Archive for May, 2022

Moving/Sizing report objects with the keyboard

Tuesday 31 May 2022 @ 10:43 pm

Crystal Reports is a great tool, but it isn’t perfect. One of my long standing complaints is how hard it can be to grab the sizing handles on an object using the mouse. The active zone around the sizing handle is tiny, so you have to be very precise or you end up dragging the object around instead of sizing it. You would think that zooming in would make the active zone bigger, but it doesn’t.

So I was very happy when I discovered, years ago, that you could size objects with the keyboard. If you hold down the shit key and hit the left/right arrow keys you can make the object’s right side move in and out. If you hold down the shift key and hit the up/down arrow keys you can make the objects bottom edge move up and down. If instead you hold the CTRL key while you hit the arrow keys, the entire object moves in one of the 4 directions but the size doesn’t change.

But soon after I started using Shift-Arrow I found that it didn’t work half the time. It was just this past week when I figured out the two situations where you can’t use Shift -Arrow to size objects:

1) When you are in Preview mode. For some reason using Shift-Arrow only works in Design mode. This is odd because using CTRL-Arrow to move objects can be done in both design and preview. That may be a bug but I found it true in all the versions I tested.

2) When the edge of the object snaps to a guideline. Once an object is ‘snapped’ to a vertical or horizontal guideline, the snapped edge can’t be moved using Shift-Arrow.  But following the pattern mentioned above, guidelines snapped to the top or left side do not prevent using CTRL-Arrow to move objects.

Dynamic parameters and a strange login screen

Saturday 28 May 2022 @ 4:52 pm

I was working with a customer’s report on my PC and trying to change a parameter. Instead of showing me a list of values I was presented with an unusual dialogue, looking for credentials. This dialogue didn’t look familiar and it took me a few minutes to figure out why it was there. The parameter I was using was a dynamic parameter and it was trying to pull a list of values from the database. That database didn’t exist on my PC, of course, so this is the window I saw:

Dynamic parameter login

As you can see it doesn’t allow you to change the name of the server or the DB. It does allow you to log in but that won’t help because I suspect you will only see this when the DB doesn’t exist. To get by this you have cancel and then change the dynamic parameter to pull form a local source.

So if you see a strange login that has “Enter Values” at the top and “Use Single Signon Key” at the bottom, check to see if your dynamic parameters can find their data.

Fixing the bug in the Modification Date

Tuesday 17 May 2022 @ 6:51 pm

A long time ago I wrote about a bug in Crystal Reports that affects two special fields:

  • Modification Date
  • Modification Time.

These fields show you when that report was last modified. If you open and refresh a report without changing anything the modification date and time should not change. This works most of the time, but it doesn’t work if you have a subreport.

This came up again this past week and after some discussion I thought of another article that I wrote in January about the options setting ‘Verify on first refresh”.  I ran a quick test and found that turning this setting off solved the problem. Apparently, doing that “Verify Database” counts as a report modification – but ONLY if there is a subreport in the report.  The behavior is different if there is no subreport.  This inconsistency is why I categorize this as a bug.

So if you are using the modification date (or modification time) in a report that has one or more subreports, you might want to turn this setting off.  It is found in File > Report Options.

And, if anyone finds an issue with turning off this setting, please let me know. I can’t think of one.


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