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How to: Create a Master-Detail Report Without Coding

  • 4 minutes to read

This tutorial illustrates how to use the SpreadsheetControl’s mail merge functionality to construct a master-detail spreadsheet report without a single line of code.


We have recorded a video available online that follows this step-by-step guide.

To create the Categories-Products master-detail report, follow the steps below.

Create a New Spreadsheet Application

To get started, create a new spreadsheet application with the help of the DevExpress Template Gallery .

  • Start a new project in Visual Studio, select DevExpress Template Gallery, and launch Project Wizard. Select required options for a Winforms Ribbon Form Spreadsheet application and click Create.


    The application will be created automatically.

  • When a new application is ready, click the SpreadsheetControl smart tag in the Visual Studio designer and select Create Mail Merge Bars to add a Mail Merge tab.
  • Select Create Field List Panel to add the Field List Panel panel to the right of the SpreadsheetControl.
  • Select Create Parameters Panel to add the Parameters Panel to the bottom right of the SpreadsheetControl.
  • Run the application.

Bind a Worksheet to Data using Data Source Wizard

  • Create a new workbook. Modify a document by entering captions, changing cell fonts and backgrounds and formatting cell ranges as shown in the following picture.


  • Activate the Mail Merge Design View to display the template structure. To do this, click the Mail Merge Design View button on the Mail Merge tab, in the Design group.
  • Click Add Data Source to invoke Data Source Wizard.
  • Select Databaseas the data source type. Click Next.


  • Select an option to create a new data connection. Click Next.
  • Select the MS Access 97 data provider and locate the database file nwind.mdb in the Data subfolder of the DevExpress demos. Click Next.
  • Select an option that does not save credentials. Click Next.
  • Click Run Query Builder to invoke the Query Designer window that enables you to select data from the data source.
  • Add the Suppliers table and include all columns into the query.


    Click OK to close Query Designer.

  • Click Next to save the query.
  • Click OK to select the newly created data source.
  • Click Manage Relations -> Manage Queries to invoke Query Designer and create a new query for the Products table.
  • Click Manage Relations -> Manage Queries to invoke Query Designer and create a new query for the Order Details table.

Specify Relationships

  • Click Manage Relations to invoke the Master-Detail Relations Editor.
  • Add relations to the Suppliers and Products tables. The editor suggests appropriate relations automatically.


Specify Template Ranges

  • Select the “B3:I13” cell range and click the Detail button on the Mail Merge tab, in the Template Ranges group. This cell range will be repeated for each record of the data source.
  • Click Select Data Member to invoke a dialog to select Suppliers as the data member in the worksheet data source.
  • Specify a header to display above all detail range instances in the resulting worksheet. Select the “B3:I3” range. Click the Header button on the Mail Merge tab.
  • Add a nested level to the detail range to display the detail-level data from the SuppliersProducts child table. Select the “B9:I13” cell range, click the Master-Detail button, and then click Detail Level in the invoked submenu. The DetailLevel0 range will be created.
  • Select Master-Detail->Data Member to specify SuppliersProducts nested data member for the Detail Level 0.
  • Select the “D13:I13” cell range for the next level sub-detail area (Detail Level 1) and click Master-Detail->Detail Level to mark it up.
  • Select Master-Detail->Data Member to specify ProductsOrder Details nested data member for the DetailLevel1.

The resulting template is shown below:


Insert Mail Merge Fields

  • Select a cell and double-click the field in the Field List panel. Make sure that the fields are selected from the nested data member that has been previously specified for the area to which a field is inserted. The resulting template will look as illustrated in the following image.


Preview the Result

  • Select the Mail Merge mode. Click Multiple Sheets to place a report for each supplier into an individual worksheet.
  • Click the Mail Merge Preview button on the Mail Merge tab, in the Design group. A new window with a resulting document opened in a new SpreadsheetControl instance will be invoked.


    You can save the resulting workbook to a file and edit it later.

  • You can also save a data-bound template to a file in .xls or .xlsx format. All data bindings are saved and will be restored when the spreadsheet control loads a template again.