An invisible error

Tuesday 4 July 2023 @ 10:40 pm

So I have a report with a subreport. The subreport is in it’s own section. The link to the subreport is a formula in the main report that extracts a PO number from a long text field.

The report is 13 pages long but it kept stopping at page 8 with no error message. The total page count would say 8+ and if I tried to go to page 9 it would take me back to page one. I assumed there was some page number bug, so I checked all the properties that affect paging and found nothing. When I deleted the subreport I get all 13 pages.

So I checked the ‘suppress’ property for that subreport and suddenly the problem went away. This was very strange because the subreport has a suppress condition formula which should ignore the check mark.  Even with the suppress is checked the subreport still ran at all the correct places based on the formula condition, but for some reason the suppress check mark allowed it to page correctly to the end.  I was confused.

My only clue was that it always stopped on after page 8, so I figured there had to be something unique in one record on page 9. I started eliminating records until I had it narrowed it down to one record that caused the problem. Then I started to check the formulas related to the subreport.  I found that the formula I was using to link to the subreport would generate an error when I put it on the report. That was strange because the formula was already being actively used to link to subreport. But even though the formula was already being used, it would NOT generate an error message. Once placed on the report an error would appear. That allowed me to correct the error and now the report works fine. 

So I learned that a bad formula, when it is used only as a link to a subreport, can silently stop a report without generating an error message. When that happens you have to put the formula on the report (or use it in another formula) to see the error.  That gives us one more place to check when a report starts to behave strangely.

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