Looking for a good and free report service for C#

Posted on 2008-10-25
Last Modified: 2013-12-17
Hi Experts,

I'm working on developing a windowsapplication and I need to be able to make reports, like an automatic generated letter.
Does any of you know a good, free and easy to use reportservice for C#. I had found a trailversion of Data Dynamics Active Reports but that prints a message of the trailversion on each document.

Any good alternatives? Thx for some help.

Question by:Pit76
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LVL 70

Expert Comment

by:Éric Moreau
ID: 22804735
If you have Visual Studio Pro or better, you also have Crystal Reports. Which Edition of VS do you have?

Author Comment

ID: 22804762
I have VS2008 Professional edition.
I did hear that Crystal Reports is not easy to use, or is that not right?

LVL 70

Expert Comment

by:Éric Moreau
ID: 22804801
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Author Comment

ID: 22805120
Thx for that. I'll go from here and try it out to see if I can get it working.Is it possible to create a pdf file and/or e-mail the report then?
Can it be saved on hdd?

LVL 70

Expert Comment

by:Éric Moreau
ID: 22805346
PDF = yes, see

when I need to e-mail reports, I first save them as PDF and attach them to the e-mail.
LVL 26

Expert Comment

by:Anurag Thakur
ID: 22805798
i will recommend Microsoft reportviewer component instead of crystal reports as there might be licensing issues when deploying your application
LVL 16

Expert Comment

by:Gyanendra Singh
ID: 22806381

MS also provided free data report control with vs2005 onward ,, also its free to distribute .. its also have lot of feature which you want ... crystal reports you can use only for dev purpose ... if you want to distribute you need to purchase license ...

Check url provided by Ragi ... its best for you
LVL 50

Accepted Solution

Gustav Brock earned 500 total points
ID: 22806523
I would also recommend to check out as the first item the Reporting Services and the report viewer control which is included in your VS.

It's not that easy to get started with without using the wizard, but if you do that you will quickly get an understanding of how it works. The internal syntax for expressions and referencing fields is more like VB but it should not pose a problem for you.

Further, if you use SQL Server as the database, you may be able to deploy the reports to this freeing your app for generating the reports.

The major drawback of Reporting Services as is, is that no preview function is at hand; you will have to run a form which will display your report with actual or sample data.

If you can only manage one link, pick this which really sets the scene: 

It's easy to find limitations of the native designer but on the other hand it has some very strong features. How to weight these is up to you, but for my part - having become more familiar with the report designer - I have decided to save the bucks and stay with it.

Should you decide for this too, study this link for a free tool which should expand the Report Designer with a WYSIWYG Report Designer plus it has a sample db option: 

I have not yet had the need to test it so I can't tell more about it.

LVL 70

Expert Comment

by:Éric Moreau
ID: 22807076
>>as there might be licensing issues when deploying your application
>>crystal reports you can use only for dev purpose

Crystal Reports is totally free to deploy when building Windows application (not the case when building web applications).
LVL 70

Expert Comment

by:Éric Moreau
ID: 22807083
Crystal Reports for Visual Studio .NET License Agreement

Author Comment

ID: 22808406
Thx guys,

I'll take a look at both, Crystal Reports and the Standard Report Control.
Will try to make some small reports with both and the see what I find best to work with.


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