Archive for the 'Bugs and Errors' Category

Missing the recent file list

Saturday 19 December 2020 @ 4:47 pm

When working with customers I often re-open recently used files.  Recently it seems that some of my customers versions of Crystal don’t show the recent files in the file menu.  This puzzles me because I am on CR 2016 and I have always seen the list of recent files at the bottom of the File menu.  There is a short list on the start page as well, but the longer list has always been in the menu.

Yesterday one of customers shared with me that she had been struggling with the same issue and then stumbled across the recent file list in a new place.  There is a yellow folder icon on the toolbar which represents “File > Open”.  Next to this folder is a small drop-down arrow.  Clicking that arrow shows the recently used files.  Neither she nor I had noticed this so I am betting that we are not the only ones.

And, thanks to Laurie Weaver, a developer at Wyse Solutions, for pointing this out.

On a related note, you can change the number of files that are shown in this list.  The default is 5, but you can increase this number in the registry.

The key is here:

Computer\HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\SAP BusinessObjects\Suite XI 4.0\
Crystal Reports\Recent Files

The value to change within that key is called “FileCount”.

But there is also some strangeness about the filecount value. You can put in any number, but the registry only has 10 slots. So any number beyond 10 has no where to go. Then, the list in the file menu can only display the first 9 items of the 10 so I am not even sure why they have a 10th item. The other list, the one in the box on the Start Page, can only show the first 5 of the 10.

The other mystery I haven’t solved (yet) is why my install of CR 2016 still shows the recent files in the “File” menu,  while many Crystal installs do not.

When a reinstall won’t fix the formula editor

Thursday 22 October 2020 @ 8:04 pm

I took another dip into the registry today. I had to fix the formula editor toolbars for a customer (see below).

formula editor error

Two sections would not dock and the field tree on the left could not be made visible. We tried the field tree icon and right-clicks to allow docking. Nothing worked. I tried using the Toolbar Reset check mark in View > Toolbars. That didn’t work either. He even tried uninstalling and reinstalling Crystal, which also didn’t work.

But I remembered from my last post that the toolbars have lots of registry keys which store their settings and positions and I figured these were corrupted. And since re-installing didn’t solve things that meant the bad registry keys weren’t being replaced by the install. So we did another uninstall and then we went into the registry. Most of the Crystal registry entries had survived the uninstall. I was tempted to delete just the node for the formula editor, but we decided to play it safe and delete the entire node named “Crystal Reports”. It is found in this path:

Computer\HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\SAP BusinessObjects\Suite XI 4.0\

We exported this node to a .reg file just in case we needed to restore it and then deleted it.  When we reinstalled Crystal Reports the formula editor went back to normal.

Today I did some more testing because I wasn’t sure if we needed to do the full uninstall.   I closed Crystal, then I went into the registry and exported the “Formula Editor” node. This is found under the “Crystal Reports” node mentioned above.  Once it was exported I deleted the “Formula Editor” node.  I then went into Crystal Reports and worked in the formula editor.  When I checked the registry the “Formula Editor” node had been recreated.  It wasn’t fully populated but it was there.  I went in and did a SQL expression and a custom function and this created more of the keys for that node.  In other words, it may not require a complete re-install to fix this part of the registry.  Crystal appears to create these keys, as needed, when they don’t exist. So if you have windows or toolbars that won’t behave, you can try this approach first.

Fields that change format when moved to a different environment

Monday 21 September 2020 @ 8:52 pm

I recently had complaint from a customer that a numeric field was changing format when moved from one PC to another. The format was fine when run on the developers PC but on the user’s PCs the format would change. I have seen this happen with both numeric and date fields.

The source of the problem is the format option at the top of the list called “System Default”.  If you leave a field formatted with this choice the report will use whatever format is set in the regional setting of the PC where the report is being run. Of course this means that a report might look different when run on another PC. If you don’t want the format to change from one PC to another then you should identify the specific format you want for numeric, currency, date and datetime fields.

Using a specific format should solve this 99% of the time. I have only seen a few instances where a report moved to another environment would have formatting changes despite the format being specified in the report. In those cases the final workaround is to write a formula to display the value. You can use Totext() to convert the field into text that is formatted the way you want. You use the text version for display purposes while using the original field for other functions like sorting and totaling.

Here are some examples:
Totext ({Date.Field}, 'yyyy-MM-dd') //converts a date into a string like 2020-09-21
Totext ({Number.field}, 0,"") // converts a number into a string with no decimals or commas

Page Header plus Page Footer is too large for the page

Sunday 17 May 2020 @ 10:06 pm

I had a customer call me recently about this error. Usually this error is quick to resolve.  It is almost always caused by a an object that “Can Grow” (e.g. subreport, memo field) in the Page Header. The customer sent the report to me with saved data and it opened fine on my PC. Both sections were empty and both sections were also suppressed. That made no sense to me. I assumed they had sent me a different report by mistake.

So we did a remote session and I confirmed it was the same report. When it opened on their PC the error appeared. After some poking around I went into “Page Setup” to check the page size and noticed that the bottom margin was set to 11 inches. The error message about the PH/PF turned out to be a red herring. The real issue was a combination of the margin setting and the selected printer. Once we entered a reasonable margin setting, the report behaved normally in their environment.

So if you get this error and can’t find anything that would cause it, you have one more place to check.

A way to speed up repeated Crystal Reports installations

Sunday 19 April 2020 @ 8:56 pm

Last month I wrote about a difficult time I had installing Crystal Reports. One of my complaints was that if the install fails, you have to start over – including waiting 5-7 minutes while the setup ‘unpacks’ all the files. It seems like there should be a way to keep the files unpacked when an install has to be repeated.

Well SAP doesn’t provide an official way to do that but one of my readers (who apparently does lots of CR installs) shared his method. Here are his steps:

1. Run the install .exe.

2. Wait until everything has been unpacked. If you aren’t sure, wait until it asks for the license key. Then go to this folder, substituting your user name in the path:


Look for a folder in Temp that starts with “RARSFX”.

NOTE: AppData is a hidden folder, so you’ll have to set Explorer to view hidden items.

3. If there’s more than one “RARSFX” folder, delete all of them except the most recent one. These are failed installs that didn’t get deleted correctly.

4. Copy the remaining folder somewhere else. You cannot cut and paste because the installer has those files open. You might want to give the folder copy a more meaningful name.

5. For subsequent installs, go to this new folder and run setup.exe.

So if you are troubleshooting a balky install, or if you have to install CR on several different workstations, the steps above will speed up the iterations. And, thanks to Dell Stinnett-Christy, a senior manager at Protiviti, for sharing this method.

Trouble installing CR 2016

Monday 16 March 2020 @ 12:20 am

I worked with a frustrated customer last Friday. He was having trouble installing Crystal Reports 2016 on a new PC. He wanted me to give it a try.

The first challenge was the error messages, which give no help. The main two are:

Failed to update setup engine executables
Failed to update cache for execution

After some web searching we found we could check the install log.  These errors happened when Crystal tried to move or rename a folder. We found lots of people asking about these same errors going back several years. We even found SAP’s official response. The solutions that worked for some people were:

1) Turning off all firewalls and AV programs **
2) Running the install as an Administrator
3) Changing the permissions on several folders to allow full control.

We tried all of these things and a few others which leads to the second challenge. The download from the SAP web site is an EXE. Before it can do the actual install it has to unpack all the files. This takes about 5-7 minutes which isn’t in itself a problem. But when the install fails you can’t just run setup again because most of the unpacked files are deleted after the failure. Your only option is to run the EXE again and let it unpack all the files … again … every time.  This makes troubleshooting very time consuming***.

I never got to see the last hurdle. My customer said that one time he got further but hit an error that mentioned a blocked port.  Another search  turned up that Crystal 2016 needs to communicate on a specific port to complete the installation. If this port is blocked you slide down the chute back to square one. We never got that far.

I had to punt and give him a link to buy a tech support incident from SAP. He will have to pay to get the product installed. Maybe SAP will be embarrassed enough to refund the incident charge.

I appreciate that installs are complex and that PCs can have infinite variations – but these errors have been around for years. By now they should have made it into the prerequisite test that runs before the install starts. If CR needs port X to be open then the routine should check to make sure that port is open before starting. If you need admin privileges or folder permissions, then it should check to see if it has them.

**Update 3/17:  The customer checked with his IT department and found a layer of AV/Firewall protection that was still active.  Once that was disabled the install went smoothly.   I still think the install routine could be improved, but I can’t blame the mess above on SAP.

***Update 4/26: See this post for a way to get around the need to unpack each time you repeat an install.

Script errors on the Crystal Reports start page and how to customize the start page

Saturday 11 January 2020 @ 5:48 pm

It has been 5 years since I first wrote about the script errors that affect the Crystal Reports start page. This issue comes up again periodically and several customers have had these issues recently. So if you are having issues with the start page here are the articles that should help:

The fix is pretty simple and involves renaming two HTML pages in one of Crystal’s application folders. This prevents Crystal start page from trying to access the web.

Since the start page is  written in HTML I decided to have a look at how it worked. I was hoping to modify the page to show links to my most frequently used reports. After much experimenting I found a way to create hyperlinks that would open reports based on specified path and file name. The key was to ‘borrow’ the custom javascript function that is used to open your most recently used reports. The function is called fncrOpenReport.

So I edited the HTML in the start page and put in a few lines like this:

<A href="javascript:fncrOpenReport('C:/sample.rpt')">Sample Rpt</A>

The next time I started Crystal the start page included a section of new hyperlinks. The one above appears as the words “Sample Rpt”. When I click that hyperlink it opens the RPT specified in the fncrOpenReport function. This section works much like the “My Recent Reports” section but these reports won’t roll off the page as other reports are opened.

The only odd part about using this function is that reports opened this way cannot use “save as” until after you click “save”.  If you click “save as” without having clicked “save” the dialogue just doesn’t open.

PDF problems with Viewpoint’s Spectrum Software

Wednesday 18 December 2019 @ 10:28 pm

Any time Crystal Reports exports to PDF there is a slight reduction in font size. So when a customer complained that their fonts were exporting inconsistently to PDF, I figured it would center around this topic.  But, what I found was something different. The report was being run from within Viewpoint’s Spectrum Software for construction. The report looked fine if we exported it to RPT format and opened it in the Crystal Reports designer, but the PDF version had inconsistent font sizes.

One example was a large block of text with four paragraphs. It was all formatted with the same font and the same size in Crystal. In PDF format the first paragraph was in one size and all the other paragraphs were in a different size. I cut the first paragraph out to make it a separate text object and left the remaining three paragraphs in one text object.  But the font change just moved down to the next paragraph break.  I had to make each paragraph it’s own text object to avoid font changes.

A second problem was that text objects and field objects would end up being reduced by different amounts, even though they started out the same size. For example, just before the text objects was a database memo field that was supposed be the same font size. If I started them both at font size 9.5 in the report, the memo field would end up at 8.5 while the text object would end up at 8.  If reduced the memo field to 9 the font would end up as 7.5. I tried several other combinations and couldn’t find one where the text objects and fields would end up the same size in the PDF.

The odd part was that I couldn’t replicate any of these problems in my local environment.  I opened their rpt file saved with their data in my Crystal Reports designer and it exported just fine. I even tried it in Crystal v10 which is 15 years old and uses Adobe 4.0 format.  It still exported here with consistent font  sizes. So it sounds like this might have something to do with the runtime environment associated with Spectrum.

Conclusion: If you are using Viewpoint’s Spectrum Software, watch out for PDF font sizes.  If you need help with these issues, give me a call.

Sage 50 GetPeach() functions in Windows 10

Monday 9 December 2019 @ 7:38 pm

For some reason the combination of Sage 50 (PeachTree) and Windows 10 generated many calls from customers.  Most of these calls were for reports that used the special GetPeach() functions and that stopped working.  These functions have come with Sage/PeachTree for years. I was told by several Sage consultants that these functions would no longer work in the current versions of Sage 50.  But one of my customers ended up solving the problem on his own and has allowed me to share what he found (he didn’t want to be cited).

So here is how he got these functions working again:

  1. A system PATH variable must be assigned to C:\Program Files (x86)\Sage\Peachtree. This folder contains the DDFs (data dictionary files) for the interface between Peachtree and Crystal Reports and other special functions. Without these DDFs, any effort to run a report containing GetPeach() functions will fail with the error message “The Specified Module Could Not Be Found”.
  2. In a single user environment U2LPeach.dll and the associated .ini file (U2LPeach.ini) must be included in the folder C:\Windows\Crystal. This is the default location the files are placed by Sage 50 when data functions are updated.
  3. If operating in a terminal services environment, U2LPeach.dll and the associated .ini file (U2LPeach.ini) must be included in C:\Users\\Windows\Crystal.
  4. When U2LPeach.dll is loaded correctly, the .dll will appear in the list of dlls loaded by Crystal Reports. This list can be found by going to “Help > About Crystal Reports” and clicking “more information”. Alternately you can edit any formula and look in the additional functions node for the GetPeach functions.

If you are having problems with Sage 50, and the above doesn’t help you, let me know. I have several colleagues who are Sage 50 specialists so we should be able to resolve it for you.

Correction to “elapsed time string” formula

Saturday 9 November 2019 @ 11:54 pm

My web site has a page for commonly used formulas.  Many have been there for years.  Formula page 9 has two versions of a formula that will convert a number of seconds into an elapsed time string. The long version has days, hours, minutes and seconds.  The shorter version is just hours and minutes.

I was using the short version in a customer’s report and we noticed that the minutes value was sometimes off by one.  After some testing we found that if the remaining seconds were between 30 and 60 the formula would always round down because the formula used a Truncate() function. The Truncate() works correctly in the long version of the formula, because you truncate down to the whole minutes and then display any remaining seconds. But since the shorter version doesn’t display seconds it is more accurate to Round () the seconds to the nearest minute.  So I have updated the short version formula on my site to use the Round () function for minutes.

So those of you who have used that formula should update your reports by changing the last Truncate to a Round, or just taking the updated formula from page 9.

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