Archive for October, 2006



The Saved Data Trap

Monday 30 October 2006 @ 9:33 pm

Crystal Reports has a handy option of allowing you to save data with a report. This allows you to view and even modify a report without having access to the source database. CR does this by saving the necessary records and fields as part of the RPT file.

My only problem with this feature is that when you first install Crystal Continue Reading »
The Saved Data Trap




The Stealth Subreport

Wednesday 25 October 2006 @ 2:35 pm

Often subreports are used in Crystal Reports to retrieve an unrelated value from a different table or data source. In many of these cases you do not want to see the subreport at all. You just want to retrieve your value and use it. You soon realize, however, that if you suppress the subreport object, or if you suppress the section that contains the subreport, the subreport will simply not run.

To make a subreport run but be completely invisible you suppress Continue Reading »
The Stealth Subreport




Formula Naming Tips

Wednesday 18 October 2006 @ 11:03 am

If a Crystal report has many formulas, and they aren’t named well, the report can become very difficult to understand. What seems clear today can seem confusing a few weeks down the road – even when working on your own reports. So, here are a few tips that I follow to keep things clear. They stem from the fact that the list of formulas is sorted by name, so keeping formulas in a logical order involves considering how the name will sort in the list. My goal is to see the formula list in chunks rather than as a random list of names. Continue Reading »
Formula Naming Tips




Where to buy Crystal Reports on the web

Wednesday 11 October 2006 @ 1:54 pm

Just like anything else, it pays to shop around. I was checking prices for Crystal Reports software and noticed something interesting. Software sites will list one price on their site but a much lower price through a comparison shopping site like PriceGrabber. The links below show that this can make a dramatic difference. Prices are for the full version of Crystal Reports XI Professional Edition (product number W-1RP-E-WX-00): Continue Reading »
Where to buy Crystal Reports on the web




Best FREE utilities recommended by Ian “Gizmo” Richards

Sunday 8 October 2006 @ 8:42 pm

I just found this link in the past week and I wish I had found it long ago.

I have been impressed several times, just in the past month, by free software. I know that there is plenty of bad ‘free’ software that contains advertising, spyware or even worse junk. It takes time to sort the good from the bad. So when I found a site dedicated to evaluating and comparing these products, I couldn’t resist. Continue Reading »
Best FREE utilities recommended by Ian “Gizmo” Richards




Mysterious shifting objects

Sunday 8 October 2006 @ 8:40 pm

There are several methods for putting an object into place on a Crystal Report. You can use the “Snap to Grid” feature, the Guidelines, you can use “Free Form Placement” and place the object in position by sight, or you can set the position digitally using “Object Size and Position”.

If you use the last one, you may be frustrated by a quirk in Crystal that seems to affect all versions from 8.5 through XI – the mysterious shifting object. I wrote about this in my newsletter 4 years ago Continue Reading »
Mysterious shifting objects




Using Redundancy – running a parameter through a formula

Thursday 5 October 2006 @ 9:35 am

This is one of my favorite tricks for making a report easier to test and it is similar to my post on 10/2/06.

I create many reports with a parameter that selects a date, a month number or some other input that can control the records included and often even the layout of the report. But if I want to test different values for that parameter I have to refresh the report each time. This can be slow with a large database and it can be impossible if I am working with saved data from a remote customer. So instead of using the parameter directly in my formulas Continue Reading »
Using Redundancy – running a parameter through a formula




Craigs List (free regional classifieds)

Monday 2 October 2006 @ 10:20 am

Craig’s list is an example of how the Internet can change the way business is done. It is a totally free classified’s service that is set up by geographical region, so it works well for listings where geography is an important factor – like selling furniture, jobs or used cars. I knew about Craig’s List but hadn’t given it much thought until my daughter was born last Fall. She didn’t sleep well as an infant and I wanted to find an overnight nanny who could help my wife during one of my short business trips. Continue Reading »
Craigs List (free regional classifieds)




Using Redundancy – Running a field through a “feeder” formula

Monday 2 October 2006 @ 9:51 am

I remember designing a very complex report for a customer where dozens of formulas all referred to the same quantity field in the database. After I wrote all of the formulas, the customer told me that he had given me the wrong quantity field and that I needed to use a different field in all of the formulas. I spent the better part of an hour rewriting all of the formulas to use a different field. But I also got an idea that I still use today on any complex report. Continue Reading »
Using Redundancy – Running a field through a “feeder” formula




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