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Pentaho Report Designer

Parent article

Pentaho Report Designer is a sophisticated report creation tool that you can use standalone, or as part of the larger Pentaho Business Analytics distribution. It enables professionals to create highly detailed, print-quality reports based on adequately prepared data from virtually any data source.

Report Designer is one of several ways to create reports with Pentaho software. Through the Pentaho Server's Web-based Pentaho User Console, you can also use the Interactive Reporting interface, or you can integrate the Pentaho Reporting engine (on which Report Designer is built) into your own software.

This section covers all of the major Report Designer features and functions, from adding a data source to working with conditional formatting and formulas. You can read it cover-to-cover to attain a reasonably comprehensive Report Designer education, or you can use it strictly as a reference to consult when you run into an operational challenge.

Get started with the Report Designer

How you start Report Designer depends on which platform you are using Windows, Linux, or OS X.

  • On Windows

    If you used the Pentaho Business Analytics installer available to you through your subscription, you will have a Start menu category for all of your Pentaho applications. To run Report Designer, click the Report Designer item in the Pentaho Business Analytics subdirectory in the Pentaho application folder. Alternatively, you can run the pentaho\design-tools\report-designer\report-designer.exe from Windows Explorer or the command prompt.

  • On Linux

    The Business Analytics installer does not create program entries in the K menu or Applications menu in Linux desktop environments, so you will have to start Report Designer by navigating to the pentaho/design-tools/report-designer/ directory and running the script. You can do this from your file manager, or from a terminal window.

  • On OS X

    The Mac installation procedure does not create program entries in the dock, so you will have to start Report Designer by opening your Applications folder, then the report-designer sub-folder, then running

Configuration files

Upon first launch, Report Designer creates a .pentaho directory in the current user's home directory, and populates it with the configuration subdirectories and files.

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Tour the interface

You can tour the user interface before moving on to more complex tasks.

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Create a report

To create a report in Report Designer, follow this process.


  1. Connect to a data source (usually a database, yet you can also pull data from a flat file). Learn more

  2. Get your data with a query. Learn more

  3. Arrange data elements in the Report Designer workspace. Learn more

  4. Apply formatting to report elements. Learn more

  5. Add chart elements. Learn more

  6. Create formulas or calculated fields using data retrieved from your query. Learn more

  7. Publish the report, either to the Pentaho Server, or locally as a PDF or other supported file format. Learn more


Your report will consist mostly of data retrieved from a database query that you will create through Report Design Wizard, SQL Query Designer, MQL Query Builder, or by hand. Once you have a dataset, you are able to further constrain it to show specific details, and then move on to report layout and design.

Advanced topics

The following topics help to extend your knowledge of Report Designer beyond basic setup and use:


See our list of common problems and resolutions.

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