Archive for May, 2008

Free PDF generators

Wednesday 28 May 2008 @ 11:30 am

Every once in a while I have found that Exporting from Crystal Reports to PDF doesn’t look as good as the printout. In those cases I might not use the Crystal built in Export function, but instead will use one of the free PDF printer drivers that are available. My current favorites are Free PDF Creator, PDF Creator and Cute PDF.

These tools, once installed, behave like a new printer on your computer. You select this faux printer and print the report as you normally would. It converts the output of the report (or document or spreadsheet) into a PDF file. Free PDF Creator is a free version of commercial software.  PDF Creator is open source and works with all Microsoft operating systems except for Vista. Cute PDF is free but is not open source. I use it currently on Vista.

To install Cute PDF you must download both the writer and the converter on the left of the page.

“Sticky” Buttons for the Format Painter and other controls

Wednesday 28 May 2008 @ 11:11 am

Starting with Crystal Reports version 11.5 (also known as XI r2) there are several tool bar buttons that can be made “sticky”. This means you can double click the button to make it stay on until you turn it off. This is especially handy if you are using the Format Painter, because it allows you to format many objects at once, without having to re-click the tool bar button in between.

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“Sticky” Buttons for the Format Painter and other controls

Multi-value parameters for commands and stored procedures

Thursday 15 May 2008 @ 9:43 am

Last year I published the “Expert’s Guide to SQL Expressions, Options and Commands“, just as CR 12 was coming out. In the Guide I explained the workaround for passing multi-value parameters to SQL Commands. Up until today I had missed a new (but little noticed) feature of CR 12. Commands parameters in CR 12 have a new option that allows multi-value parameters. No workaround needed. And, because you can launch stored procedures from a command object, you can now pass true multi-value parameters directly to your stored procedures.

You will see this feature at the bottom of the window when you add a new parameter to a Command. However, if you are using versions 9 – 11 you will not have this feature.

Conditional Page Footer

Sunday 11 May 2008 @ 10:22 pm

Crystal will allow you to conditionally suppress a Page Footer. But even when the section is suppressed, the space it would have taken up is still there, reserved as blank space at the bottom of the page. This is because other features like ‘can grow’ and “keep group together” make the job of determining the page size very complex.

There is a related option for page footers called “reserve minimum space” but this only applies Continue Reading »
Conditional Page Footer

Field names containing dashes add Nodes to the Field Tree

Monday 5 May 2008 @ 2:21 pm

I was creating a report for a customer that had provided a spreadsheet as a data source and noticed something very odd in the Field Explorer. There was only one table but the field tree had several nodes that could be collapsed and expanded, with several fields in each node. After a bit of searching I found anarticle article on the BO website that describes this behavior.  Apparently this feature was added to XI release 2. 

If you have a dash in your field names and 2 fields start with the same characters up to the dash then Crystal will put those fields under a node.  So if your fields were like this:


There would be a node called Address1 with 3 fields below it. Not sure I would have ever thought to add dashes to field names but if you start seeing nodes in your field tree you will at least know why they are there.

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