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How to Use Master Reports in Your C# .NET Application

In the dynamic world of report generation, efficiency and consistency are key. ActiveReports.NET, the industry-leading reporting tool, introduces a feature that brings order to your reporting process: the Master Report. Build a dynamic template that effortlessly maintains common elements across multiple reports. Master Reports is a game-changing feature that will save you and your team by streamlining your reporting workflow and ensuring a polished, unified look.

Ready to Start Using Master Reports? Download ActiveReports.NET Today!

What are Master Reports?

Master Reports are a dynamic template that can be utilized across countless reports to share common elements like logos, page headers, page footers, and more. A Master Report functions as the blueprint or template of your reports. They set the stage for consistent design across various content (Emails, Documents, Reports, etc.)

A key feature of ActiveReports is our dynamic loading. Unlike static templates, Master Reports are loaded every time a report is run, meaning that any changes made to the template are automatically applied to the generated report. Remove the repetitive report editing from your workflow.

Simplifying Styling and Data Source Management

Another key advantage of Master Reports is its ability to centralize styling and data source management. With Master Reports, you can create a predefined layout with limited modification options. This means you can control who can edit the template.

Lock in your branding elements, design choices, and styling on your template to maintain a cohesive design and to restrict report makers from getting too creative.

Master Reports also give you the control to minimize errors and enhance usability for the end-user by obscuring the complexities of data sources. By hiding the data sources, ActiveReports will provide a simplified interface for content report creators. ActiveReports makes it easy to provide the end user with needed resources while locking and hiding others to maintain privacy.

Designing a Master Report

Designing a Master Report follows the same process as creating a standard report. You can access all controls, code, data sources, and layout properties like building any other report. This offers a familiar experience while providing the added advantage of centralized control over design elements.

An important distinction is that a Master Report remains a standalone entity, capable of being executed independently while altering all reports that utilize it. To ensure the integrity of your Master Report is preserved, permissions can be set to restrict modifications by end-users.

Master Reports can be created as RDL (Report Definition Language), RDL Multi Section, and Page Report types. Creating a Master Report is as simple as saving it as a .rdlx-master file. This format can be easily applied as a template to reports to maintain design consistency.

You can also convert an RDL report to a master report with a couple of clicks in the designer by opening the Master Report dropdown in the Report menu tab and selecting Convert to Master Report.

C# Master Reports

ContentPlaceHolder Control

When transitioning from an RDL report to a Master Report, a valuable tool emerges in the toolbox: the ContentPlaceHolder control. This control defines a region where users creating/editing content reports linked to the master report can add content.

Creating a Content Report

Once you’ve created a Master Report and added a ContentPlaceHolder control to hold the content of any child reports, you can start creating your content reports. Aside from the restrictions imposed by the master report, creating a content report is just like creating any other normal RDL report. To turn an RDL report into a content report, simply open the Master Report dropdown in the Report menu tab, select Set Master Report, and then select the file you created for your master report in the file explorer window to link them together.

C# Master Reports

Thank you for reading our Master Reports Blog! If you are interested in learning more and how to use them in greater detail, please check out our documentation.


ActiveReports.NET Master Reports revolutionizes the way reports are designed and managed. By facilitating dynamic templates that enforce consistency, simplify styling, and streamline data source management, Master Reports empowers users to create top-quality reports effortlessly.

The dynamic loading nature ensures that changes in the Master Report reverberate through content reports, reducing maintenance efforts. Whether you’re seeking to standardize branding, create/maintain unified designs, or save time on all future reports, Master Reports is an indispensable tool in your arsenal.

Ready to Start Using Master Reports? Download ActiveReports.NET Today!


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