Crystal vs SSRS

When working on a Crystal report I was able to jump back and forth between the design tab and the preview tab without refreshing the report data. Is there a way to do this when working with a SSRS report in Visual Studios?

Export the Preview to PDF, then jump back and forth (with CTRL+TAB) between the Design view in Report Builder and the PDF Viewer.


and I really miss the ability to edit the report in preview mode like CR allows. Things like field formats, and size & locations, etc…


Thanks, I was afraid of that. I hate to keep sending requests to SQL just to preview.

If the pain is from having to re-enter the GUID each time, you can set a default for the GUID parameter.


Or use the file method of output then you can point the rdl to the resultant XML file

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I didn’t realize you could do that (use XML file) with SSRS.

What changes would be made to the RDL so that SSRS looks to the XML file, instead of the temp table in the DB? Are these easy to change (toggling a setting or two)? Or require changing the datasorce and dataset query expressions?

This works well until you push the report to production and for some reason your report doesn’t work for all of the users. This has never happened to me…

Delete your default GUIDs when you are done


Epicor has new trick for previewing.

  1. From the print dialog - select the “Generate for Design” Button: image

  2. Open the system monitor and select Action–>Design SSRS Report

  3. Click on Actions–>Download. Select the local path for your SSRS. Then click on Yes to open report for editing. .

  4. Make changes and save - then from the SSRS Report Design dialog - click on Actions - Preview

  5. When you done making changes - from the SSRS Report Design dialog - click on Actions–>Publish (same as upload).

this is MUCH easier than uploading every time. The preview uses the same guid value.

If you are On-Prem you do not need this function - however if you are MT or DT this is a great addition - Thank you Epicor.



Thanks Dave that’s interesting but I’m not working in Epicor. I’m working in Visual Studios and every time I click on the preview tab it runs the query again. In Crystal you could jump back and forth between the project and preview tab without it running the query everytime.

You should be able to change the data source to file unless I’m having a crystal flashback…

That would be on the Report Style. How does SSRS know to read that XML file, and not look in the DB containing the temp tables? Isn’t the Data Source in a RDL the thing that tells it where to fetch the data from?

I think there are some smarts that alter the template rdl. But I could be wrong.

Dave, Thanks for this info. This is making some cloud projects infinitely easier to work on.