Send an Email with a PDF attached

There are many posts on how to automatically generate of a PDF receipt and email it by leveraging SSRS. Here is how it went for me.

  1. Create a report that shows the details required.
  2. Create a parameters table.
  3. Subscribe to the report using the parameters table.
  4. Create a stored-procedure to populate and fire the subscription.

On a version of SQL Server Reporting Services (SSRS) that supports data-driven-subscriptions (DDS) I created a report called ‘SingleInvoice’ with one input parameter ‘invoice number’.

Outside of this report, in preparation for the DDS, I created a data source pointing to the local [ReportServer] database.

Within the [ReportServer] database I created a table called [dbo].[InvoiceParams]

CREATE TABLE [dbo].[InvoiceParams](
	[InvoiceNumber] [VARCHAR](100) NULL,
	[ToEmailAddress] [VARCHAR](200) NULL,
	[CCEmailAddress] [VARCHAR](200) NULL,
	[BccEmailAddress] [VARCHAR](200) NULL,
	[ReplyToEmailAddress] [VARCHAR](200) NULL,
	[IncludeReport] [BIT] NULL,
	[RenderFormat] [VARCHAR](20) NULL,
	[Priority] [VARCHAR](15) NULL,
	[Subject] [VARCHAR](150) NULL,
	[Comment] [VARCHAR](150) NULL,
	[IncludeLink] [BIT] NULL,
	[Active] [BIT] NULL,
	[DateInserted] [DATETIME] NOT NULL

ALTER TABLE [dbo].[InvoiceParams] ADD  DEFAULT (NULL) FOR [CCEmailAddress]
ALTER TABLE [dbo].[InvoiceParams] ADD  DEFAULT (NULL) FOR [BccEmailAddress]
ALTER TABLE [dbo].[InvoiceParams] ADD  DEFAULT (NULL) FOR [ReplyToEmailAddress]
ALTER TABLE [dbo].[InvoiceParams] ADD  DEFAULT ((1)) FOR [IncludeReport]
ALTER TABLE [dbo].[InvoiceParams] ADD  DEFAULT ('PDF') FOR [RenderFormat]
ALTER TABLE [dbo].[InvoiceParams] ADD  DEFAULT ('Normal') FOR [Priority]
ALTER TABLE [dbo].[InvoiceParams] ADD  DEFAULT ((0)) FOR [IncludeLink]
ALTER TABLE [dbo].[InvoiceParams] ADD  DEFAULT ((1)) FOR [Active]
ALTER TABLE [dbo].[InvoiceParams] ADD  DEFAULT (GETDATE()) FOR [DateInserted]

To simplify the stored procedure I defined default values for all the columns I would not be dynamically populating.

Next I created a Data-driven subscription on the report with a schedule in the past – so it would never fire. For Destination I chose E-Mail.

Within the subscription I edited the dataset and chose the previously created shared data source [ReportServer].

I added this query before clicking ‘Apply’….

FROM dbo.InvoiceParams
WHERE Active = 1;

Back in the New Subscription form, I completed the Delivery options like this …

Within the user database I created this stored-procedure …

  Author:		Richard Smith
  Create date:	10 Jul 2020
  Description:	To Email PDF receipts - demo version
  Test: Exec [dbo].[EmailReceipts] 'INV123456789',

ALTER PROC [dbo].[EmailReceipts]
    @InvoiceNumber VARCHAR(100),
    @ToEmailAddress VARCHAR(200),
    @Subject VARCHAR(150) = 'test subject',
    @Comment VARCHAR(150) = 'test body',
    @SubscriptionID NVARCHAR(260) = '987654321' 
                       /* Report = "SingleInvoice" */

/* 1 Save the inputs */

    INSERT INTO [ReportServer].[dbo].[InvoiceParams] 
            (InvoiceNumber, ToEmailAddress, [Subject], Comment)
    VALUES (@InvoiceNumber, @ToEmailAddress, @Subject, @Comment);

/* 2 Trigger subscription. Which will send the report (+ inputs) to the email-subsystem-queue */

    EXEC [ReportServer].[dbo].[AddEvent] @EventType = 'TimedSubscription', @EventData = @SubscriptionID;
    WAITFOR DELAY '00:00:10';

/* 3 If no longer in queue, flag as sent */

    IF NOT EXISTS (SELECT 1 FROM [ReportServer].[dbo].[Event] WHERE EventData = @SubscriptionID)
        UPDATE [ReportServer].[dbo].[InvoiceParams] 
        SET Active = 0
        WHERE InvoiceNumber = @InvoiceNumber
        AND ToEmailAddress = @ToEmailAddress;

/* 4 Manage the log */

	DELETE FROM [ReportServer].[dbo].[InvoiceParams] WHERE DateInserted < GETDATE()-30;
	SELECT * FROM [ReportServer].[dbo].[InvoiceParams] ORDER BY DateInserted DESC;


When executed with an email address and invoice number this stored procedure will send an email to the email address with the PDF invoice attached.


To find @SubcriptionID I used this …

SELECT SCH.SubscriptionID
FROM [ReportServer].[dbo].[Catalog] CAT
JOIN [ReportServer].[dbo].[ReportSchedule] SCH
  ON CAT.ItemID = SCH.ReportID
WHERE CAT.Path= '/ReportPath/ReportName';

Re run Subscriptions

When an email server failed overnight I used this script to generate the commands to re-send reports to subscribers …

-- RerunFailedSubscriptions.sql

-- generate the commands to resend report-emails that failed for some reason

select s.LastStatus, LastRunTime, 'exec sp_start_job @job_name = ''' + cast( as varchar(40)) + '''' [Command To Re-run the Job]
from msdb.dbo.sysjobs j  
join  msdb.dbo.sysjobsteps js on js.job_id = j.job_id 
join  [ReportServer$REPORTS].[dbo].[Subscriptions] s  on js.command like '%' + cast(s.subscriptionid as varchar(40)) + '%' 
where s.LastStatus like 'Failure sending mail%';

A Report that uses its location

A customer had many copies of the same report – one for each site. And the application database had multiple copies of each table – one for each site. The table names were all appended with the sites name EG: “WP London_SalesHeader”, “WP Barcelona_SalesHeader” etc.

In Report Manager there was a folder for each site, containing sub-folders for different categories of report (EG: /London/Sales, OR /London/Production).

This is a simplified account of how I created a Report that returned only information specific to its location.

In Report Builder I created a hidden parameter called @site of type Text with no “Available Values” and its “Default Values” using the global variable ReportFolder.

As the output from this built-in variable would be like “\Paris\Sales” I had to create an expression for the “Default Value” of @site searching through each site name in turn …

=IIf(Globals!ReportFolder.Contains("Barcelona"),"WP Barcelona",
IIf(Globals!ReportFolder.Contains("Paris"),"WP Paris", "WP London"))

Finally, in the report query I derived the table name using the @site parameter.

declare @cmd varchar(max) = 
'select	[SalesCode],
from	[Production].[dbo].[' + @site + '_SalesHeader]'


(NB: As a best-practice I displayed the value of @site, along with the other parameter choices, in the report sub-title.)

Recover deleted chart axis

I deleted my Chart date/time axis for a cleaner look – but then changed my mind .


Within Report Builder 3 I recovered it by

  1. making the ‘Properties’ pane visible …


2. Clicking on the chart, then in the Properties pane navigating to Chart, Chart Areas …


3. I clicked on the ellipses (“…”) which brought up a chart-area properties box. Again I clicked the ellipses (next to Axis, Category Axis) …


4. Then changed the Visibility to ‘True’ …