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File Formats for the SQL Server 2012 (Denali) Reporting Services Web Services Renderer

One of the major new features in SQL Server Reporting Services (SSRS) 2012 is the ability to render Excel files and Word files in the XML based 2007 file format (.xlsx and .docx). Previous versions of SSRS rendered Excel and Word files into the old 2003 formats (.xls and .doc) Creating one of these output files can be done through the reporting UI by using the Export button. The new formats are used automatically, and you need to perform server configuration in order to use the older formats. 

However, if you are using the Reporting Services web service, nothing changes. The Render method of the ReportExecution2005 web service would appear something like below:

report = rs.Render("EXCEL", deviceinfo, _
extension, mimeType, encoding, warnings, streamIDs)

The first argument is the file format to render into. With SSRS, the above code will render into the 2003 file format (.xls). The web service defaults to the old format.

I was unable to find any documentation at all on the correct argument to get the new file formats, so I poked around a little with my debugger and the ListRenderingExtensions method. As a result, I thought I’d share what I think is the comprehensive list of rendering formats for Reporting Services in SQL Server 2012. These are taken straight from the code.




XML file with report data


Null Renderer


CSV (comma delimited)


Data Feed




Remote GDI+ file


HTML 4.0


MHTML (web archive)


Excel 2003




RPL Renderer


TIFF file


Word 2003




Therefore, if I want to render to the description “Excel” the argument needs to be “EXCELOPENXML”, and to render to the description “Excel 2003” the argument is “EXCEL”. That’s not at all confusing.

In any event, hopefully this helps someone (likely me in the future..)


  1. Anonymous Anonymous

    This helped a lot as MS used the denali Engine for SQL Azure Reporting in the Cloud and switched off EXCEL 2003. So there was just a nice Unsupported Extension error message.

  2. Anonymous Anonymous

    Cool stuff! This greatly helps me working out my problem. Thanks dude!

  3. Anonymous Anonymous

    EXCELOPENXML renders the file as Excel 2007. Is there a new format available to render the file as Excel 2010 ?

  4. Excel 2010 and 2013 use the same format as 2007

  5. Anonymous Anonymous

    So if i wanted to to be a pdf could i do the following?

    pdfDoc ? “PDFOPENXML”;

  6. Anonymous Anonymous

    Extremely useful. Thank you very much!

  7. Anonymous Anonymous

    Thanks for blogging this! Helped out!

  8. Anonymous Anonymous

    Thank you John! This was very useful info…

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