Developing SSRS reports without buying Visual Studio

I have been trying to find a way to develop SSRS reports without requiring a Visual Studio license. This is because we have a group of people that I work with that don’t need Visual Studio for anything else, but have been trained to create SSRS reports and have SQL experience.  I had expected that Visual Studio Express would most likely work, but I wasn’t able to find any success with that.

In the last 2 weeks, Microsoft has released  the new Visual Studio 2013 Community. This is a free version that is basically the equivalent of Visual Studio 2013 Professional. If you qualify for it, and most people probably do, then I highly suggest it. You can get it at VS Express is being replaced by Community edition.  This will be a great option if you are an individual user, or in a business situation where there are 5 or less developers. The limitations set on businesses for using this product are:

  1. Can be used by 5 or less developers without restrictions if you have less than 250 PC’s and make less than $1M annual revenue.
  2. Can be used by unlimited users for classroom learning or open source development even if you have more than 250 PC and make more than $1M.

Those restrictions make it impossible for us to use Visual Studio 2013 Community. If you are in a business that exceeds 250 PCs  or has more than $1M annual revenue and you still need a free development environment for SSRS development, I’ve found a solution by using Visual Studio 2013 Integrated Shell and installing BIDS.

This is completely free and easy to setup.

1) Download and install Visual Studio 2013 Isolated Shell (is required before installing integrated shell) –

2) Download and install Visual Studio 2103 Integrated Shell –

3) Download and install MSST – BIDS for VS 2013 –


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