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SSRS Alternative: How and Why to Use ActiveReports.NET

For the last few years, Microsoft has been phasing out SSRS and trying to push users to migrate to Power BI, so today, we want to address a common query in our community: Why should you consider transitioning from SQL Server Reporting Services (SSRS) to ActiveReports, and why to convert to ActiveReports over Power BI? Additionally, we'll guide you through the process of converting SSRS reports to ActiveReports.

Ready to Try It Out? Download ActiveReports.NET Today!

Why Choose ActiveReports Over SSRS?

ActiveReports is designed with the modern developer in mind, offering significant advantages over SSRS:

  1. Embeddable Designer and Viewer Options: ActiveReports offers embeddable, user-friendly designers for both ASP.NET MVC and WinForms applications, as well as viewers for ASP.NET MVC, WinForms, WPF, and Webforms.

  2. Programmatic Control: ActiveReports's API gives developers the power to dynamically manipulate reports at runtime, a feature that's limited in SSRS.

  3. Rich Data Visualization: Our tool includes a wide array of visualization options, including charts, graphs, and other elements that surpass the capabilities of SSRS.

  4. Enhanced Flexibility and Customization: Unlike SSRS, ActiveReports provides greater control over report layouts and styles, allowing for more complex and tailored report designs.

  5. Cross-Platform Compatibility: Based on .NET Core, ActiveReports supports a variety of platforms, providing flexibility in deployment and usage.

Why Convert to ActiveReports Over Power BI?

While Power BI is a great tool for business analytics, ActiveReports stands out for application-focused reporting:

  1. Developer-Centric Design: ActiveReports is specifically built for developers, offering extensive customization and integration capabilities, unlike the more business-user-oriented Power BI.

  2. Embedded Reporting: It's easier to embed ActiveReports into your applications, providing a seamless user experience.

  3. Greater Control Over Data Handling and Reporting Logic: ActiveReports offers more sophisticated control over data manipulation and report generation, crucial for complex application-specific reporting needs.

  4. Developer-Friendly Licensing: Power BI is only available as a SAAS product, billed per user and requiring you to stay subscribed as long as you’re using it. With ActiveReports' runtime royalty-free licensing, you can simply license your developers one time and continue using the version you paid for as long as you’d like.

Converting SSRS Reports to ActiveReports

Transitioning your SSRS reports to ActiveReports is a straightforward process, thanks to our helpful conversion tool and comprehensive documentation. Here’s a high-level overview:

  1. Prepare Your SSRS Reports: Before conversion, ensure that your SSRS reports are organized and backed up.

  2. Use the ActiveReports Import Wizard: Our import wizard simplifies the conversion of your SSRS reports (.rdl files) to ActiveReports format. It’s designed to handle most elements of an SSRS report, though some complex items may require manual intervention.

  3. Address Data Source Differences: ActiveReports and SSRS handle data sources differently. After conversion, check and adjust your data sources and queries as needed.

  4. Refine and Customize: Post-conversion, take the opportunity to enhance your reports using ActiveReports’s advanced features. This might include adding new data visualizations or leveraging our API for dynamic report manipulation.

  5. Test and Deploy: Rigorously test your new reports to ensure data accuracy and layout integrity. Once satisfied, deploy them within your .NET applications.

For a detailed, step-by-step guide on this conversion process, we highly recommend visiting our documentation page: Converting SSRS Reports to ActiveReports.


Choosing ActiveReports as your reporting tool offers a blend of flexibility, power, and developer-centric features that are not as pronounced in SSRS or Power BI. Our commitment to enhancing the developer experience, coupled with our robust support and documentation, makes ActiveReports an ideal choice for your reporting needs. Transitioning from SSRS to ActiveReports not only opens up new possibilities for your reports but also aligns you with the latest in reporting technology advancements.

Ready to Try It Out? Download ActiveReports.NET Today!


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