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;


The stored procedure input parameter @SubscriptionID was found within the SSMS Job Activity Monitor (it was the only job that had never ran).

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.

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’ …