Building Reports from Object Collection using ReportViewer

In this article, I will discuss how to create reports from a business objects collection. I will be creating a Windows Forms application with reporting being processed as local processing mode. See my article, Getting started with ReportViewer control to understand local and remote processing modes.

Step 1. Create an Objects Collection

I have a class that stores an employee's information. The class looks like Listing 1.

    class Employee



        private string name;


        public string Name


            get { return name; }

            set { name = value; }


        private string address;


        public string Address


            get { return address; }

            set { address = value; }


        private string ssn;


        public string Ssn


            get { return ssn; }

            set { ssn = value; }


        private Int16 age;


        public Int16 Age


            get { return age; }

            set { age = value; }



        public Employee(string EmpName, string EmpAddress, string EmpSsn, Int16 EmpAge)


   = EmpName;

            this.address = EmpAddress;

            this.ssn = EmpSsn;

            this.age = EmpAge;




Listing 1.

Now I build a Company class, which is a generic collection of Employee with three records in it. The Company class is listed in Listing 2.

class Company


        private List<Employee> m_employees;


        public Company()


            m_employees = new List<Employee>();

            m_employees.Add(new Employee("Mahesh Chand", "112 New Road, Chadds Ford, PA", "123-21-1212", 30));

            m_employees.Add(new Employee("Jack Mohita", "Pear Lane, New York 23231", "878-12-2334", 23));

            m_employees.Add(new Employee("Renee Singer", "Near medow, Philadelphia, PA", "980-00-2320", 20));


        public List<Employee> GetEmployees()


            return m_employees;




Listing 2.

In Listing 2, the GetEmployees method returns all the employees in the company.

Step 2. Add a Report to the Project

Now add a report to the project by Right click on the project > Add > New Item and select Report from the items listing. It will add Report1.rdlc file to the project.

Step 3. Add a Data Source

Now I am going to add a data source to the project. Double click on your Form so Form Designer is open. Now from the Data menu of Visual Studio, select Add New Data Source item. See Figure 1.

Figure 1.

It will launch the Data Source Configuration Wizard. Select Object item on the first page. See Figure 2.

Figure 2.

Now on next screen you should see your application namespace. If you don't see the namespace, make sure to Rebuild the application.

If you expand the namespace, you should see Employee class. See Figure 3. Select Employee and click Next and click Finish on the next screen. 

Figure 3.

Now you should see Employees in Data Sources window. See Figure 4.

Figure 4.

Note: When you add a DataSource to the project, the designer adds the EmployeeBindingSource to the designer, which will play a major role later.

Step 4. Bind Data Source with Report

Now open Report1.rdlc file and drag and drop a Table from the Toolbox to the report designer. Add Name, Address, Age, and Ssn items from the DataSource to the second row of the table. See Figure 5.

Note: First row in the table is Header and third row in the table is Footer. The second row is the Details row. Make sure you do not drop the items on the First and Third rows of the table, otherwise you will see only one record in your report.

Figure 5.

Now you can format the table the way you want by right clicking on the table, column, or a cell and select Properties item.

Step 5. Binding EmployeeBindingSource and Data

Now last step is to bind EmployeeBindingSource with the Employee data. If you remember, we added a GetEmployees method to the Company class that returns all the Employees in that company.

Now we simply call GetEmployees, which returns a collection and set DataSource property of EmployeeBindingSource as seen in Listing 3.

private void Form1_Load(object sender, EventArgs e)


Company company = new Company();

      EmployeeBindingSource.DataSource = company.GetEmployees();    



Listing 3.

Step 6. Build and Run

Now build and run the application. The output looks like Figure 6.

Figure 6.


In this article, I discussed how we could take advantage of the ReportViewer control to display a generic collection of object to generate reports.

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