How to use a Delimited String in a Multi-valued Parameter

I’ve seen this issue a lot lately.  There is a need to feed a comma delimited string of values into a multi-value parameter in an SSRS report.  There is a simple way to do this.


Your main report query should be set up to expect a string of values in the parameter. For example:

  FROM DIM_Product
  WHERE Item_No IN (@ITEM)

The parameter should be set up as text, but NOT allow multiple values.


You can set this up as you wish to meet your purpose, but for demonstration I will set up two groups of comma delimited strings as available values.


I have set up a second data set to feed these default values to the parameter.

SELECT '11000B,2200,17000' AS ITEMNMBR

Now comes the magic.  On the Dataset Properties for your main report dataset, on the Parameters tab, edit the expression for the Parameter Value.


Write this in the parameter expression:  =split(Parameters!Item.Value,",")


This will take the comma delimited string as input, split it into individual values and it will get used in the IN clause of the main query that we set up at the beginning of this post.


Viola, the report filters on a string of values.


How To Set and Use Variables in SSIS Execute SQL Task

I couldn’t find any step-by-step resources on this so I thought I’d blog it.  This is done in SQL Server 2008 R2. In this scenario I will use a SQL Statement to populate an SSIS variable, and then use that variable in another SQL Statement.

Create your variables

If the variables window isn’t visible already, from the menu select View –> Other Windows –> Variables.


This will bring up your variables window on the left hand side of your screen.  You should be able to tab between it and the Toolbox.  You may have to pin it to your screen first.



I have already created some variables in the screenshot above.  To create a variable, first decide on the scope of the variable, whether it is the entire package, a container or a specific task.  I normally scope all of my variables to the package, since you can’t see the variables in the window unless you have selected the scoped object.  I find it easier to manage variables having them all in one place.  I have not had any compelling reason not to do it this way, although I’m sure there are cases where you may want them scoped differently. 

Before creating the variable you must select the item for it’s scope. In this case select the canvas of the Control Flow which will permit you to scope the variable to the entire package.  Then create the variable by clicking on the Add Variable button at the top of the Variables window.



Give your variable a Name, a Data Type and a Value.  In this case we are working with EndDate, and although you would want to set it as Date, there are some compatibility issues when using the Date data type for a variable and then pulling into a SQL parameter.  I have found it is best to set the date as a string and then manipulate it from there.  Set your EndDate attributes as shown, with the Scope being the name of your package.


Populate an SSIS variable using a SQL statement

From the Toolbox, drag an Execute SQL Task onto your Control Flow.  Double click on it and set the following properties:

On the General tab:

  1. Set the ResultSet to Single row
  2. Select your Connection to the database where you will run your SQL Statement
  3. Enter your SQL Statement


On the Result Set tab:

  1. In the Result Name key in the name of the field being return in your SQL Statement.  In this case I named the field EndDate
  2. In the Variable Name select the user variable you created.


Use the Variable in a SQL Statement

From the Toolbox, drag an Execute SQL Task onto your Control Flow. Double click on it and set the following properties:

On the General tab:

  1. Select your Connection to the database where you will run your SQL Statement
  2. Enter your SQL Statement, placing a ? where each variable is to be used.


In this case I need to add two Parameters to the Parameter Mapping tab, since I have used two question marks in my SQL Statement.  Even if you are using the same Variable multiple times, you still need to enter them separately on the Parameter Mapping tab, once for each time they appear in the SQL Statement.  This is the only way to identify which parameter is being used for which question mark.  Parameters are made much easier in 2012.

Here’s the tricky bit which isn’t at all self explanatory.

On the Parameter Mapping tab: 

  1. Select the user variable in the Variable Name drop down which corresponded to the first variable (?) being used in your SQL Statement.
  2. Set the Data Type to NVARCHAR, since we are using a string variable. (This is the spot where the data type compatibility didn’t mesh, which is why we opted for string).  
  3. Set the ParameterName to 0.  This indicates the order in which the parameter is appearing in the SQL statement.  You can enter them in the pane in any order you want, but the ParameterName must contain numbers starting from 0 to however many parameters you have minus one.  So if you have two parameters you must have one ParameterName = 0 and one ParameterName = 1.  You can reverse the order, but they must both exist or the task will fail.


How to Use a Current User Filter to filter an SSRS Report Web part in SharePoint (using a list of Available Values)

It is not an uncommon requirement to be able to publish an SSRS report to SharePoint and then use it in a Web part filtered by the user viewing it.  You include the domainuserid in your main report query and filter the query on this value using a report parameter where the user value can by typed in.

However, in many cases the report does double duty as a report stored in a Report library, where users could choose multiple or ALL users.  In that case you want to have a list of Available Values in your parameter so that someone viewing the report in the library can pick from a list of users rather than have to know everyone’s user id.  The tricky part is formatting the domainuserid in your parameter so SharePoint can use it, and adding yourself to the list of available values so you can test that the Web part works as expected.

These are easy to do, but it took me a little bit of time to figure it out, so I’m blogging it here.


The SharePoint Current User Filter expects the domainuserid in the parameter list of available values to be all lowercase.  So when creating the SQL Query for  need to convert them to lower case.  You also want to add yourself to the list for testing purposes, otherwise you will get an error when looking at the Web part in SharePoint.  You can do this using a UNION clause.  Your query for the list of available values should look like this:

‘mydomain’ + LOWER(myuserid) AS UserAccount,
myUserName as UserName
FROM myTable

‘ ALL’ AS UserAccount,
‘ ALL’ AS UserName

‘mydomainmydevuserid’ AS UserAccount,
‘mydevusername’ AS UserName

I won’t go into the details here of how to use ALL in your report, but you can read more here

Configure your user parameter as follows:




Publish your report to the relevant SharePoint library, and navigate to the library and test that the report and the parameter is working as expected.


Add the report to a web part as you normally would.  You would add a web page, and configure a web part to be a SQL Server Reporting Services Report Viewer.  Edit the web part and navigate to the report you created.  Open the Parameters section and click on the Load Parameters button.  You can leave the parameter default as “Use Report Default Value”.  Click Apply and OK.


Add a web part and choose the Current User Filter type from the Filters section.  It will say that it is not connected.


Go back to your Report Viewer web part and from the drop down choose Connections –> Get Report Parameters From –> Current User Filter


A dialog box will pop up where you can choose your User parameter and click on Finish.


Check in your changes and view the results.  You will be able to see your web page with the report filtered on your user name.  As a developer, if you do not have any values in this report you should see the report with no values returned, rather than getting an error.  This is because you added your userid to the list of available values at the beginning of this exercise.  You might want to remove yourself from the list once you have tested that the web part is working correctly.

Filter a Parameter with Long List of Values Using Type Ahead

I have a customer who has huge numbers of SKUs. Their reporting is using an SSAS cube as the data source. When filtering an SSRS report the users have to scroll through many many records to get to the SKU they want.   There is a type-ahead feature built into SSRS but you have to type superfast and hit it exactly in order to make it work.  I came across this great solution, and would like to blog the step-by-step with a cube as datasource. 

The solution is basically to add an additional text parameter which will prefilter the available values in the large parameter list.  This way the user doesn’t have to scroll through the long list to find the item they want, but can produce a shorter picklist, or even reduce the list down to one value if they type the exact SKU in.  They still have to check the box on the item they want, even if they’ve typed it all in, but it is still a good option when dealing with huge lists.

1. Alter your existing Available Values query to include the new pre-filter parameter.

When you created the original parameter in the report BIDS automatically created the dataset for the Available Values in the parameter.


You need to alter this query to use an additional pre-filter text based parameter.

1. Show hidden datasets.  Right click on your data source and select Show Hidden Datasets


2. Find out which dataset is being used by your parameter in the Available Values.  Right click on the parameter and select Parameter Properties.  Select the Available Values tab and find the name of the query being used.


3. Open up the dataset query.  Right click on the dataset you just identified, and select Query.


4. Add a parameter to the query.Click on the parameter button in Query Designer.


Type in the name of the new Parameter you would like to add for the type-ahead prefilter, and put in a Default value.  Don’t worry, you can change the default value in your Parameter Properties later if you wish.


Select OK.

5. Add the highlighted additional line of MDX to your query. Place the line right before the very last FROM [nameofcube], and add a close bracket at the end of the query.  This MDX will further filter your available values based on what is typed into the prefilter you are creating.

WITH MEMBER [Measures].[ParameterCaption] AS [Product].[Style Code].CURRENTMEMBER.MEMBER_CAPTION MEMBER [Measures].[ParameterValue]
AS [Product].[Style Code].CURRENTMEMBER.UNIQUENAME MEMBER [Measures].[ParameterLevel] AS [Product].[Style Code].CURRENTMEMBER.LEVEL.ORDINAL
SELECT {[Measures].[ParameterCaption], [Measures].[ParameterValue], [Measures].[ParameterLevel]} ON COLUMNS , [Product].[Style Code].ALLMEMBERS ON ROWS
FROM ( SELECT (IIF(LEN(@ProductStyleCode_filter) =0, ([[Product].[Style Code].ALLMEMBERS), (FILTER([Product].[Style Code].ALLMEMBERS, INSTR ([Product].[Style Code].CURRENTMEMBER.MEMBER_CAPTION , @ProductStyleCode_filter) > 0)))) ON COLUMNS
FROM [Sales and Inventory])     )  

Click OK to save your Query.

BIDS has created your new paramater for you.  Now you can edit the default value of your parameter if you like, and then test your report. All should be working as expected.

Thanks to Thomas Puch and Ella Maschiach for their blogs on the subject.

How To Default SSRS Parameter to Current Month using an SSAS Data Source

When dealing with report parameters that involve time, I usually like to default the report to the current unit of time used by the report, often month.  When a user views the report in a particular month the parameter will always default to that month, saving the user from having to select it every time.

There are two elements to making this happen.  One is to define the current month in your Time dimension,  and the other is to build the dataset into your report to feed the default for the Time parameters.

1. Define current month in the SSAS Time dimension

I know there is Time functionality built into SSAS cubes, but I still like the flexibility of building attributes into my DIM_Date table in the data warehouse.  In this way it can be used in both cube and SQL queries alike.  I won’t go into details about how the Dim_Date table is created as that is another subject.  The DIM_Date table is rebuilt nightly and an attribute called MonthPeriod identifies whether the date is in Current Month, Previous Month, etc.  You can label any months you like, with your own descriptions.  Some examples are below.


The important thing about this attribute is to ensure that MonthPeriodID for the current month is always 0, and the MonthPeriodID for other months is relative to that. So ‘Current Month –1’ is 1, ‘Current Month –2’ will be 2, etc. This way you can build logic into your reports which relies on the fact that, for example, last month has a MonthPeriodID of 1.  It is critically important that the underlying ids belonging to each description are always the same.  If Current Month is 0 today and changes to 10 tomorrow, the defaults in your reports will not work.  SSRS stores the MDX tuple associated with the description and not the actual description. So when you select ‘Current Month’ in step 3 below, SSRS is storing [TIME].[Month Period].&[0] and not the ‘Current Month’ label.

Once you have this attribute defined in your DIM_Date table and it is being updated nightly, add it to the SSAS cube for use in your reports.

2. Build the default dataset into your report to feed the SSRS Parameter.


When you build the main dataset for the report and add parameters in your dataset,


SSRS automatically creates the dataset for the Available Values for the parameter. You can view these hidden datasets used to feed Available Values by right clicking on [Datasets] in the [Report Data] window in SSRS and selecting [Show Hidden Datasets]. 


You can view and/or edit any of these hidden datasets.


I don’t recommend editing the hidden datasets, since they are created and used by SSRS by default and your changes can sometimes be overwritten if you add additional datasets using the same parameters.  If you wish to customize the Available Values you are better off creating a new dataset with a different name specific to that purpose and then changing Report Parameter Properties to use the new dataset to retrieve the Available Values.


Building the Default Dataset

For this particular report the user can choose Year and then Month Of Year.  The same dataset can be used to feed both the default current year and the current month. 

1. Right click on Datasets in the Report Data window and select Add Dataset.

2. Select the Radio Button ‘Use a dataset embedded in my report’.  I like to use Shared Datasets for this type of thing, but for some reason shared datasets used for defaults with an SSAS data source don’t seem to work when published to SharePoint.  So for now just embed it in the report.  Select (or define) the cube you are using as your Data source, and click on the Query Designer button.


3. From the TIME dimension drag the ‘Month Period’ attribute defined in Part 1 to the filter area of the Query Designer.  Click in the Filter Expression and select ‘Current Month’. Click OK.


4.  Drag Year and Month of Year onto the Query design page.  Right click on the design page and select ‘Include Empty Cells’ so the current attributes will appear when the query is executed.


5. Right click in the Calculated Members area and select ‘New Calculated Member’.  From the Metadata pane drag the Year attribute from the TIME dimension into the Expression pane.  Add to the end of the expression “.CurrentMember.UniqueName”.  Give the Calculated Member a name of ‘YearValue’.  Click OK.


6. Right click on the new calculated member called YearValue and select Add to Query.


7.  Add another calculated member following steps 5 & 6 called MonthOfYearValue. 



8. Your dataset now contains the Label and the underlying MDX tuple needed to feed the default time values to your report parameter.


9. Click OK to close out of the Query Designer.  Give the dataset a name of DefaultYearMonth. Click OK to save the dataset.

10. Double click the TIMEYear parameter in the Paramaters folder of the Report Data window to edit the Report Parameter Properties. Select the Default Values option. Choose the ‘Get values from a query’ radio button.  In the dataset drop down choose the DefaultYearMonth dataset you created.  In the Value field dropdown select YearValue.


11. Do the same as Step 10 for the TIMEMonthOfYear parameter.  Select DefaultYearMonth as the dataset, and MonthOfYearValue for the Value field.

When you preview your report, the parameters will now default to the current year and month.  Going forward the default for the parameter will roll over to whichever month is current.  Users appreciate not having to choose the current month every time they look at a report.


How to Default to ALL in an SSRS Multi-select Parameter

This seems like it should be easy, but SSRS has nothing built in to allow you to do this.  I searched an couldn’t come up with a solution that fit all my requirements for a report. There are ways to default the selection list to every value in the list, but I needed to add the option of ALL to my parameter list, default to ALL, and then most importantly have ALL show up in my header instead of showing every item in the list.  I was determined to find a way, and here is how I did it.

In this example I would like to allow the report to default to ALL Layout Codes, rather than selecting every Layout Code in the list.  there is already a multi-select parameter in the report called Layout_Code, and the main query filters where Layout_Code IN (@Layout_Code)


The first thing to do is add the value ‘ALL’ to your parameter query.  You’ll want it show up at the top of your select list.  A simple way to do this is to put a space before the A to make it sort to the top.

FROM         Your_Table
SELECT     ‘ ALL’ AS Layout_Code
ORDER BY Layout_Code


Edit the where clause in your main query.  If you are using Query Designer in Text mode, simply add this statement.  Be sure to use outer brackets to contain both statements if you have other items in your where clause.

WHERE (‘ ALL’ IN (@Layout_Code))    OR     (Layout_Code IN (@Layout_Code)) )

If you have multiple parameters in your main query are using Query Designer in the View mode rather than Edit Text mode, your WHERE clause will have to return all combinations using AND and OR.  Let Query Designer build your query for you by using outer brackets and replace:

(Layout_Code IN (@Layout_Code))  


(   (‘ ALL’ IN (@Layout_Code))    OR     (Layout_Code IN (@Layout_Code))   )

I suggest you have your WHERE clause already complete before adding the OR, since the results can get confusing. 


You can use this method for cascading parameters where multiple parameters have the ALL value added.  You’ll need to add the OR clause to your underlying parameter queries where applicable.

For example, if you have a parameter preceding the Layout_Code parameter called Layout_Group you will follow the same steps above, plus an additional step to edit the Layout_Code dataset query.

  1. Add ‘ ALL’ to your Layout_Group parameter with a Union clause and add an order by
  2. Edit your main query where clause to use @TopLayoutCode . Adjust the AND/OR in the WHERE clause accordingly.
  3. Edit your cascaded parameter query, in this case Layout_Code, to OR in the where clause.  Adjust the AND/OR accordingly.

Your main query where clause will look like this in the Query Designer View mode:

(‘ ALL’ IN (@Current_Layout_Group)) AND (‘ ALL’ IN (@Layout_Code)) OR
(‘ ALL’ IN (@Current_Layout_Group)) AND (Layout_Code IN (@Layout_Code)) OR
(‘ ALL’ IN (@Layout_Code)) AND (Layout_Group_Current IN (@Current_Layout_Group)) OR
(Layout_Code IN (@Layout_Code)) AND (Layout_Group_Current IN (@Current_Layout_Group))

Your Layout_Code query will look like this

FROM         Your_Table
WHERE     (Layout_Group_Current IN (@Current_Layout_Group)) OR (‘ ALL’ IN (@Current_Layout_Group))UNION
SELECT     ‘ ALL’ AS Layout_Code
ORDER BY Layout_Code


Set the default value for each of your parameters, Layout_Code and Layout_Group, to the value ALL.  Be sure to put a space before the A if you are using this method to sort your list in Step 1.