Handy copy tricks in Crystal Reports

Thursday 28 December 2017 @ 10:34 pm

I have written before about copying objects, both within a single report or from one report to another. Below are some new tips for copying values instead of objects.

Copying literal values from preview mode:
Often when validating or troubleshooting a report I want to take a specific item from the preview screen (an invoice number, customer name, etc) and look it up within the application. I have learned that you can copy a value directly from the preview screen and paste that value into another application. Or, I may need a specific value from preview to use as a literal value in a formula. All you have to do is select the value you want and then copy it and paste it into the formula. This can be especially helpful when the value is long or difficult to type correctly.  All three copy methods work (Ctrl-C, right-click or the edit menu).

The value that gets copied to the clipboard will match what you see in preview. Numbers and date values will be pasted in the same format as they appear in preview. Fields that are not large enough to display the entire field value will still copy the entire value of that field. So truncated text or large numbers that show as pound signs will both paste the full value.

Copying object names from design mode:
Often when writing a formula I find that I need to insert a database field or formula field that is sitting on the report. Rather than trying to remember the name of the correct field, it is possible to copy the name of the object while in design mode. Just select the field you want and copy it using one of the three methods mentioned above.  When you copy a field in design mode you are copying the name of the field.

You can then paste the name into the formula editor and put curly brackets around it.  Crystal should recognize the field. If it is a formula field your pasted value will include the @ symbol. I have found that the most efficient method is to first type the open curly bracket. This opens the auto-complete list with names of all available fields. Then you past in the copied field name and Crystal selects the correct field from the list. When you hit enter it adds the closing bracket automatically.

This is especially helpful in complex reports when you have many tables and fields, or when the field names are particularly long and hard to remember.

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

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