Field is in use? The last resort

Monday 19 September 2016 @ 8:53 am

I wrote two posts last month about finding where a field is used. I got to test these methods recently while helping a customer clean up a report. There were a handful of formulas shown as “in use” that we needed to delete. So I thought this would make a good demo of the new features.

First, we checked all of the options in the fly-out menus and found most of the formulas so we could replace them with other fields and delete them. Then we used the “FIND” method in design mode to see if any were sitting on the report. But there was one field still in use that didn’t show up in either method.

Next I tried a very old method. I exported the report to a “Report Definition File” and opened the exported file in NotePad. This usually works, but not this time.  I was surprised to find that there were no references to that formula anywhere in the report definition.

So now I was curious.  Where could you use a field that wouldn’t show up anywhere? So I started chopping:

  • I saved the report under a new name
  • I deleted every object from the report layout.
  • I deleted all the groups.
  • I deleted any extra sections so I was down to the basic 5.
  • For each of the 5 basic sections I inserted a new section below it and then deleted the original section. At this point there would be no conditional formatting formulas.
  • Then I deleted all of the formula fields. But I still couldn’t delete the problem formula because it was still “in use”.

So I looked for other things to delete. After deleting the parameters I noticed that there was a lone running total field. The running total wasn’t being used, but as soon as I deleted it the problem formula was no longer marked as in use. So I did an “undo” to check the running total and found that my problem formula was the summary field of the running total. So I did a bit of testing and here is what I learned:

If you do a regular summary of a formula (Insert > Summary) that formula will show up in the Report Definition export.

Also, if you use a formula field in one of the the condition formulas of a running total it will show up in the Report Definition and also in the “Find in formulas” fly-out.

But if you use the formula as the summary field in a running total, that formula will NOT show up in the Report Definition or any of the fly-outs. As far as I know there is no way to find that using Crystal Reports without checking every running total (or going to a third party tool). But now I know one more place to check.

(For examples of my most popular formulas, please visit the FORMULAS page on my website.)

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