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In this article we look at some of the basic steps for creating a Finished Report using the Finished Reports Designer in VDM. We also provide some tips that might help you become more efficient in the designer.
Why Create Finished Reports?
The Finished Reports component is effectively a report writer within the VDM platform that allows for much greater control over the presentation of the View’s data. Finished Reports are generally used when a simple spreadsheet is not effective, and a high-quality professional report is needed.
Steps To Start Creating A Finished Report
NOTE: The steps that follow may not be necessary to create your Finished Report. It will come down to understanding what your goal / format / layout (Grouping on fields / Formatting / Headers & Footers / etc.) is for your report and picking out what needs to be done. The steps below will attempt to cover a large portion of the steps that will likely be needed to create a Finished Report.
1. Open and run a View.
2. Click on Finished Reports Designer.
NOTE: You will need to save and run the view prior to entering the Finished Reports Designer.
3. Add grouping to the report (if needed) by clicking Add a Group and selected the field you want to group on. This can be done multiple times to add additional levels of grouping.
TIP: Keep track of what footer / header corresponds to each level of grouping. The image below shows 3 levels of grouping with their corresponding (color coded - green, orange, red) headers and footers enabled.
TIP: You can rename a group header / footer by clicking on it and changing the (Name) property (located under the Wrench icon / property. This can help keep them organized.
4. Place labels / fields into the desired bands by dragging and dropping them from the Field List.
TIP: VDM will default the alignment of the labels based on the datatype of the field.
Example: Fields with a string datatype are left aligned. Fields with decimal datatype will be right aligned.
TIP: Labels and other items can be added using the buttons on the left side of the Finished Reports Designer.
5. Align the text and create borders & padding to get the labels lined up as desired.
TIP: You can click and hold to create a selection box or hold down the control (ctrl) key and click on each label to select them at the same time.
TIP: If you copy a label from one band and paste it into another, it will keep its positioning and properties in the new band. This can greatly speed up the process for setting up additional bands.
TIP: If you are exporting to Excel, it is a good habit to make sure the edges of labels line up with the labels above and below. Eliminate as much extra spacing / extra columns as possible to make sure excel does not create extra lines once the Finished Report is exported. VDM helps assist in this by making the labels snap to the nearest item both vertically and horizontally.
TIP: Using the directional keys (up / down / left / right arrows) will auto snap making it much easier to align labels.
6. Add Report Headers and Footers by right clicking in the report designer area and selecting
TIP: Report Headers and Footers will only display once for the report. The Report Header will be displayed at the start of the report and the Report Footer will be displayed at the end of the report.
7. Add the rest of your labels to the Group / Report Headers / Footers to create your column headers and do Group / Report level calculations and summaries.
TIP: If you copy a label from one band and paste it into another, it will keep its positioning and properties in the new band, then just modify the summary level (group/report) on the label tasks. This can greatly speed up the process for setting up additional bands.
TIP: Keeping the group summaries in group headers and footers and report summaries in report headers and footers can help keep the report more organized.