Archive for the 'Products' Category

Running a macro when exporting to Excel

Wednesday 9 October 2013 @ 8:48 am

Ido Millet of Millet software has added a new feature to Visual Cut. Visual Cut is one of the products in my desktop scheduling tools list.  Now, when you export to Excel you can now have Visual Cut automatically invoke an existing Macro. The Macro can be in the target file (if you are replacing data in a file) or in a completely separate file. This means, for example,  that you can export data to replace an existing tab in a workbook, and then automatically invoke a macro to make changes to the replacement data.  If you have a specific use for a feature like this, I would like to hear from you.

For more information about Visual Cut and a comparison to other tools in this category, see my annual review of desktop schedulers.

Updated comparison of Crystal Reports viewers (2013)

Sunday 15 September 2013 @ 10:41 pm

You use Crystal Reports to create, change and run reports. But what if you have users who just need to refresh/view/print/export? Do they need copies of Crystal Reports? Do you need to configure an expensive web server?

The most cost effective method for letting a user run reports is to install a third-party client-based viewer. I am amazed at how many Crystal Reports users are still unaware of these, since they are offered by a dozen different vendors. Some users get sidetracked by the “viewer” that is put out by SAP because it won’t refresh reports. Don’t let that fool you because every viewer in my list allows you to refresh reports.

Every September I compare the features of these viewers and post the results. The comparison page provides a brief introduction to each product including what sets it apart. There is also a detailed feature matrix (PDF) that shows some of the specifics for comparison like prices and the install base. I have even included a glossary of features in case you aren’t familiar with the terminology.

This year there are 12 vendors in the review but I am very concerned about one of them.  The vendor for EasyView (EasyStreet Software) has gone MIA.  I have Emailed and called and have not received a response for over a year and at least one customer has had a similar experience.  If anyone has been in contact with them recently, please let me know.  In the meantime I have added a line in the matrix to indicate year of last contact.  The current vendors are:

Crystal Corral by Groff Automation
cView by Chelsea Technologies
RPTView by Pursuit Technology
ViewerFX by Origin Software
Crystal Kiwi Viewer by Crystal Kiwi
Report Viewer Pro by Report Viewer Limited
RV by Climate 27
Logicity Pro by SaberLogic
Report Runner Viewer by Jeff-Net
Easy View by Easy Street Software
RTag Report Viewer by RTag
DataLink Viewer by Millet SW

If you have already tried one of these products, or are currently using one, I would love to know what you think.

Crystal Reports and Windows 8

Thursday 25 July 2013 @ 12:13 pm

I am replacing my workstation (laptop) this week and decided to test Windows 8. I ordered it from Costco so I can just take it back if it won’t run my favorite old software.

To my surprise, I was able to install and run 3 different versions of Crystal (v8.5, v10 and v12/CR 2008) with no problems at all.  When I run Crystal 8.5 on my retiring Windows 7 box, I get an approval dialogue every time, but otherwise it runs fine.  On Windows 8 there isn’t even the dialogue.   Even my old version of Office XP (yeah I know)  installed and ran just fine, and it is from 2002.  So now all I have to do is learn to live with tiles.


Report management utilities comparison (2013)

Monday 15 July 2013 @ 11:38 pm

I have just updated my comparison of RPT management utilities for 2013. These are tools that allow you to scan, document, compare and update RPT files.

Two products have been upgraded significantly in the past year. Find It EZ has added many new features in the past year and Report Miner has just recently been completely rewritten. The complete list of tools is below:

Report Miner by the Retsel Group
Find it EZ by Find it EZ Software Corp.
Report Analyzer by Cortex Systems
Crystal SpellChecker by Redeemed Software.
Search and Replace by Redeemed Software.
Mass Verify by Redeemed Software
.rpt Inspector 3 Professional Suite by Software Forces, LLC

Update to Crystal Delivery scheduler

Monday 8 July 2013 @ 9:25 pm

Groff Automation has just released Crystal Delivery 10, an update to their free scheduler. It has been completely rewritten in C# using the .NET runtime engine from CRv13. The user interface is similar, but other things have changed:

Report information is stored in a Microsoft SQL Compact database
It uses the Quartz.NET scheduling engine with Cron format input
It supports sending Email through Gmail, and also HTML formatted emails
It can export your report as a PDF in multiple locations
It can “Start with Windows” and/or “Start to Tray”

Up till now Crystal Delivery has been free, and it is still free if you are scheduling up to 6 reports. If you need to schedule more than 6 reports there is an unlimited version for $30.

Installation Information:

1) Download and install Microsoft SQL Compact 3.5
2) Download and install Crystal Reports Runtime
3) Download Crystal Delivery 10
4) Unzip the Crystal Delivery ZIP Archive
5) Run the ‘setup.exe’
6) Run the Crystal Delivery shortcut from your start menu or desktop

Also note that documentation hasn’t been released yet, so if you have any questions, send them to

Web dashboard without a web application

Tuesday 2 July 2013 @ 9:36 pm

Ido Millet of Millet Software has posted an interesting demo on his site. It is a web dashboard that is automatically refreshed from live data. What makes it unique is that it doesn’t require an application running on the server. The update work is all done using Visual Cut on a local machine.

At the core of the process there are two reports which are scheduled to be run and exported to HTML. One provides the main page while the other Continue Reading »
Web dashboard without a web application

Crystal Reports vs SSRS #2

Tuesday 11 June 2013 @ 1:48 pm

And now, another post in my series Crystal Reports vs SSRS:

As part of my research, I am recreating one of my own reports in SSRS. I can already see several things that will frustrate a Crystal Reports user. I have listed the first three below. It may be that my lack of experience in SSRS is showing, but to me these seem like true limitations:

1) When I start a new report in Crystal I can use the Database Expert to quickly explore the data structure. I can log into an ODBC or OLEDB connection and instantly get a list of the tables it has available. Then I can select one or more tables and see the list of fields in each table. I can even Continue Reading »
Crystal Reports vs SSRS #2

Crystal Reports 2013

Wednesday 29 May 2013 @ 9:05 am

The future of Crystal Reports looks a lot like the past. According to a presentation at the SAP Users Group (ASUG), all new features in CR will go into CR for Enterprise, the new version of CR that is found only within the Business Objects Enterprise environment.  Standalone Crystal Reports is briefly mentioned and shows up again in the Q&A section at the end. The good news is that they are going to continue to provide and support a standalone product. There is even a plan for CR 2013. However this is described as a ‘re-branding’ which means that the primary change will be the name.

Server-based scheduler comparison (2013)

Monday 13 May 2013 @ 9:53 am

I have just updated my comparison of server-based scheduling tools for 2013. These tools are similar to the desktop-based scheduling tools I write about every March, but these are designed to be run on server. This allows multiple people to schedule reports for automated delivery by Email, FTP or network folder.

There are 8 products on the list again this year with a few feature updates and price changes since last year. The article provides a brief overview of each product. It also links to a feature matrix that compares roughly 70 features of these tools. There is even a feature glossary that defines all the terms. So if you need a short course in automating Crystal Reports delivery, you have come to the right place.

Crystal Reports vs SSRS

Saturday 20 April 2013 @ 5:12 pm

When I started teaching Crystal Reports in 1995 I was also teaching another tool called R&R. In comparing the two I found that R&R had about 20 features that were missing from that year’s version of Crystal.  Crystal had five features I liked that were missing in R&R. But the next year, when the next version of CR came out, the numbers had flipped. Most of the R&R features that I had mentioned were now included in Crystal. That started my transition from R&R to Crystal. So yesterday, when I made my first attempt at comparing Crystal Reports and SQL Server Reporting Services (SSRS) there was a bit of déjà vu.

For the past 8 years I have been able to Continue Reading »
Crystal Reports vs SSRS

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