How would you like your reports to be automatically run, exported to a PDF and delivered to your Email InBox every Monday morning at 6am? The Crystal Reports designer doesn’t provide a way to do this (unless you upgrade to CR Server or BO Enterprise). But if you look at third party products like those on my LINKS page you will find several reasonably priced or free tools that do this. Some do even more.
I first reviewed these products last March and figured that after a year it was time to revisit them. There is one new product just completing beta testing and one free product that is looking for someone to take over the project. Altogether, the updated page reviews eight desktop-based scheduling tools. It provides you with their core features and prices so that you can narrow down your search. I provide a brief introduction to each product and describe what sets that product apart. I have also created a detailed feature matrix (PDF) that shows some of the specifics for comparison, including prices and the install base of each product. This year I have written a feature glossary to help explain what each feature means. There are also links to the vendor websites so that you can get more information on any specific product, if needed.
Next month I will be updating a separate article covering server based scheduling tools. If you think one person can manage all the scheduling you are probably fine with one of these desktop tools – regardless of the number of people receiving the scheduled output. But if you plan to have multiple people scheduling reports then you may want to consider a server based tool.