In certain circumstances, the ActiveReports designer that integrates with the Visual Studio IDE does not display. Here are the possible causes, and how to fix the issue.

Visual Studio Integration Issue

To check: Create a new ActiveReports project. Does the designer display? If not, the designer integration may not have occurred during installation or may have become corrupted.

To fix: Close Visual Studio, uninstall ActiveReports, and reinstall it.

Project or Report Issue

To check: Create a new ActiveReports project. Does the designer display? If so, the project may have invalid  or missing assembly references, or the code-based Section report may have invalid code in the designer-generated code.

To fix assembly references: If you upgraded ActiveReports since the project was created, check the project References. If the references have the Specific Version property set to true, the specified Version might not exist on your machine. Here are some things you can do.

For each ActiveReports assembly reference:

  1. In the Solution Explorer, select it.
  2. In the Properties window, set the Specific Version to false. (Or change the Version property to match the version on your machine.)

An ActiveReports reference is selected in the Solution Explorer, and the Specific Version and Version properties are highlighted in the Properties window.

Compare your project with a new ActiveReports project:

  1. Create a new ActiveReports project.
  2. Compare the references in the new project with your problem project.
  3. Add any missing references to your project and make sure that the version is correct. (For example, the designer won’t display if the System.Drawing.dll reference is missing.)

To fix invalid code: In Section Reports (code-based), the designer won’t display if the designer-generated code (see below) doesn’t reconcile with the report controls added using the designer. This can occur if you manually modify designer-generated code in the *.Designer.vb or *.Designer.cs file associated with the report.

We highly recommend that you never modify designer-generated code in ActiveReports. If you only made small changes, you may be able to fix the report by manually restoring the code to its exact original state, but this is not always possible.

To identify designer-generated code: We try to make it easy to spot the “untouchable” code by providing comments like the following.

  • #region ActiveReport Designer generated code
  • /// Required method for Designer support – do not modify /// the contents of this method with the code editor.
  • // Required for Windows Form Designer support
  • ‘NOTE: The following procedure is required by the ActiveReports Designer ‘It can be modified using the ActiveReports Designer. ‘Do not modify it using the code editor.
  • “ActiveReports Designer generated code”

A *.Designer.cs file is open to show the designer-generated code.

Target Framework

ActiveReports 10 requires Microsoft® .NET Framework Version 3.5 or higher. The designer won’t perform properly if a lower version is targeted.

To check: In the Solution Explorer, right-click the project and select Properties. On the Application tab of the properties that appear in the Visual Studio workspace, look at the Target framework property.

The project properties are open to show the Target framework property.

To fix: Change the target framework of the project to version 3.5 or higher.

Here is a Microsoft page with more information. MSDN How to: Target a Version of the .NET Framework