Manipulating Controls in RDLC for Microsoft Dynamics NAV Reports

When NAV introduced support for RDLC reports in 2009 it brought a lot of benefits. Saving to PDF, Excel and now Word, charts, collapsible/expandable sections, dynamic sorting and the ability to add colour, of all things, dragged reporting out of the 1970s.

While the potential for this new reporting environment was obvious, customers didn’t always find the Visual Studio report design environment particularly welcoming. You can delve through the archive for some advice on making yourself at home with RDLC: here and here (based on NAV 2009 but mostly still relevant) or here and here for some NAV 2015 goodness.

There are a few things you can do to make yourself at home in Visual Studio and make it a more useful environment for your report writing. #1 is to realise what tools there actually are to help you.


I’d been writing RDLC reports for quite a while before I even realised this toolbar existed.

Don’t mess around carefully dragging your controls to line up pixel-perfect with their neighbours. Use the tools on this toolbar to align the edges of multiple controls, increase, decrease or remove the horizontal or vertical spacing between them, make controls the same size.

Also check out:

  • Document outline – to see the parent/child relationship clearly between all your nested controls
  • Report Data – to see a list of all the columns in the dataset. Refresh it to list the columns alphabetically.
  • Setting the preferences to see line numbers in expression windows – helps when doing Code.GetData  in page headers or footers.

Leave a Reply