Conditional Formatting in Reporting Services

I’m certainly no Reporting Services master, and far from a Business Intelligence Developer, but I do like to tinker around with reports for the bosses from time to time

I like Excel for it’s conditional formatting feature, especially in building heat-map type charts.

So I was looking for a way to replicate the functionality in SSRS and figured I’d pass it on:

Just as an example, boss comes and asks “Hey, what’s the busiest time of day for our order-entry website?”

This is easily accomplished by changing the Properties of the cell ( in my case textbox2 ) Fill > BackgroundColor > and click on Expression…



From here it is pretty intuitive… I select a color from the values field and using the SWITCH function can apply green for < 100,  yellow for 100 – 500, red for 500-1000, etc.

I end up using the more colors link down right to select a visually appealing color range.


This technique can also be used to create alternating background colors that makes a report more readable as used here…


It’s not magic, but logic. However, as Andrea says “Have a magical day!”

Free tools are priced right…

Isn’t it great when you work for a company that buys you all the nifty, expensive tools and gives you a handsome Christmas bonus to boot?  I remember the days of having a dozen instances of Quest Spotlight on SQL Server monitors, LiteSpeed, Redgate, you name it.  But these days, times seem to be a bit tighter.  I’m always looking for a good deal on SQL tools and wouldn’t you know… free tools are prices right!

What is your favorite free SQL tool?  Here are a couple of mine:

ClearTrace      Many Thanks to Bill Graziano for a fantastic way to quickly analyze SQL Profiler Trace files.  Slick as a whistle, find your expensive batches or statements by Application Name, Login Name, Normalized SQL Text or Host Name. I am worthless as a DBA without it… I am a hero with it!  He even has an online version now.

SMSS Tools Pack     This is new to me, but my colleague just passed it forward.  Thank you Mladen Prajdic for the add-in to Management Studio.  One of the features I already use is Windows Connection Coloring, a handy tool to know what type of server you are connected to (for me red=prod, orange =staging and test, green=dev and local).  Just a little indication to keep you from getting yelled at by mistakenly connecting to the wrong environment!  Query Execution History is a lifesaver when you’ve spent a bunch of time writing code and close your window without saving the script.  SQL Code Snippets are fantastic.

Hope you have a chance to give these tools a shot.  Let me know what your favorite free SQL tool is, I’d like to get some in my Christmas Stocking!

~Todd Carrier