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How to use the Document Outline window when designing reports in NAV 2009 and beyond

When designing a RDLC report design in Visual Studio there is an interesting window that can help during development. Especially when you are using multiple, nested controls. It is called the Document Outline window and can be opened like this:

The Document Outline window:

The example above is the Document Outline window for report 206, The Sales Invoice. As you can see in the Document Outline the report exists out of a Body and Header. The Body contains a List and the List contains a lot of tables and a textbox. And so on…

Not only can you clearly see the Outline of the report, you can also access properties of report elements. For example:

Another great use for the Document Outline window is when you nest controls and do not find them anymore, or cannot select them anymore or you don't know how it was done.

Let me give you an example. You have to debug a report developed by someone else. It is a report showing the Item Inventory by Location, by Item. You open the report in design and notice there's a matrix and in the matrix there's the Inventory and besides the Inventory, there's an image being shown:

How is that possible? How did they put the image inside the same textbox as the Inventory in the Matrix?

Well, let's open the Document Outline for this report, what do we see:

Inside the Matrix there's a Rectangle, and inside the Rectangle there's a Textbox and an image control. Cool!

Furthermore, when I select a control in the Document Outline, it also gets selected in the Report:

It is also very handy when controls are hidden behind each other. Personally, I think this Document Outline of great help when developing reports for the Role Tailored Client.

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