Archive for September, 2010

When Crystal is too helpful

Thursday 30 September 2010 @ 5:43 am

The goal of Crystal Reports is to make it easier for you to create your reports.  But there are several features that in my opinion just get in the way and slow things down.   So I have put together a list of these features and how to avoid them.

“Auto Smart Linking” is a prime example of Crystal trying to help out, and (usually) making things worse.   With this feature Crystal will take a guess at how tables should be linked together.  Buy my estimate is that Crystal guesses correctly only about 30% of the time.  So I typically teach my students to turn this feature off, except, of course, in version 9 where you CAN’T turn it off.  In version 10 you can turn it off, but only if you dig into the registry and make some tweaks.  For all other versions you can go into File->Options.  You will Continue Reading »
When Crystal is too helpful

Restore Characters Per Inch prompt in text exports

Thursday 23 September 2010 @ 10:37 pm

When you export to text in Crystal Reports you are asked to provide two settings:

1) the number of lines per page

2) the characters per inch (CPI ).

When you enter the CPI in versions 9 or 10 you will see an option to store your CPI value so that you don’t have to enter it again.  This sounds handy, but once you check off  ‘do not prompt me again’  you can no longer change or even see your CPI setting.   One of my customers needed to change their CPI setting and couldn’t, so I figured that he had checked off that option at some point.  We had to comb through the registry and finally found the key that tells CR not to prompt for CPI.  We changed the value and the prompt reappeared.

So, if you ever need to reset this setting the registry key is:

HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Crystal Decisions\10.0\Crystal Reports\Export\Text


HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Crystal Decisions\9.0\Crystal Reports\Export\TextExport

You change the “PromptAgain” value from 0 to 1 and CR will now prompt you for CPI again.

Also note that this key is created at the time you put in the check mark.  It isn’t there at all before then so if you haven’t ever checked that box you won’t see it.

Crystal Reports Viewers compared

Wednesday 15 September 2010 @ 8:31 am

You might want to read the more recent version of this article.

You use Crystal Reports to create, change and run reports. But what if you have a user who doesn’t need to create reports or even change them. This user just wants to refresh the reports and view/print/export the results. Does he need another copy of Crystal Reports? Do you need to configure an expensive web server?

The most cost effective method for letting users run reports on demand is to install a third-party client-based viewer. And I am amazed at how many Crystal Reports users are completely unaware that these are available, despite the fact that they are offered by a dozen different vendors.

This may be because the first ‘viewer’ users are likely to try is the one put out by SAP/BO. This ‘viewer’ is not in my list because it doesn’t perform the primary function of a viewer – allowing you to refresh a report. So it can pretty safely be ignored.

In this post I will compare about half of the viewer programs out there, including all of the ones I list in my ‘favorites’ list. I will provide their core features, prices, a brief introduction and what sets each product apart. Each section is linked to the vendor’s website Continue Reading »
Crystal Reports Viewers compared

Crystal Reports on Windows 7, 64-bit

Tuesday 7 September 2010 @ 9:44 pm

I had to replace my primary laptop this summer and decided to try a Windows 7 machine with a 64-bit processor.  I had some concerns because I use lots of old software, including several old versions of Crystal Reports and I wondered how well everything would run in the new environment.  I upgraded to Vista a few years back and it took lots of work to get all the pieces of my operation going again.

But this time I am happy to report that things went pretty smoothly.   I run three different versions of CR (v8.5, v10 and v12) which I find covers all the bases.  All three run fine on this machine.  And in general the transition from Vista to Windows 7 was much smoother than my last upgrade which was to Vista.

The one thing that confused me was Continue Reading »
Crystal Reports on Windows 7, 64-bit

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