Choosing OfficeWriter Designer or Designer .NET


OfficeWriter Designer is an add-on for Microsoft Excel and Microsoft Word that allows users to create new RDL reports and design pre-existing reports inside of Excel or Word. Until OfficeWriter 8.6, the original OfficeWriter Designer was the only tool available with this functionality.

However, as of OfficeWriter 8.6, SoftArtisans will include a second, new version of OfficeWriter Designer called the OfficeWriter Designer .NET. The OfficeWriter Designer .NET is a completely rewritten version of its predecessor, created from .NET/C# using VSTO (Visual Studio Tools for Office run time).

Benefits of OfficeWriter Designer .NET

  • Office 64-bit support
  • No dependencies on COM/VBA
  • More robust handling of modifications to queries in Visual Studio/Report Builder
  • Better parameter support with the View functionality, including support for cascading parameters

Which Designer Should I Use?

The new OfficeWriter Designer .NET does not currently support all of the features of the previous Designer. For full functionality support, use the original OfficeWriter Designer. Please see the feedback section below for more information about submitting requests for new features.

The following OfficeWriter Designer features are not yet available in the Designer .NET:

  • Support for SSRS 2005 or earlier
  • Support for RDL’s made from the Designer MS Query integration (i.e. RDLs are created in Excel/Word)
  • Support for Microsoft Word
  • The ability to edit or add new OfficeWriter Reporting Services formulas. Designer .NET preserves SSRS formulas created in the old Designer, but does not provide a way to create or edit the formulas.

Note for SharePoint users: If you are using SSRS in SharePoint integrated mode, the OfficeWriter Designer .NET cannot directly retrieve/publish/view reports that are stored in SharePoint report libraries, so files will need to be downloaded/uploaded from/to SharePoint directly. Reports will need to be exported directly from SharePoint.

Both the OfficeWriter Designer .NET and the original OfficeWriter Designer are available for download from our product updates page or through our free evaluation.


SoftArtisans is looking for feedback about which features you would like to see! If you have a support contract with us, contact us here . If your company does not have support, submit a feature request. If you are interested in purchasing a support contract, please check out our options.

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