Expressions specify how to find or calculate a value when the report runs. They allow you to configure report elements when you don't know in advance what an element's value will be. A simple example of this is a data field whose value is obtained when Geocortex Reporting queries the data source. Expressions also allow you to compute complex values. For example, you could use an expression to perform mathematical operations on data fields and present the results in the report.

One common use for expressions is to build complex strings. For example, you could use an expression to build a phrase with embedded data values, or you could build the URL for an image that you want to include in a report. Another important use for expressions is to use conditional values in a report. For example, you could present different information depending on the value of a data field. The Iif() function is used to configure conditional values.

You can use expressions in certain types of controls, for example, Label controls. They are also used to filter a report's query. Expressions that filter queries are discussed in Filter Conditions.

Expressions are made up of elements like data fields, functions, and literals. Literals are actual values, for example, 436 or True. A simple expression has a single element, for example, [Name]. Complex expressions have multiple elements that are combined by operators, for example, [Population] > 1000000 uses the greater than operator, >, to compare a field value to a number. Whether they are simple or complex, expressions evaluate to a single value of a particular type—numeric expressions evaluate to a number, Boolean expressions evaluate to a value of type Boolean (True or False), string expressions evaluate to a string, and so on.

To see a complete list of the operators, literals, and functions that you can use in expressions, see Operators, Literals, and Functions.

The following table gives examples of different types of expressions.

Examples of Expressions


Result Type



Same as the type of the data field

Evaluates to the value of the OBJECTID field for the current record, for example: 145632

'Object ID: ' + [OBJECTID]


Concatenates the "Object ID: " string with the value of the OBJECTID field for the current record, for example: Object ID: 145632

[Distance] + [DistanceUnits]


Concatenates the value of the current record's Distance field and the value of the current record's DistanceUnits field, for example: 26.3km

[pop2018] - [pop2014]


Calculates the difference between the values of the pop2018 field and pop2014 field, for example, if pop2018 is 966 and pop2014 is 711: 255

'Population Change: ' + ([pop2018] - [pop2014])


Concatenates the "Population Change: " string with the difference between pop2018 and pop2014, for example: Population Change: 255

[STATENAME] == 'California'


Evaluates to True if the value of the current record's STATENAME field is California. Otherwise, it evaluates to False.

[MyLayer.OBJECTID] In(?FeatureIds)


Evaluates to True if the value of the current record's OBJECTID field is one of the features currently selected by the user. Otherwise, it evaluates to False.

An expression similar to this is used to present the current selection set in the report. See Include the Current Features in a Report.



Evaluates to today's date, for example: 23 July, 2018

Today() is a function. For more information, see Functions.

Syntax of Expressions

Expressions use SQL syntax. Follow the syntax conventions below when you create expressions:

Expression Editor

To help you build expressions, Report Designer has a built-in Expression Editor that gives you easy access to the different types of elements you can use in an expression. The Expression Editor only shows items that are permitted in the current context.

To open the Expression Editor, click the icon for a property that allows expressions. The expression that you create will show in . You can type the expression or parts of the expression directly in . You can also insert items by selecting the category of item in and then double-clicking the item in . Data fields and report parameters are listed in the Fields category.


String Expressions

String expressions are expressions that evaluate to a string. A complex string expression combines (concatenates) an number of string literals, data fields, and functions using the concatenation operator, +.

String literals are enclosed in apostrophes, for example, 'This is a string literal'. Note that you cannot use quotation marks (") instead of apostrophes. To embed an apostrophe into a string literal, type a two apostrophes, for example, 'It''s an example' appears in the report as: It's an example

Concatenating strings in an expression allows you to build complex strings that contain data. One common scenario is labelling data. For example, to label a record's object ID, you could use an expression like'Object ID: ' + [objectid]. This appears in the report as, for example: Object ID: 19245

In other situations, you may want to build phrases or complete sentences. For example, the expression 'Towns with a population of ' + [MaxPop] + ' or less are eligible to apply for a ' + [ProgramName] + '.' appears in the report as, for example: Towns with a population of 50000 or less are eligible to apply for a Small Town Improvement Grant.

You can configure multiple lines of text in a single string expression by using the NewLine() function. For example, suppose you want to configure a Label control to present data for a person's name on the first line and the person's address on subsequent lines, for example:

Jennifer Scott
465 Mallory Lane
Denver, CO

To do this, you could configure an expression like this:

[Name] + NewLine() + [StreetAddress] + NewLine() + [City] + ', ' + [State] + NewLine() + [ZipCode]

As an alternative to the + concatenation operator, you can use the Concat() function to concatenate any number of strings. For example, to label data, you could use an expression like this: Concat('Object ID: ', [objectid])

See also...

String Functions

Conditional Expressions

You can use conditional values in a report by using the logical function, Iif(). The Iif() function takes three arguments: a Boolean expression, a value to use if the Boolean expression evaluates to True, and a value to use if the Boolean expression evaluates to False. The arguments are separated by commas: Iif(BoolenExpression, TruePart, FalsePart).

BooleanExpression==true is equivalent to BooleanExpression. Similarly, BooleanExpression==false is equivalent to Not BooleanExpression or!BooleanExpression.

For example, to present the value of a Boolean data field in a report, you could use the expression Iif([BooleanField],True,False). More commonly, you use values that reflect what the field represents instead of True and False, for example, Iif([RoadClosed], 'Road Closed', 'Road Open'). The conditional values do not have to be literals—they can be expressions. For example, Iif([CropArea]<=10, 'Livestock: '+[HasLivestock]+' Produce: '+[HasProduce]+' Flowers: '+[HasFlowers], 'Not a market garden').


Geocortex Reporting supports a wide range of .NET functions that you can use in expressions. The functions fall into the following categories:

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Documentation Version 5.2