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Since part 1 and part 2 of this series of blogs, I had been building up, reading and preparing for a post where I discuss the steps of building a report from scratch. However, in conversation with quite a few customers who wish to create their own reports, we often advise that they use one of the standard reports from the Track-It! Reports module.

 

Here’s a basic but useful report that contains both a graph to highlight activity that may need to be reviewed and detail to drill down to individual issues, Overdue Work Orders by Technician.

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We can edit the report in Crystal. In Teach yourself Track-It!... Reports. Part 2 Crystal Reports and other useful tools I described where to obtain a licensed copy of Crystal Reports from your support profile, if you are a supported Track-It! customer.

In Track-It!, in the Reports module, with a report I wish to edit select, I can click Export Report from the Tasks list in the top left of the screen in the Technician Client and save to the desktop.

 

When we open the report in Crystal, this is what we see…

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… perhaps a little daunting. Let’s go through what we are presented with here in some detail.

 

On the left is the Design tab. This is where we do the initial formatting and place objects in the sections you want them to appear in. You can configure how particular data is sorted, grouped and how totals are presented.

This is handled quite cleanly as the data is represented in the Design view, rather than having the data appear itself. It also means that while you are dragging groups around or calculating totals, the data is not actively being retrieved so you are not drawing on resources on the database server or the wider network when doing this.

 

By default, a report is divided into five areas. In the report we are working with, there are some sub sections in some of the sections – you can see, for example, that the Report Header in Overdue Work Orders by Technician has a Report Header divided into Report Header a, b and c. But as a simple summary of these sections you can refer to this;

 

Report Header

Usually the title or any information printed at the top of the first page. Track-it! reports use this section to return if no records are found when run (Report Header b) and to place the bar chart (Report Header c)

Page Header

Information repeated at the top of each page is placed in the Page Header. This section type is not in use in our example.

Details

The main body of the report

Report Footer

This appears once at the end of the report. Used, for example, for “grand totals”.

Page Footer

Usually page numbers. Any other information that needs to be repeated at the foot of each page.

 

There are some additional sections used for groupings, summaries and subtotals, as follows;

 

Group Header

Printed once at the beginning of the group, use it for a title or for charts made of data held in the group

Group Footer

                Appears once at the end of the group. Can be used for charts and cross tabs.

 

Crystal Reports contains various “Expert” dialogue boxes to assist with organising various aspects of the report in one place. So in order to see a preview of the structure of the sections, click Tools in the menu bar and select “Section Expert”…

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Another “Expert” view to look at, which leads in to my next post, click Database from the menu bar and select “Database Expert”. This is where we can add tables to our amended report via their data source (an ODBC connection to the Track-It! database). We can also see, in the Links tab, a visualisation of the matching of records of one table with the corresponding records of another table.

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… and this is a nice link back to the tool I discussed in the last post in this series, the Entity Relationship Diagram of the Track-It! database. This gives us a similar visual representation of the relationship between the tables so that we are able to produce reports, such as this one showing data from “Table A” organised by data held in a “Table B” that has a direct correlation with “Table A” (in this case the WorkOrderStatusId, the numeric value given to Statuses in a Work Order).

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So now we’ve seen some aspects of editing an existing report in Crystal Reports, next time I’ll develop this further by going through editing an existing report as a basis for a new report.