Using Redundancy – running a parameter through a formula

Thursday 5 October 2006 @ 9:35 am

This is one of my favorite tricks for making a report easier to test and it is similar to my post on 10/2/06.

I create many reports with a parameter that selects a date, a month number or some other input that can control the records included and often even the layout of the report. But if I want to test different values for that parameter I have to refresh the report each time. This can be slow with a large database and it can be impossible if I am working with saved data from a remote customer. So instead of using the parameter directly in my formulas I create a feeder formula that contains just the parameter. I then use the feeder formula within the other formulas.

Now if I want to try a different parameter value I can simply open the feeder formula and change it from:



{?parameter} – 2

The report formulas will now respond as if I had changed the parameter but without having to refresh the data.

There is also one other advantage to this method. Sometimes a customer will want to change from using a parameter prompt to having the report calculate the date automatically, based on today’s date or some other calculation. I can simply change the feeder formula and delete the parameter. All of the other formulas rely on the feeder.

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

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