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How Do I Create A Free-Style (Free Flowing) Report In Visual Studio 2015?

Posted on 2016-08-23
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Last Modified: 2016-08-30
My application is a Windows Form Application. I am using Visual Studio 2015, Visual Basic (VB.Net) and I am creating my reports with ReportViewer. And that works great for reports that use the Table format.

What I want to do is create a report that has an IRS form image on it with fields that automatically get filled-in with information that is stored in a .accdb Access database. A table format doesn't work because the fields on the report are not in a table format. The fields are scattered in different places on this IRS form report. I was able to do this in Access VBA, but I can't figure out how to accomplish this with ReportViewer.

Is there a NuGet Package that I can add in to Visual Studio 2015 that will enable me to create a free-Style type report. Or is there another reporting package that creates this type of report that I should use?
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Question by:Bob Valentine
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by:louisfr
ID: 41768335
Did you try Crystal Reports?
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by:zephyr_hex
ID: 41768912
You can place form fields wherever you want on a page, and use CSS to style & position them.  There is no NuGet package that does that for you.
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Bob Valentine earned 0 total points
ID: 41770754
Thanks for all the responses. I figured out how to create a free-flowing type report using ReportViewer.

To get the image file into the report so that I can place report fields at various locations, I imported the image file and set it as the report background. Normally, if you insert an image into a report using the image control, you cannot overlap control fields. However, setting the image as the background for the report, control fields can then be placed on top of the image without creating an overlap error.

Another problem I faced was how to get single field controls that can be placed in various places on the form. I couldn't use the standard table format to do this because I needed to be able to place control fields at various locations throughout the report, not in a table format. The way to I accomplished this was to drag a Matrix control from the Toolbox onto the report designer surface and then delete a column and then delete a row from the matrix. You are then left with a single cell of the matrix that you can position anywhere on the report. And you can then assign a value to that single cell from the data source. In my case the data source was an Access database (.acdb type).

I hope this may help others who are trying to do something similar. The documentation for Microsoft's ReportViewer is sketchy at best. I looked for help in many programming books and online, but found no books that even mention the ReportViewer, and only a few articles by Microsoft that gave me some direction.
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Author Closing Comment

by:Bob Valentine
ID: 41776034
This is the solution that I found that does what I wanted to accomplish with the ReportViewer.
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