Has anyone seen/resolved issue with Report Builder 3.0 not exporting correctly to MS Excel format?

Posted on 2014-07-17
Last Modified: 2014-07-18
We have experienced an unexpected problem when exporting to Excel, either directly from Report Builder 3.0 and/or from the front end SharePoint report repository. The export creates undesirable formatting results.  Somewhere in the process the report's formatting as designed in Report Builder becomes corrupted in producing the output.  More specifically, random cell borders disappear, cell alignment is all over the place, cells may be inserted in odd places, and columns cannot be resized. This is a big deal to some of our customers, requiring manual manipulation to "fix" an automated output.

We removed within the .rdl file any additional white space that may have created extra pages or spaces in the report. It did not resolve the problem.

We re-wrote the report and encountered the same errors.

It appears that the only way to get a "clean" export resembling the intended format is by exporting to PDF or to MHTML.  Unfortunately, neither of these formats is editable, and that's a key requirement for our customers.

We also tried to take the .pdf output and use AdobeExportPDF Online to convert the .pdf output to .xlsx, and that resulted in similar formatting errors and borders missing, although it's not as bad - I can resize the columns and cells are in the columns where they should be.

We found that if we export the Excel file from Report Builder (not Sharepoint), then open the Excel file in Google Docs, the missing borders are restored.  The report displays and prints more in line with how the report looks in Report Builder.  But the results are still not where we need them.   And, u sing Google Docs isn’t a clean or viable "solution" as you need to upload documents to Google Docs before you can view them.  This doesn’t sit well from a HIPAA / data privacy protection standpoint and few of our customers have or allow use of Google Docs.  

So we're seeking any info on how the problem has been handled elsewhere and whether anybody knows of the root cause so we can address it.
Question by:gberkeley
    LVL 10

    Accepted Solution


    I have had some issues in the past with formatting and especially merged cells.  The export will create as many merged cells to fulfill the report look and sometimes it overdoes it.  I cannot recall anything about borders missing.
    What I have found is make sure all of your controls are aligned eggggzactly.  That means if you have a a table or matrix make sure that all other textboxes and such line up to the pixel with the columns of the table and with each other.

    Give it a shot and let me know.  Maybe you can upload an image of the report in design view and it might help.

    Author Comment

    THank you - we will go back and check the alignment - stay tuned - thank you for the response.

    Author Closing Comment

    Nice job helping us to find the root cause - we have a complex report with multiple matrices and the sections don't all have the same layout.  So THANK YOU for helping us identify the problem - the solution then becomes a design discussion with the customer - we may end up splitting the report into multiple pieces to resolve the issue.  THANK YOU!
    LVL 10

    Expert Comment

    Thanks for the grade.  I'm glad to help.  I dont have such complex reports but I've definitely had the formatting issues to a degree because the export process attempts to create the closest match even if it means creating 5000 columns of 1 width which may be close but still not line up exactly.

    Author Comment

    Gotta love Microsoft...... :)   We do a lot of dashboards and reports with upwards of 20 different matrices. Now we'll pay very close attention to this problem so as to manage it up front in the future. Thanks again - we really appreciate the help!

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