Column breaks in a multi-column report

Monday 30 December 2019 @ 11:12 pm

Crystal allows you to have multiple columns on a page. This is handy when you have a narrow list or a label and you want to pack more data on each page. To set up multiple columns you go to the section expert, highlight the ‘details’ section and check the option to ‘format groups with multiple columns’. This exposes a tab on the right that is labeled “Layout”. Here you can set the width of the column, the space between columns, and if the columns should go across then down (filling the top of the page first) or go down then across (filling the left side first).

Here you can also determine if the group headers and footers are part of the columns or if they go across the entire page and are separate. Usually, you want the groups to be included when you are using “down then across” and not when you are using “across then down”.

If you are using “down then across” and your groups are part of the columns you might want to have each group start in a new column. Crystal has a specific feature when you want a page break after a group, but not when you want a column break after a group. My workaround is to create a very thin group footer and then set it to “print at bottom of page”. This will force the next group to be at the top of a column.

Since long groups might start on one page and continue on the next, you should probably also set the group option to “repeat group header on each page”. This way the group spilling on to the next page has a label to identify the group.

This method isn’t perfect. You might occasionally get an empty column if the records fill the column exactly. Or you might want to line up the top of each group’s second column with the top of its first column, or maybe even repeat the headings with each column. For help with these issues see Expert Techniques Volume 2.

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