Using SQL Server Report Builder with Internet Explorer 9

One of the unsung heroes of the Microsoft Business Intelligence stack is Report Builder. Report Designer has been part of Business Intelligence Development Studio (BIDS) for quite some time, but BIDS is more of a designer tool. In order to get report design into the hands of power users, Microsoft provided Report Builder initially with a reduced set of functionality SQL Server 2005, but with Report Builder 3.0 which ships with SQL Server 2008 R2, it’s just as capable as BIDS. When running in SharePoint Integrated mode, you can design reports as if they were any other type of Office document.

Unfortunately, if you edit a report, you may be greeted with the message: “To use Report Builder, you must install .Net Framework 3.5 on this computer.”

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Report Builder does require .Net Framework 3.5, but you’ll see this message even when you have it installed. Clicking on the “Install .Net 3.5” will reinstall it, but won’t help.

This only happens when using Internet Explorer 9, and is due to the fact that it doesn’t correctly detect the Framework’s presence. This doesn’t happen with any other browser, including previous versions of IE. It can be worked around by setting the browser’s compatibility mode.

To do that, either press the F12 key, or turn on developer tools from IE’s Tools menu:

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Doing so will bring up the developer tools window, where you can set the broswer mode. Setting it to anything other than IE9 will work.

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Just the act of setting it should start the Report Builder download process. The setting will persist for the life of the browser window, so you’ll need to do it again the next time that you edit the report.

I’d love to hear of any better fixes to the problem, but for now, this lets you get the job done.

2 thoughts on “Using SQL Server Report Builder with Internet Explorer 9

  1. sebastien

    Thank you!!
    I first installed, disabled, uninstalled, reinstalled following some recommendations on the web.
    Didn’t think of switching to ie8 mode. It’s not the first time I use this workaround to solve other issues with IE9, while other browsers handle the same situations smoothly.

  2. Bill

    I know this post is over a year old but I still run into this issue everyday!
    We have several machines running Windows 7 32 & 64 bit with IE 10 installed and this is still borked!
    Go Figure…

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