I was reviewing a report for a customer that was based on a cross-tab. The cross-tab had several rows that had a different color font and background. Yet when I went into the formatting properties of the cells, I couldn’t see where the color logic was entered. I searched the formatting formulas and all the places I could think of where you could change the colors and couldn’t find it. Then I started right-clicking different areas to see if there was something I had forgotten and found the answer in the ‘Highlighting Expert’.
Currently, I never use the Highlighting Expert. That is because when it was first introduced it was only good for numeric fields, and you could only write conditions based on the current field’s value. So I continued using the conditional formatting formulas, which are give you more control over the condition logic.
But it seems that the Highlighting Expert has become much more sophisticated now. This is especially true within cross-tabs where I think it is a better choice than the normal conditional formatting formulas. The Highlighting Expert can easily reference values in both the row headings and the column headings of every cell, in addition to the value of the cell. So I can now change the font and/or the background color of anything in the Fedex column, or anything in the row for Canada. To reference these same values using conditional formatting you would need to use the new grid functions available for cross-tabs. This can be done but it is much more complex.
But there are two downsides to using the Highlighting Expert.
1) There is no way for the field search to find when fields are used here.
2) There is no way to copy the logic from one cell to another.
Both of these are easy when you use the conditional formatting formulas. So I will probably continue using conditional formatting on field objects, but I may now find myself using the Highlighting Expert on cross-tabs.(For examples of my most popular formulas, please visit the FORMULAS page on my website.)