phone: (540)338-0194

Individual Instruction by Ken Hamady

The Crystal Reports Underground News - January 2002
an independent source for Crystal Reports Information
by Ken Hamady, MS

This month's contents:
** Where to buy Crystal Reports on the Web
** CR Upgrades - Any old version of Crystal Reports can save you $160
** January/February classes in Leesburg, Baltimore and Philadelphia
**  Buying Crystal Reports on Ebay
**  Expert on-site training or consulting
**  Expanding the design area of Crystal Reports
**  Calculating the Quartile from the percentile
**  My Quick Reference to Crystal Reports in Visual Basic
**  Read back issues at

Where to buy Crystal Reports on the Web:

Since you are reading this you probably already own a copy of Crystal Reports.  But you might still need to buy an additional copy, or upgrade to a newer version.  I have included a price comparison from 3 Internet sites that sell Crystal Reports.   I have also included some little known facts about Crystal Decisions upgrade policy.  Further down you will find an article on buying or selling Crystal Reports on Ebay.

Buying the software from Crystal Decisions only makes sense if you are willing to download it, and don't want the manuals.  If you want the regular boxed version you should visit a major online software retailer like CDW or PC Connections:

Here are the prices found on 12/30/2001:

8.5 Professional Full, single user:
    $395 Crystal Decisions - Boxed
    $355 Crystal Decisions - Download
    $350 PC Connections - Boxed
    $360 CDW - Boxed

8.5 Professional Upgrade, single user:
    $199 Crystal Decisions - Boxed
    $179 Crystal Decisions - Download
    $186 PC Connections - Boxed
    $189 CDW - Boxed

Buying Upgrades for Crystal Reports:

You can save even more money buying CR if you understand the upgrade policy.  Buying an upgrade instead of the full version will save you about $160 on the Professional Edition, and $200 on the Developer Edition.  Of course, you have to have something to upgrade.  Upgrades can be used with old versions of Crystal, OEM licenses for Crystal and sometimes a competing reporting tool.

** Old Crystal versions:
It surprises some users to find that you can upgrade from ANY version of Crystal Reports or Crystal Info up to the current version.  When you install an upgrade to CRv8.x the upgrade will look for any valid copy of CR on your PC.  If it doesn't find one it will ask you where to look.  The upgrade can use any version and any edition of CR.  For instance you can take something old like CRv3 Standard Edition, and upgrade it to CRv8.5 Developer Edition, for the upgrade price of $240.  That old version of Crystal, any old version, saves you about $200.  So, don't throw out your old software.  

**OEM Licenses:
Many software products come bundled with Crystal Reports.  These copies of Crystal are called OEM licenses.  While they often preform just like a regular install of CR, technically they are only licensed to be used to retrieve data from one specific application.  

These OEM licenses are valuable because they qualify for upgrade to a full Crystal Reports license, at the upgrade price.  Sometimes the OEM license is more valuable than the software that it comes with.  For example I recently spent $9.95 for a brand new copy of "ACCPAC Simply Accounting".  This comes with an OEM copy of CR7 which is (by license) restricted to reading ACCPAC data.  However, since the OEM license qualifies for upgrade, it saved me $200.  Once upgraded it becomes an unrestricted license.  I pulled a 7 year old copy of Delrina Form Flow and it came with a copy of CRv3.  

An often overlooked OEM license comes with Visual Basic.  Every copy of VB sold in the past several years, even VB6, comes with an OEM copy of CRv4.6.  This OEM license also qualifies for upgrade to the current version of CR.  It is often overlooked because VB6 doesn't install this copy of CR by default.  It is on the CD and you have to move it manually.  

But, you don't want to confuse OEM licenses with the runtime engine for Crystal Reports.  Many software applications have the ability to run "canned" reports using the free runtime engine (CRPE32.dll).  Having this engine is not the same as having an OEM license to Crystal Reports.  An OEM license would also include a copy of CRW32.exe, which gives you the ability to create and modify reports, not just run them.  If you have any doubts, call Crystal Decisions Sales and ask them if you can upgrade.  

**Competitive Upgrades:
Starting with CRv8.0, all upgrades must find an older copy of Crystal Reports.  But before that, up to and including CRv7, you could upgrade from several of Crystal's competitors using an upgrade license.  The list includes:

Dbase for Windows
Visual Dbase
Visual Basic
R&R Report Writer (several versions)
ReportSmith 2.5 - 3.0
Business Objects
Borland Delphi
Impromptu 2.0 - 3.5
Powerplay 5.01
Quick Reports

If you own one or more of these products, you can upgrade them to valid Crystal license using the upgrade version of CRv5, CRv6 or CRv7.  You can then can upgrade the upgrade to V8.5 as long as you own the original competitive product, and the original upgrade.  Here is where keeping old software can sometimes pay off, and why Ebay is so popular!  See my article below on buying or selling software on Ebay.

Study Crystal Reports with an Expert this Winter:

Click the "Public Classes" button above for dates
Each class is $675 per student.
Or, call for more information at (888)752-4916 (toll free).

Crystal Reports software on Ebay:

If you are careful, you can get some real good software deals Ebay.  I have purchased a dozen or so full Crystal Reports licenses, a handful of upgrade licenses, and some accounting packages that include Crystal OEM licenses.  The software I buy is always still in the sealed box and has never been registered.  For example, I just bought a copy of CR Developer 8.5, the 5-user pack.  The seller had won it at a technical conference and had no use for it.  The box is still unopened.  This would normally sell for $1,950 and I got it for about $400.  Most used software licenses can also be bought and sold legally, as long as the seller doesn't keep a copy.

Ebay isn't for everyone, and you should ask lots of questions before you bid.  If you decide to buy a copy of Crystal Reports from Ebay, ask the seller the following questions:
    Is this new and in the original box with all original materials?
    Has it ever been registered?
    Does the box say anything like "Educational Edition" or "Not for Resale"?
    What is the 7 character product code below the bar code on the box?

The product code will be something like PRUCC85, and this will tell exactly what you are buying.  Each letter position has a different meaning:

1) W=Standard, P=Professional, D=Developer
2) V/R = Single user, L = 5 user pack
3) P/S = Full version, U = Upgrade
4) R/C = Regular Retail, S = Added Subscription (includes one free upgrade)
5) This is always the letter "C"
6-7) the version number

So the code PRUCC85 is CRv8.5 Professional Upgrade, single user.  If you find other codes not mentioned here, I would be wary.  Call Crystal Decisions to find out what they mean before you bid.  You may be getting a version that can't be resold.  

Expert On-Site Training or Consulting:

I have personally taught over 1200 satisfied students in more than 30 states.  On-site training is my specialty, and I charge about half of the "List Price" for Crystal Training.  

Do I know my stuff?  Go to Crystal Reports General forum at and you will find me listed as the top rated Crystal Reports expert out of over 23,000 members:

Can I teach?  Over 1200 students have written that they would recommend my class.  Ask to speak to a recent customer as a reference.  Call for more information at (888)752-4916.

Expanding the design area in Crystal Reports:

The width of the design screen in Crystal Reports is taken from your default printer settings; including the paper size and orientation.  These settings can be changed using the menu options "File - Printer Setup".  The maximum width for most printers is about 13.5 inches, achieved by using legal size paper in landscape orientation.  

Some reports are never printed but are only exported or previewed to the screen.  This can be frustrating because even these reports are limited to the width of a specific printer.  If you need a wider design area for an exported report, you need a to setup a printer driver that supports wider paper sizes like Ledger or A3.  Even if you don't actually own a wide carriage printer, you can still add one to your list of available printers.  Selecting the (non-existent) wide carriage printer for a report will give you a wider design area, a wider preview area and will widen your export space.  Keep in mind that if you must also use this report on another PC, this PC will also need to have the printer installed, or else it won't maintain the wide format.  If you use the same printer name as on the design PC, it will find this printer automatically on the target PC.

Below are some common printers that you will find in many Windows environments.  Included is the paper size to select to get the widest design screen for that printer.  Remember that not all fonts are supported by all printers.

HP LaserJet 5000 (11x17 - 17")
HP LaserJet 4V (Maximum - 17.7")
Okidata ML 321 (11x17 - 17")
Okidata ML 395 (Tabloid - 17")
Generic (Ledger/Tabloid - 17")
Epson Stylus Pro XL (Super A3 - 18")
Epson Stylus Pro 5000 (Panoramic - 23")

Calculating Quartiles or Quintiles:

Version 8.x comes with lots of nifty summary operations like weighted averages, Nth most frequent and even a way to calculate percentiles.  You can use the percentile function to create quartiles by following the example below.  Change the ranges to get Quintiles.

if {Sales} <= PthPercentile (25, {Sales}) then "1st" else
if {Sales} <= PthPercentile (50, {Sales}) then "2nd" else  
if {Sales} <= PthPercentile (75, {Sales}) then "3rd" else "4th"

VB Quick Reference Guide:

If you plan on incorporating Crystal Reports into a VB application, you should get my Quick Reference Guide.  It gives an overview of the integration methods, with syntax examples for the most important commands.  It comes with some source code examples, including a sample report viewer.  It is only $16 and can be Emailed to you within 24 hours.  Follow the link below for more details:

Contact Information:

Ken Hamady, MS
525K East Market St.  PMB 299
Leesburg, VA 20176
(540) 338-0194

Copyright 2002 by Ken Hamady
All rights reserved - Republishing this material requires written permission