Use the Expression dialog box to write Microsoft Visual Basic expressions for report item properties. You can use expressions to set many properties, including color, font, and borders. At run time, the report processor evaluates expressions and substitutes the result for the value of the property.
An expression can be simple or complex. You can type simple expressions directly in a text box on the design surface or in a dialog box. To create complex expressions, use the Expression dialog box. You can create one expression at a time. For more information, see Expressions (Report Builder and SSRS).
The Expression dialog box includes a code window, category tree, category items, description pane, and example pane.
The Expression dialog box is context-sensitive; the category items and descriptions change according to the expression category that you are working with. It supports IntelliSense, statement completions, function call examples, and syntax coloring to help you detect syntax errors.
Expressions begin with an equal sign (=) and can include constants, literals, operators, and references to built-in fields, built-in collections, built-in functions, Visual Basic run-time library functions, .NET Framework common language runtime classes, and custom functions. The following list describes the categories and values you can add to an expression.
Set expression for: <PropertyName>
The name of the property that you are defining an expression for. You can also set this property, by name, in the Properties pane.
Provides a list of predefined values valid for this property for properties that are based on constants. For example, a property based on color shows valid color names. For a property that is a Boolean data type, values are True and False.
Not all items that support expressions can be set to a constant. If a property cannot be set to constant value, the description pane provides this information.
Use the code window in the top pane to type an expression. When you open the Expression dialog box, the code window contains the expression. You can replace or revise the expression. You can add function calls, operators, constants, fields, parameters, items from the global collections, and references to custom code. The code window displays your changes as you make them.
A wavy red underline indicates a syntax error. Hover over the underlined text to see the error message.
When you type in global collection terms followed by a punctuation separator, you will see a drop-down list of available members or properties. From the drop-down list, you can type the first few characters followed by a tab to automatically fill the selection.
When you type in a function name followed by a left parenthesis, you will see a tooltip that provides information about the parameters and function return values.
Displays categories of expressions. Choosing a category establishes a context for creating an expression and changes the list of valid values in the Item pane. For example, for an expression for a text box value, expand Common functions and select Aggregate functions to display Avg, Count, and other functions in the Item pane.
Displays the list of valid values for the selected category. Double-click on an item to add the expression text for this item at the insertion point in the code window.
Depending on the category and item you select, the third pane contains a description, a sample expression, or a list of valid values. Drag the edge of the dialog box to widen the sample area.