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Watermarking reports in Reporting Services

Reporting Services will not watermark reports to designate a document's status. Get other options for watermarking your reports in this tip.

If you generate reports in various applications, there's a good chance you're familiar with watermarks: semi-transparent logos printed in the page's background to mark a document in a certain way. Watermarks are typically used to designate a document's status, possibly as a draft or for internal distribution only. Watermarks are better for this sort of thing than a cover page or a header/footer line because they are commingled with the document's text, making them next to impossible to ignore.

Reporting Services doesn't have a specific way to produce watermarks, but you can create them manually.

Watermark at the printer level

Look at the capacities of the printer driver you use to create a paper copy of the report. Many printers, even low-end ones, have the ability to add watermarks as part of the print process. This is usually defined in the printer driver's settings. It can be configured by creating a separate instance of an existing printer driver and then configuring that instance to add a watermark to all output. Adding another instance of a printer driver does not take much system overhead, so this is economical and convenient. To produce the watermarked edition of a document, just print to the right instance of the printer driver.

Watermark at the report level

If you want to add the watermark on the report level, there are a few ways to do this. You may simply create a bitmap with the appropriate watermark on it and set that as a background image for the header, body or footer of the report. Another approach would be to create a textbox behind the report grid and place the needed watermarking there. In both cases, you would probably need to set the background for all cells on the grid to "Transparent" so that the background items would show through; any colored items (even if they use white) would overprint the image.

Another possibility is to create a textbox for the watermark, make the background of that textbox transparent, and bring it to the top of the Z-order for the report, so it remains on top of everything else.

About the author: Serdar Yegulalp is editor of the Windows Power Users Newsletter. Check it out for the latest advice and musings on the world of Windows network administrators -- and please share your thoughts as well!

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