Crystal Reports Is A First Class Writing Tool

Article by Dean Forster

Crystal Reports allows you to generate business intelligence reports from various data sources. It the most advanced and popular report creating tool, which is now also available bundled with several other application software, such as, Microsoft Visual Studio. Crystal Reports allows access to any data source with native ODBC, OLE DB, and JDBC connectivity to relational, OLAP, XML, legacy, and enterprise data sources, which include Oracle, IBM DB2, Sybase, Microsoft SQL Server, and Informix. The latest version of the tool, Crystal Reports XI, provides you with the updated data driver features for XML, JDBC, IBM DB2, and Exchange, letting you have the incredible data access options.

Crystal Reports was originally developed by Crystal Reports Inc. The company produced the versions from 1.0 through to 3.0. Seagate Software consequently acquired Crystal Reports, and renamed it Crystal Decisions, and produced versions 4.0 through to 9.0. In December 2003, Crystal Reports was acquired by Business Objects, and so far have produced versions 10.0 and XI. Version XI is presently in its second release.

Crystal Reports provides you with presentation quality reports, and saves you time in designing and distributing the reports. The powerful report writer produces “what you see is what you get” business decision reports that can provide your company with instant decision making capability, there-by providing you with increased profitability. You can generate quick custom reports, with great looks. The features allow you to easily create the looks of your report presentation documents. You can select your favourite type face, font size, and text colour, and enhance the layout by applying lines, choosing borders and shades. You can provide further enhancement by choosing embedded pictures, diagrams, and logos. Crystal Reports allows you to use tables, cross-tabulations, or one of the many graph styles, which could be used to communicate your business information. The drill-down feature allows you to get to the sections of the detailed report. Just by clicking the report objects, the tool provides you with a series of linked information which has led to the initial information.

Crystal Reports provide unparalleled flexibility in report creation. It provides you with step-by-step process with the help of expert wizards, which guides you in creating the report. You could also find a “Private Tutor” incorporated in the report writer, and this provides you with online help as you proceed. Your finished reports could be run at any pre-determined time, without any attendance. Even you could schedule the run based on time and dates, taking into consideration business holidays. You can find out more about crystal reports at

Crystal Report allows you to embed sub-reports within your main report, which would mean that, you can embed a customer sales account history report in a sales highlight report. Building special conditions would let you print the sections of the report to produce different report information print-outs from the same report. Crystal Reports allows you to format your reports, by which you may provide summary information in a single cell, instead of using column formats, there-by making it easy to read the report. The report writer provides you with more control over your report design, letting you customise your report.

With more than more than 35 data drivers, and with the flexibility that it offers, Crystal Reports is one of the best report writing tools in the world.

Article by Dean Forster at Find out more about all aspects of crystal reports at Crystal Reports

How Crystal Reports Offline Viewer Works

Article by Sanjesh Reddy

Crystal Reports Offline Viewer is a desktop client application that allows a user to view Crystal Reports files while disconnected or offline. To view a report file offline, without the presence of an Internet connection, use the export button while viewing a report on, and then save the.rpt file on your local hard drive. The report can then be accessed by opening Crystal Reports Viewer and browsing to the report.

Every Crystal Reports Offline Viewer is connected to a account by the Administrator and is able to view specific reports and dashboards they are authorized to access. But keep in mind that a Crystal Reports Offline Viewer is not able to publish reports. A Crystal Reports Offline Viewer is only allowed to view the reports uploaded by the Administrator.

Crystal Reports Offline Viewers are separated into two categories: Members and Guests. Adding Members is the standard recommended way of sharing reports and other documents with new users. Members can only view a single account and can be promoted to Administrator status. Guests are a limited user-type distinction used in special cases where a new user does not need to follow standard account membership rules. Guests have the option of viewing multiple accounts, but cannot be promoted to Administrator status by an account Administrator.

Once you start creating Crystal Reports and begin to sharing them with your user community, it can be expected that not all of them will have copies of Crystal Reports themselves nor will they be licensed on any of the enterprise (or web) Crystal Reports distribution systems. If the current budget doesn’t allow for securing any of those licenses, there is still a viable method to share your Crystal Reports – that is with the free offline Crystal Reports Viewer. The free Crystal Reports Offline Viewer is a free standalone.rpt file viewer that allows users to open, explore and view reports straight from their desktop when working both off and online. They can generate customized views of the data without the need of a report designer or report engine. Report sharing is also possible via email or with as discussed above.

The offline viewer is available for free download for registered users of or directly from the Business Objects web site at the following link: By distributing this viewer to your user community, they will be able to view reports that you have created, interact with them, print them, email them and/or export them into different formats. Figure 17.14 highlights the Crystal Reports Viewer with one of the Chapter 8 sample reports.

Crystal Reports Offline Viewer has a freeware version with the ability to save reports in PDF format. The viewer can also display photo images. A microfiche is a 4 by 5 inch (10.2 by 15.2 cm) piece of photographic film. There are certain security problems related to the web version of crystal reports. The installation file can be considered as light since it’s only 40MB.

Sanjesh G. Reddy writes for and is knowledgeable in many software and hardware packages. He has also written for other websites, including

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SAP Business One Reseller News: Crystal Reports

Article by Alba Spectrum

If you have SAP B1 ERP implemented in your organization, you are probably already familiar with internal reports, queries, XL Reporter and in this small publication we would like to give highlights on Crystal Reports. Each reporting tool has its own pluses and drawbacks, and you should try multiple tools, if your reporting needs are broad: from Financial reporting (Trial Balance, Balance Sheet, Profit and Loss, Cash Flow Statement) to Operation reporting (Sales by Regions and Items, Sales Commission Report, Project Profitability to name a few examples), plus if you need industry forms, such as Bill of Ladings, Agent Settlement Report:

1. XL Reporter. This reporting tool is very end user friendly and if you are accountant, who is neither comfortable nor familiar with SQL scripting, this report should fit your needs. This report is deploys Microsoft Excel tools and it has VBA extension to MS Excel. However this reports design tool works with predefined SB1 objects: Business Partner, Account, Item, Price List and similar, and you are limited in building custom links. And this is understandable

SAP Business One Crystal Reports Integration and Design

Article by Andrew Karasev

In version 8.8 there is no more need for separate add-on to integrate custom Crystal report into user interface. This is traditional reporting tool and numerous programmers and consultants are comfortable in building reports in Crystal. Let’s try to get into specifics of SAP B1 and probably recommend the ways to make bullet proof and reliable report, which doesn’t produce such annoying things as duplicate lines, wrong summaries, etc. Let’s begin with the popular method to find the table and field name that you need to deploy in your report:

1. Table and Field name. Popular method is the following. Login user interface and open the form which has the record that you would like to place on your custom report. Click on View menu on the top left corner and mark System Information. Now if you place cursor over the field in question on the left bottom section you should see the table and field names. This is good enough to give you the idea about the table to research. Tables and fields are also documented in Software Development Kit if you prefer the research to be done without bothering system users

2. Report design learning curve. It is probably not a good idea to assign the consultant who is making her or his first steps in discovery Crystal as a tool. It is often a temptation to begin design via Wizard and begin linking tables directly in report designer. What we saw people are doing in making their first steps is when they do not see real relations between the tables they are trying to fix inefficient report by placing several sub-reports. These sub-reports make the hosting report more fancy and complex to analyze in the case of such popular problem as duplicate rows

3. Professional Report Building recommendations. The first recommendation is to separate report from its base. It is good idea to build the base in the form of SQL View or even better Stored Procedure in MS SQL Server. Let’s look at SQL View method. Here you can test the result set before even opening reporting tool. And this is good point, because you should be sure that you are not leading your future report with the necessity to build links between tables and this eliminates the necessity in future duplicate lines debugging. Stored procedure gives you even more power, comparing to the view. It allows you to deploy cursors in its body and even build temporary tables to stretch linking power. Stored procedure parameters are exposed in the report as its own parameters

4. Custom SQL objects and Watch Dog service. SAP BO is three tiers application, meaning that application server is handling data adding, modification and deletion. Reporting obviously just pulling data from the tables (we assume that you do not have the idea to update records in report based on stored procedure, this would be a bit strange). It is not a good idea to push data into SB1 via SQL insert or update statements. Watch Dog is specially created to trace such attempts and report to SAP. When you are creating the view or stored procedure for solely reporting purpose – you may decide to create these objects in the company database. This is probably fine if you stop Watch Dog service and do not turn it on in the future. We also recommend you to consider the idea to create custom SQL database and place all the views and stored procedures there. When you are calling report – pass company database as the parameter of the stored procedure. In the case of the view – the way is to have separate one for each company, as view doesn’t accept parameters

5. Second Opinion. Sometimes we hear sad stories about unhappy customer who contracted consulting firm and the report was designed with numerous problems. One of the most popular is report duplication. And the cause is typically the very complex table link produced in CR directly often with report design wizard. Recommended remedy is to build SQL View or Stored Procedure, test it and when the result set is satisfying begin the design from scratch

6. Which reports are the most popular in being designed in Crystal? We would dare to name sales commission, custom project profitability, customer statement. Also SAP B1 allows you to add user defined fields to existing tables, such as Sales Invoice line for example. These fields could be made available on the invoice form in the matter of minutes for data entry without any programming in SDK. Plus you can create User defined tables. These objects are exposed to reporting

7. How about SSRS or Microsoft SQL Server Reporting Services? This tool seems to be free with SQL purchase and it is exposed through web interface. Well, if you create SQL Stored Procedure or View – is it really matter if you deploy SSRS or Crystal for final report layout design? Probably not… SSRS however should be called from web browser, it is a bit more difficult to make it part of SAP Business One user interface

8. Some facts about Business One. We believe that the direct competitor is Microsoft Dynamics GP and the number of B1 installations in USA is lower comparing to Great Plains. However BO is in active expansion mode, while GP is serving existing customers with some expansion. Business One is also localized in the majority of international regions. Localization has two aspects: foreign language user interface and data entry and compliance to foreign country legislation. GP is available in English, Arabic and Spanish speaking countries in Latin America. Current version is 8.81 (we are writing this paper in July 2011) where former A and B blends are merged and you can now deploy one MS SQL Server to host B1 companies for all your foreign subsidiaries and open user interface via Citrix or Microsoft Terminal Server. SB1 is not available in Arabic

9. Where CR might not be really the great choice. We do not recommend it in designing Financial Statements from scratch, such as Balance Sheet, Profit and Loss and Statement of Cash Flow. Consider instead giving more chances to the financial statements in the user interface, they are flexible and powerful

10. Please call us 1-866-304-3265, 1-269-605-4904 (for international customers, where our representatives pick up the phone in Naperville and St. Joseph, MI call center). We have local presence in Chicagoland, Southern California, South West Michigan, Houston and Dallas areas of Texas. We serve customers USA, Canada, Mexico, Brazil nationwide and internationally via web sessions and phone conferences (Skype is welcomed). Our consultants speak English, Spanish, Portuguese, Russian, Chinese. Our core expertise is in International Business

Andrew Karasev is Microsoft Dynamics Certified Master, MVP, 1-866-304-3265, 1-269-605-4904. He is also the initiator of eFaru project and founder of Alba Spectrum information space