SAP created a suggestion box called the “Idea Place” in 2010. This month idea D661 from October 2010 was accepted by the developers at SAP. It is scheduled for release later this year. The idea is to make it easier to find where fields are in use in a report. Currently you can search all formulas, but some fields are used in non-formula properties. For instance fields are used as sorts, as groups, or as links to a subreport. So SAP plans to add 3 new search options that cover these situations. The bad news is that after 4 years it will only be implemented in CR for Enterprise.
So the rest of us will have to continue to use the old way of finding where fields are used outside of formulas. Just export the report to “report definition” and open the resulting text file. Then search for that field name within the text. You will find fields used as sorts or as groups. You will also find a field when it is used by a summary field or a field that is just sitting on a section of the report. These last two don’t seem to be covered even after the upcoming improvements. The only fields you will not find listed in a report definition export are fields used as a link to a subreport. The subreport definition is there within the main report definition, but any main report fields used as links to the subreport parameters are not identified in the definition. If a field is in use and doesn’t show up in the “report definition” then you will have to check the subreport links manually.