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Image vs Varbinary(Max)

Hello Ludek,

The problem is that Microsoft is deprecating the image datatype and telling people to use Varbinary(Max) as the new data type:

The two are considered equal (image probably wasn't a good choice of name).

The problem we have at LabWare is that we have to use the Varbinary(Max) in 2 tables that can contain images in future releases of SQL server. In order for that to work, we are obliged to use any of the SQL native client ODBCs. That works to get the data into the database. The problem comes with the Crystal that treats Varbinary(Max) as string 255 when using the SQL native client ODBCs.

I've done a simple report connected to the field that is Varbinary(max). I can see the image in the report using SQL server ODBC but not with the SQL Native client (any of them)

I am using Crystal reports Crystal Reports 8.5, XI, 2008 and 2013

Thank you.


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2 Answers

  • Jul 19, 2017 at 03:43 PM

    Hi Peter,

    Can you explain what MS Native client is that you are using?

    As of CR 9 I think, we no longer shipped a CR Native SQL Server database dll, only option now is to connect via ODBC or OLE DB using the MS SQL Native 10 or 11 clients.

    Also, CR 8.5 cannot be on the same PC as the other versions, it did not support side by side installs, had to be on a separate PC with no other versions of CR Designer or runtime.

    Also, no upgrade for 8.5 but you can get CR XI R2 from here:

    Use your XI Keycode to install it.


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  • Aug 02, 2017 at 03:35 PM

    Hello Don,

    I have tried all the SQL ODBCs odbc-image.jpg. Except for the SQL Server ODBC (included in Windows), they (Native Client) all give the same result. The SQL Server ODBC however cannot handle the varbinary(max) datatype to write data to this field.

    The varbinary(max) that should show image is shown in any version of Crystal reports as a string(255) datatype whereas it should be something 2gB. So any image is not rendered. This is a field where images for signatures for reports are placed and hence are very important.

    We cannot recommend people to deprecate the image datatype as long as this situation exists in Crystal. And, Crystal is the only reporting mechanism in LabWare.

    Thank you for your help,

    Kind regards,


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