PDFDocumentOptions class in PDFExport has been made public.
- Added DpiX and DpiY properties to set resolution for the TiffExport.
- Added a new DateTime category to the AxisType enumeration in the Chart control.
- Added the ability to change the PageMargin property in the PageStart event of a report.
We have added the Silverlight Class Library License Generator to the ActiveReports installation so that you can license compiled assemblies containing the Silverlight Viewer.
- The DLL or EXE of an application can now be passed as a parameter in the ApplicationLicenseGenerator.
- The Silverlight Viewer hosted in a Silverlight Class Library project can now be licensed.
What's New in ActiveReports 6 Service Pack 2?
ActiveReports 6 Silverlight Report Viewer
Designed for reporting in Microsoft Silverlight 4 and higher, the Silverlight Report Viewer is simple, lightweight, flexible, localizable, and easy to customize for quick end user deployment. It includes these features:
The ActiveReports Silverlight Report Viewer is licensed for use in the ActiveReports 6 Professional Edition. Existing ActiveReports 6 Professional Edition customers can download the latest service pack and use the Silverlight Report Viewer control at no additional charge. ActiveReports Standard Edition customers need to upgrade to the ActiveReports 6 Professional edition to use the Silverlight Report Viewer.
- Preview reports loaded from a file, document stream, ASPX page, RPX Handler, or WCF service.
- End-user toolbar with Table of Contents (TOC), Thumbnails, Print, Search, Zoom, and Navigation buttons, plus you can add your own custom buttons.
- Printing support with an extra print-to-PDF option.
- Full UI customization with Themes. Use Silverlight Viewer XAML template to customize the look of the UI. We provide pre-customized templates in six useful themes.
- Localization support. Use resource files (*.resx) to create custom localizations of all text in the UI. We provide pre-localized satellite assemblies for Chinese, Japanese, and Russian.
- Out-of-browser support (see included OOB sample).
- Samples: Two new samples in CSharp and VB: Silverlight Viewer sample and Silverlight Viewer Out-of-browser sample application.
Enhanced Windows Azure Reporting
The latest release improves on the ActiveReports support for Windows Azure reporting. New enhancements include:
- Export your reports to Microsoft Excel from within Azure in full trust mode.
- PDF digital signatures are now supported in Azure full trust mode.
- ActiveReports is supported in Azure under partial trust with standard platform limitations.
Web Key Generator
Create a Web key for your ActiveReports project using the new Web Key Generator utility on a licensed machine.
What's New in ActiveReports 6 Service Pack 1 Hot Fix 1?
Convert from Crystal Reports to ActiveReports 6
The latest ActiveReports 6 release comes with the ability to convert Crystal Reports (version 2005 and 2008) to ActiveReports 6 reports. The installation creates two shortcuts in the "All Programs" Start Menu item for "GrapeCity/ActiveReports 6".
- Use the "CrystalToAR2005" program to convert from Crystal Reports 2005.
- Use the "CrystalToAR2008" program to convert from Crystal Reports 2008.
What's New in ActiveReports 6 Service Pack 1?
Support for Visual Studio 2010
ActiveReports 6 now supports Visual Studio 2010, as well as Visual Studio 2005 and 2008.
Support for .NET Framework 4.0 Client Profile
By supporting the .NET Framework 4.0 Client profile, ActiveReports 6 now provides its users with lightweight and fast installation packages, thus expanding the large range of great features in ActiveReports 6.
Support for Windows Azure (Full Trust)
ActiveReports 6 now includes support for Microsoft Windows Azure cloud services in full trust mode, granting access to the benefits of using this platform.
What's New in ActiveReports 6 Hot Fix 2?
Support for ASP.NET Medium Trust
ActiveReports 6 now generates ASP.NET reports in a medium trust environment. Understanding that many web hosting environments do not grant full trust, we have done our best to improve your ASP.NET reporting experience.
Advanced PDF Character Support for PDF Reporting
The PDF reporting feature in the ActiveReports Professional Edition now allows the export of End-User Defined Characters (EUDC) in East Asian languages. For example, old Chinese characters that are used for names in Japanese may require custom characters that users must create themselves, or must purchase in a third-party font package. Now you can link fonts to one or sometimes more EUDC fonts in the Professional Edition.
- Load and Navigate a document (RDF format)
- Specify MultiPage settings and set a theme and hyperlink colors
- Specify settings for the Table of Contents panel
- Customize the FlashViewer toolbar
- Use event handlers to create custom commands
- Display error messages or warnings to users
- Control printing options and page settings
Reporting without Language or Culture Dependence
With the new public Culture property on certain items, ActiveReports makes it possible to do reporting without language or culture dependence, with no run-time dependency on the language and culture settings of the application or of the underlying operating system.
What's New in ActiveReports 6 Standard?
ActiveReports 6 Standard Edition includes the following new features (also see What's new in the Professional Edition
World-class Performance and Even Better Quality
If you admired ActiveReports for its world-class quality and speed with over 50,000 users worldwide, you will love version 6 even more. The new version contains a number of improvements to enhance the performance and quality of the reporting engine, making it better, faster and smarter than ever before.
Visual Studio 2008 Support
ActiveReports 6 is fully supported in Microsoft Visual Studio 2008.
ActiveReports 6 is fully functional in an x64 computing environment. Any application using ActiveReports 6 can run on 64-bit machines to render their reports. Support for x64 processing is available both at run time and in Microsoft Visual Studio at design time.
RPX Format is Back
RPX, the Report XML format that was available prior to ActiveReports for .NET 3.0, is back, and it is better than ever. We now offer design-time support for the format, and you can access controls directly in script with no need to typecast them. In the new implementation, the improved script editor even allows you to use "
Me" or "
this" in addition of "
rpt" to access the report, sections and controls in script. Script editor used for editing RPX now has intellisense support along with better error handling for compile time and run time errors. RPX is an XML report layout format that allows you to change reports in an application without recompiling it. Instead of VB or C# code, you use VB or C# script with this format.
New Reduced Space Symbology (RSS) Bar Codes
ActiveReports has excellent integrated bar code functionality, which now supports six new barcode symbologies (RSS14, RSS14Truncated, RSS14Stacked, RSS14StackedOmnidirectional, RSSExpanded, and RSSExpandedStacked). You can use the new Reduced Space Symbology (RSS) styles to encode Composite Component (CC) extended EAN and UPC information in less space.
External Style Sheets for a Consistent Look
You asked for it and now you have it! ActiveReports has a new external style sheet feature so that you can now easily share the look of your favorite report with other reports. Styles selected for text and labels can now be exported to an XML-based style sheet and imported and applied to another report at run time or at design time. Styles are applied by the Reporting engine before reports are run.
New Report Designer Enhancements
The ActiveReports Designer makes creating great looking reports even easier with the new design tools introduced in this version.
New Cross Section Controls
You can now design great looking reports in ActiveReports using the new cross section controls. Drop one of the cross section controls into any header section, and it automatically grows dynamically and stretches across any intervening sections to its related footer section. The CrossSectionLine control renders a dynamically growing vertical line and the CrossSectionBox control renders a rectangular outline with corners that can be rounded by setting the radius property.
New Snap Lines
The ActiveReports designer uses the new snap lines by default. Snap lines allow you to glide your controls freely instead of snapping to a grid (which is still available in Report Settings). They assist with alignment via blue horizontal and vertical lines that appear when your control comes into alignment with other controls or section edges. In other words, you get the best of both — easily move controls on the design space, plus align perfectly with other controls should you decide to do so.
Direct Input in Text, Label and Check-Box Controls
Double-click inside the ActiveReports TextBox control or select it and press the F2 key to edit text directly in the control instead of using the Properties window. If you do use the Properties window, the Text property now supports multi-line text input.
Text Justify Feature in Text Controls
Text justification in ActiveReports TextBox and Label controls now also supports single character justification. When you set the Alignment property to Justify, the new TextJustify property extends your justification options to include Auto (default), Distribute and DistributeAllLines.
Text Padding for Labels and TextBox Controls
The ActiveReports TextBox control now has a Padding property with five settings at design time: All, Left, Top, Right, and Bottom. More settings, like Vertical and Horizontal, are available in code. The All property has a default value of -1, which means that all of the Padding values are not equal. Change this value to 10, and a space ten pixels wide is left around the text on all sides. The Left, Top, Right, and Bottom properties are 0, 0, 0, 0 by default.
Patterns to Fill Empty Spaces
In the ActiveReports designer, the new RepeatToFill property allows your green bar or other formatting to fill the page even if your data doesn't. For the simplest example, if you have a report with a PageHeader, Detail, and PageFooter section, and the detail section has a background color set, the background color on the last page would normally end with the data, and then the PageFooter section would render at the bottom of that page, leaving a white gap between the two sections. With the RepeatToFill property set to True however, the last page of the report would have the background color extending down to just above the PageFooter, leaving no white space.
Now you can add images to your annotations on reports in the ActiveReports viewer. The Annotations feature was first introduced with ActiveReports version 3.0. Annotations allow you to pass on special comments and instructions for the end users viewing your reports.
What's New in ActiveReports 6 Professional?
ActiveReports 6 Professional includes all of the new features from the Standard Edition (see What's new in the Standard Edition
). In addition, it contains the following new features:
64 bit support
The Professional Edition provides the same level of x64 support as the Standard Edition and adds x64 support in the End User Report Designer for Windows Forms.
Flash Report Viewer for ASP.NET
ActiveReports 6 Professional Edition now includes a Flash-based report viewer that you can use to provide a seamless, interactive report viewing experience and no-touch printing using the widely-adopted Adobe Flash Player already installed on end user desktops. Choose from pre-defined themes (including Office, Windows XP, Vista and Windows Classic) and enhance the viewer experience by controlling the printing, paging, table of contents, thumbnail views and other options. This feature requires Adobe Flash version 10 or higher.
PDF Report Signatures and Timestamps
The well known PDF reporting features of ActiveReports just got even better in the Professional Edition. While exporting .NET reports to PDF, you can now digitally sign your reports with a hidden signature or with visible text and graphics. Personalize your signature using sixteen attributes. Use the signature to validate the report author, and a Certification Level attribute to control user access. Use the new Time Stamp feature to create third-party authorized versions of your documents. These features are fully compatible with Adobe's new security guidelines.
PDF reporting now supports exporting Chinese, Japanese and Korean
The Professional Edition's PDF reporting feature now allows exporting text in East Asian languages (Chinese, Japanese, and Korean). With our new international capabilities in the PDF Export feature, you need never worry about whether the selected font supports all of the characters in your reports.
ToolStrips Instead of Toolbars
The ActiveReports End User Report Designer now offers a better Toolbar by leveraging the latest Visual Studio ToolStrip control instead of the old CommandBar control.
Redistributable Help for the End User Report Designer
You asked for a help file for the End User Report Designer that you could distribute to your end users, and now you've got it. ActiveReports Professional Edition developers can deploy the compiled CHM file and PDF file out of the box or use the included Innovasys HelpStudio 3 User Guide project to customize it and compile your own CHM or PDF file. (Requires HelpStudio version 3.) This feature is only available in the Professional Edition of ActiveReports.