Inconsistent Column Width in SSRS

The issue I ran into was this: I was in Design mode of a report that I was developing. No matter what I did to change the column width on my columns, in both Preview as well as when I published my report, the column widths were still off. FRUSTRATING!!

After Googling for a couple of days, and coming across some not-so-helpful answers, I finally decided to try one more thing. Being fairly new to SSRS, I decided to search to see what the difference was between a Matrix and a Table. I came across the following definition from BOL:

“Use a matrix to display grouped data and summary information. You can group data by multiple fields or expressions in row and column groups. Matrices provide functionality similar to crosstabs and pivot tables. At run time, as the report data and data regions are combined, a matrix grows horizontally and vertically on the page.”

In laymen’s terms, a Matrix is used if your report can have dynamic columns. If you don’t need that functionality, then a Table will suffice just fine.

At Last! My last-ditch attempt to circumvent this most annoying problem. I did away with my layout having a Matrix as the root, and dropped a Table into Design mode instead, and started building my report. To my delight, I could size the columns any way that I wanted to, and the formatting would stick!

Bottom Line: If you have to use a Matrix because of the reason mentioned above (dynamic columns), then formatting the layout of those columns is going to be a royal pain. If you can get away with using a Table instead, then do it. It will make your life so much easier.

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