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Crystal Reports 2008 For Dummies



Crystal Reports 2008 For Dummies

Allen G. Taylor

ISBN: 978-1-118-05256-3 February 2011 416 Pages

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A report is only useful if those who receive it understand what it means. Knowing how to use Crystal Reports gives you the edge in producing reports from your database that really are crystal clear.

Crystal Reports 2008 For Dummies is a quick and easy guide to get you going with the latest version of this bestselling report-writing software. In fact, it’s so popular that previous editions have made it a bestseller too. Crystal Reports 2008 For Dummies gives you just what you should know to produce the reports you’ll need most often, including how to:

  • Pull specific information from your database, sort and group it, and find the details you need
  • Use dynamic or cascading prompts
  • Troubleshoot and print reports and save time with templates
  • View reports on your LAN
  • Write formulas to retrieve specific information
  • Create and update OLAP reports
  • Format reports, control page breaks, and even add graphics or Flash files
  • Enhance your reports with charts and maps
  • Use Crystal Reports in the enterprise

There’s also a companion Web site with sample reports from the book and links to sites with more related information. With Crystal Reports 2008 For Dummies by your side, you’ll soon be able to create reports from simple to spectacular, whenever the need arises.

Introduction 1

About This Book 1

Conventions Used in This Book 1

What You’re Not to Read 2

Foolish Assumptions 2

How This Book Is Organized 3

Part I: Reporting Basics 3

Part II: Moving Up to Professional-Quality Reports 3

Part III: Advanced Report Types and Features 3

Part IV: Crystal Reports in the Enterprise 3

Part V: Publishing Your Reports 4

Part VI: The Part of Tens 4

Icons Used in This Book 4

Where to Go from Here 5

Part I: Reporting Basics 7

Chapter 1: Transforming Raw Data into Meaningful Information 9

Major Features of Crystal Reports 2008 9

Formatting a report 10

Generating barcodes 11

Enhancing a report with formulas and custom functions 11

Getting visual with charts and maps 11

Xcelsius integration 12

Adobe Flash integration 12

Displaying a report 12

Distributing a report 12

Supplying Crystal Reports with data 13

The Lone Edition of Crystal Reports 2008 13

Viewing a Report 13

Reading a printed report 13

Viewing a report with Crystal Reports 14

Viewing a report on a LAN or on the Web 16

Chapter 2: Create a Simple Report Right Now! 17

First Things First: Finding the Sample Database 18

Starting Crystal Reports 2008 18

Creating a Report with the Blank Report Option 20

Allocating more space to the layout 24

Introducing your report 25

Choosing the fields that appear in your report 27

Improving the readability of page headers 29

Previewing the report 30

Page footers carry useful information 32

Wrapping things up with a report footer 34

Recording helpful information about your report 34

Printing a Report 36

Where to Go from Here 36

Chapter 3: Report Design Guidelines 37

Defining an Effective Report Design 37

Defining Your Audience 37

Defining the Report’s Purpose 38

Choosing Content for Your Report 39

Choosing the Report Appearance 39

Making a good first impression 40

Deciding how best to present the information 40

Choosing graphic elements for your report 41

Style communicates meaning, too 41

Making sure your report conveys your message 42

Chapter 4: Starting Your Report 43

Using the Report Creation Wizard 43

Creating a report with the Standard Report Creation Wizard 44

Using other report-creation wizards 49

Starting with a Blank Report 49

Connecting Your Report to Its Data Source 50

Accessing database files directly 51

Connecting to ODBC data sources 51

Retrieving data with SQL 52

Reporting on data in OLE DB data sources 53

Which interface should you use? 53

Part II: Moving Up to Professional-Quality Reports 55

Chapter 5: Pulling Specific Data from a Database 57

Get Data Quickly with Select Expert 57

Using Formulas to Retrieve Data 64

Using Parameter Fields to Retrieve Data at Runtime 66

Step 1: Creating a report that shows everything 67

Step 2: Giving the user the power to decide what to show 70

Speed retrievals with indexes 72

Changing parameter values to change the report 72

Troubleshooting Tips When Retrieving Data 73

Chapter 6: Sorting, Grouping, and Totaling Report Data 75

Sorting Report Data 75

Sorting based on multiple fields 77

Sorting and performance 81

Adding Sort Controls to a Report 82

Grouping Related Items 85

Calculating Percentages 89

Drilling Down for Detail 90

Keeping Track of Things with Running Totals 94

Troubleshooting Sorting, Grouping, and Totaling Problems 97

Sorting problems and how to solve them 98

Unusual grouping options 98

Getting the right totals 99

Chapter 7: Mastering Report Sections 101

Changing the Size of a Section 101

Formatting with the Section Formatting Menu 103

Using Section Expert for Easy Section Formatting 104

Common tab, Section Expert 105

Paging tab, Section Expert 106

Color tab, Section Expert 107

Placing Groups Where You Want Them 110

Starting each group at the top of its own page 110

Printing totals at the bottom of a page 112

Restarting page numbering at the beginning of each group 113

Hiding Details with Summary and Drill-Down Reports 113

Generating Barcodes 114

Creating Mailing Labels 117

Saving Money on Postage with a ZIP Sort 120

Chapter 8: Enhancing Your Report’s Appearance 123

Absolute Formatting 124

Setting the fonts and their formatting for emphasis 124

Adding graphical elements for emphasis 128

Conditional Formatting Using the Format Editor 130

Creating Emphasis with Highlighting Expert 132

Adding Pictures to Your Report 134

Aligning Preprinted Forms 136
Adding Text from a File 136

Formatting Options 137

Special Fields Contain Report Metadata 139

Raising a Red Flag with Report Alerts 139

Using Report Templates to Save Time and Effort 142

Applying a template to a report 143

Applying a template to an existing report 143

Applying a template to a report you’re creating 145

Part III: Advanced Report Types and Features 147

Chapter 9: Displaying Your Top Ten (Or Top N) with Group Sort 149

Sorting Groups Based on Performance 149

Starting a Top N Report 150

Displaying a group total 154

Hiding the details 155

Removing page breaks 157

Going with the Percentages 160

What if you want the top 17 instead of the top 5? 161

A Choice of Group Sorts 164

Troubleshooting Group Sort Problems 165

Chapter 10: Adding Formulas to Reports 167

Formula Overview and Syntax 167

Lessening the Workload with Functions 168

Creating a Custom Function in Formula Workshop 169

Formula Editor 173

Formula Expert 175

SQL Expression Editor 177

Selection formulas 177

Formatting formulas 181

Changing and Deleting Formulas 182

Data Types 182

Simple data types 182

Range data types 184

Array data types 184

Variables in Formulas 185

Declaring a variable 185

Assigning a value to a variable 186

Control Structures 186

If-Then-Else 186

Select Case 187

For loop 187

While Do loop 188

Do While loop 189

Chapter 11: Creating Reports within a Report 191

Combining Unrelated Reports 191

Underlay formatting for side-by-side location of subreport 195

Drilling down in a subreport 196

Linking a Subreport to a Primary Report 197

On-Demand Subreports Boost Efficiency 203

Passing Data between Reports 204

Troubleshooting Subreport Problems 205

Chapter 12: Combining Report Elements with OLE 207

Overview of OLE 207

Static OLE Objects 208

Inserting a static OLE object into a report 208

Making a static OLE object editable 210

Embedded OLE Objects 212

Embedding an OLE object into a report 212

Linked OLE Objects 214

Embedding or Linking an Object Taken from a File 217

Integrating Shockwave Flash Objects into Your Reports 217

Chapter 13: Creating and Updating OLAP Reports 219

What’s OLAP, and Why Might You Need It? 219

Who uses OLAP? 220

Creating multidimensional views 220

Connecting to an OLAP data source 221

OLAP Reporting with Crystal Reports 221

Operating on OLAP grid objects 222

Creating a three-dimensional report 222

Updating an OLAP Report 232

Formatting Data in an OLAP Report 233

Changing a dimension’s background color 234

Creating an alias for a dimension 235

Formatting grid lines 236

Labeling dimensions 237

Changing Data Appearance in an OLAP Report 238

Showing and hiding dimensions 239

Adding totals to an OLAP grid 240

Pivoting an OLAP grid 240

Reordering fields 241

Sorting data 242

Filtering data 243

Making calculations 243

Chapter 14: Using Cross-Tab Reports to Mine Your Data 245

Creating a Cross-Tab Object to Summarize All Report Data 245

Summarizing the Contents of a Group with a Cross-Tab 249

Making Calculations within a Cross-Tab Row or Column 255

Enhancing the Appearance and Readability of a Cross-Tab Object 256

Changing the width and height of cross-tab cells 256

Formatting entire rows and columns 257

Formatting individual fields 257

Suppressing selected cross-tab data 258

Printing cross-tabs that span multiple pages 258

Chapter 15: Enhancing Reports with Charts 259

Using Chart Expert 259

Type tab 260

Data tab 260

Axes tab 261

Options tab 262

Color Highlight tab 263

Text tab 263

Creating a Chart 263

Drilling down from a chart 266

Changing a chart 267

Choosing the Best Chart Type for Your Data 267

Side-by-side bar chart 267

Percent bar chart 268

Line chart 268

Area chart 269

Pie chart 270

Doughnut chart 270

3-D riser chart 271

3-D surface chart 272

XY scatter chart 272

Radar chart 273

Bubble chart 273

Stock chart 274

Numeric axis chart 275

Gauge chart 276

Gantt chart 276

Funnel chart 277

Histogram 278

Different Chart Layouts for Different Data Types 278

Seeing How Chart Placement Affects the Data It Represents 280

Troubleshooting Chart Problems 281

Selecting data to make a chart readable and meaningful 281

The placement of chart elements matters 282

Chapter 16: Adding Geographic Detail with Maps 283

Choosing the Right Crystal Reports Map 283

Map layouts 284

Map types 284

Map placement 286

Creating a Map Step by Step 286

Creating an advanced layout map 286

Creating a Group layout map 288

Creating a Cross-Tab layout map 289

Creating an OLAP layout map 290

Including maps in subreports 291

Changing maps 291

Troubleshooting Map Problems 291

Chapter 17: Interactivity Features 293

Crystal Xcelsius Overview 293

Adding Xcelsius Capability to a Report 294

Creating an SWF file with Crystal Xcelsius 295

Embedding your Crystal Xcelsius model in a Crystal report 298

Enhancing a Report with the Tasteful Use of Flash 300

Viewing Flash visualizations 300

Dynamic interaction with a report using a Parameter panel 300

Part IV: Crystal Reports in the Enterprise 303

Chapter 18: Crystal Reports Server 305

Connecting to Data Sources 306

Connecting directly or indirectly 306

Using Business Views to simplify connectivity 306

Formatting Reports with Crystal Reports Developer 307

Providing Platform Services 307

Publishing and distributing reports 307

Providing security 308

Managing the system 308

Useful Management Tools 309

Application Services 309

Web Services 309

Viewing and Interacting with Reports 310

Chapter 19: BusinessObjects Enterprise Repository 311

Adding Folders to Your Repository 312

Storing Your Valuables in BusinessObjects Enterprise Repository 312

Adding text and bitmapped objects to the Repository 313

Adding custom functions to the Repository 313

Adding SQL commands to the Repository 314
Using Repository Objects in a Report 314

Adding text objects and images 314

Adding custom functions 315

Adding SQL commands 315

Modifying a Repository Object 315

Deciding Whether to Update Reports Automatically 317

Deleting Objects from the Repository 318

Chapter 20: Navigating with Report Parts 319

Understanding Report Parts Navigation 319

Using Report Parts to Navigate a Report 320

Using the Report Parts Drill-down method 321

Using the Another Report Object method 325

Part V: Publishing Your Reports 327

Chapter 21: Sending Your Reports Out into the World 329

Printing Your Report 329

Faxing a Report 330

Exporting a Report 331

Export format types 331

Export destinations 334

Troubleshooting Output Problems 342

Chapter 22: Displaying Reports Online 343

Exporting to a Static HTML Page 344

Adding a Hyperlink to a Report 346

Distributing Reports via crystalreportscom 349

Integrating with salesforcecom 350

Publishing to crystalreportscom with Crystal Reports Desktop Publisher 351

Interactive Report Viewing with Crystal Reports Viewer 354

Opening a report in Crystal Reports Viewer 355

Navigating a report 355

Printing a report 359

E-mailing reports to your friends and co-workers 360

Sharing reports in a variety of formats 360

Searching a haystack for that elusive needle 361

Accessing reports on crystalreportscom 361

Chapter 23: SQL Expression Fields 363

Creating an SQL Statement 363

Modifying an SQL Statement 366

Part VI: The Part of Tens 369

Chapter 24: Ten Things to Do Before You Create a Report 371

Chapter 25: Ten Ways to Give Your Reports More Pizzazz 375

Index 379