Report Parameter order in SSRS

Is the order of parameters important in SQL Server Reporting Services reports?  If you’ve got nested parameters (parameters that derive their value from one or more other parameters), it is very important! In this post, I will show that report parameter order in SSRS matters a lot when parameters are dependent on each other.

Report Parameter order in SSRS

Using a trivial report example, I’m going to demonstrate how the order of parameters matters a great deal when those parameters interact with one another.  For this example, I’ll to create a simple sales report in SSRS against the AdventureWorks database to retrieve a list of our highest revenue-generating customers in descending order of revenue.  The report will include a parameter to allow the user to select the number of customers to be displayed on the report.

I’ll start off by creating the report in BIDS, and will add the two parameters:

Report Parameter Order in SSRS

The first parameter will control the number of customer records to be displayed, and I’ll set this to be a static list of possible values (in our case, either 10, 25, or 50 records).  The second parameter will contain the SQL query to be sent to the database, and will be partially derived from the first by including in the query the number of records to be returned:

=”SELECT TOP ” & Parameters!NumCust.Value.ToString() & ” Person.LastName ” &
” + ‘,’ + Person.FirstName [CustomerName], Customer.CustomerID, ” &
” SUM(SalesOrderHeader.SubTotal) AS TotalSales FROM Sales.SalesOrderHeader ” &
” INNER JOIN Sales.Customer ON Sales.SalesOrderHeader.CustomerID = ” &
” Sales.Customer.CustomerID INNER JOIN Person.Person ON Person.BusinessEntityID ” &
” = Customer.PersonID GROUP BY Person.LastName + ‘,’ + Person.FirstName, ” &
” Customer.CustomerID ORDER BY TotalSales DESC”

After adding the three output fields to the data set, I should be able to execute this query and retrieve the expected results.


No problems at all.  However, let’s say that I had created the parameters in the reverse order, such that the one containing the query appears before the parameter specifying the number of records:


Now when I attempt to execute this report, I receive a very generic error message:


So obviously, the report parameter order in SSRS is critical if the value of one of them is based on another.  Fortunately, it’s very easy to change the order of parameters after they have been created using the positional up/down arrows just above the Report Data workspace:


Since the resulting error message didn’t provide much information for troubleshooting, this type of problem could be difficult to track down, especially if there are a lot of parameters in the report.


In this brief post, I have shown that report parameter order in SSRS matters a lot when parameters have dependencies on one another. Hopefully, this reminder will help someone avoid spending a lot of time tracking down parameter order problems.

About the Author

Tim Mitchell
Tim Mitchell is a data architect and consultant who specializes in getting rid of data pain points. Need help with data warehousing, ETL, reporting, or training? If so, contact Tim for a no-obligation 30-minute chat.

1 Comment on "Report Parameter order in SSRS"

  1. Pingback from Conditional Default Values in SSRS « Tim Mitchell's SQL Server BI Blog

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