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Unofficial UNIT-e Forum • Using/Opening SSRS Reports (.RDL files) Shared on This Forum
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Using/Opening SSRS Reports (.RDL files) Shared on This Forum

Posted: Sun Mar 12, 2017 8:04 pm
by robinwilson16
I have had a few questions from people who have been unable to open my .RDL files shared on this forum.

These reports will open with Visual Studio 2015 or higher (I plan to move to Visual Studio 2017 soon).
They will not work with Report Builder or any older version of Visual Studio < 2015 and you must have the SQL-BI addin installed otherwise it will not recognise .rdl files or Report Server Projects.

Downloading/Installing Visual Studio
You can download the free Community Edition of Visual Studio 2017 from here for your own computer:

You can install the BI (Business Intelligence) components by going to Tools > Extensions and Updates from within Visual Studio and search for SSDT and install the one labelled Microsoft Report Projects for Visual Studio:
SSDT-2017.png (33.97 KiB) Viewed 2375 times
Alternatively you can download the tools from here as a .exe:

If on a work PC then you will need to ask IT to download Visual Studio 2015/2017 Professional (rather than Community) from the Microsoft Volume Licencing Site as due to licensing the community edition should not be used.

Activating Visual Studio Once Installed
Visual Studio is no longer activated with a license key but is assigned to the Microsoft Account logged into the product.

The process to activate is:
  • Visit the MSVLSC website and login with the account attached to your campus agreement
  • Go to the Licenses section and Assign Subscription
  • Get the user to create a personal Microsoft Account (does not work with Microsoft Work accounts - who knows why!) using their work email
  • Get them to access the link and log in using that account (they will be asked to choose between Personal/Work account types so must select personal) and confirm they want to add the subscription
  • Upon first opening Visual Studio once it has been installed (or later from Help/Account) and logging in this will activate the product.
This is the MSVLSC site:
MSVLSC.png (436.44 KiB) Viewed 2377 times
If you only want the SQL used in the report then you can also open the .rdl file in notepad (or another text/code editor) and search the file for "SELECT" and this should take you to the query (there may be multiple select statements due to the datasources used for the parameters).

Hope this helps. 8-)