Business Intelligence Development Studio (BIDS) or Report Builder (RB)?

by | Oct 9, 2013 | ConfigMgr, SQL Server Reporting Services

Last updated on August 6th, 2022 at 03:57 pm

I often get asked why I always use Business Intelligence Development Studio (BIDS) instead of Report Builder (RB), so this blog post will help to identify some of the reasons why I prefer BIDS to RB.

Business Intelligence Development Studio vs Report Builder

You can work on multiple reports at a time.You can only work on one report at time.
You can cut and paste between reports. This feature is not available.
You can easily create drill-down links.Drill-down links can be done, but not easily.
You have complete control over everything within the report. You can control almost everything within the report.

If you are creating a lot of reports and want to keep them organized then I recommend BIDS. However, if you are only going to create a few reports, then you may want to go with RB as it has a closer look and feel to other Microsoft Office products like Word.

The following table gives you a list of Business Intelligence Development Studio and Report Builder versions that are compatible with each SQL version.

SQL VersionBIDS VersionRB Version
SQL 2005BIDS 2005RB 1.0
SQL 2008BIDS 2005 & 2008RB 1.0 & 2.0
SQL 2008 R2BIDS 2005, 2008, & 2008 R2RB 1.0, 2.0 & 3.0
SQL 2012 BIDS 2005, 2008, 2008 R2 & 2012RB 1.0, 2.0 & 3.0


You can quickly see from the table above that if you want to make a report that works with all versions of SQL (and Configuration Manager), you will need to user either BIDS 2005 or RB 1.0. It should also be noted that both BIDS and RB have no license requirements, at least as far as I am aware.

I recommend that you install the highest version of Business Intelligence Development Studio for the version(s) of SQL / SCCM you plan to support. In my case it is BIDS 2005 because I still do a lot of work with SCCM 2007 / SQL 2005. Don’t forget that you can subscribe to my RRS feed to stay on top of the latest trips and tricks. If you have any questions, please feel free to touch base @Garthmj.

Business Intelligence Development Studio vs Report Builder