This post will talk about overview of crystal reports which includes history of Crystal Reports and basic function / options available in SAP Crystal Report tool.
Crystal Reports allows users to graphically design data connection(s) and report layout. In the Database Expert, users can select and link tables from a wide variety of data sources, including Microsoft Excel spreadsheets, Oracle databases, Microsoft SQL Server databases, Microsoft Access databases, Business Objects Enterprise business views, and local file-system information. Report designers can place fields from these sources on the report design surface, and can also deploy them in custom formulas (using either BASIC or Crystal’s own syntax), which are then placed on the design surface. Formulas can be evaluated at several phases during report generation as specified by the developer.
Both fields and formulas have a wide array of formatting options available, which designers can apply absolutely or conditionally. The data can be grouped into bands, each of which can be split further and conditionally suppressed as needed. Crystal Reports also supports subreports, graphing, and a limited amount of GIS functionality.
History of Crystal Reports
Currently Crystal reports is an SAP SE company product and below road map would explain you how the Crystal reports journey was started and where it is currently running.
Versions of Crystal reports and their companies
Crystal Report tools – Options
Report Designer – Crystal Reports provides a set of over 35 data connection drivers to any relational, OLAP, XML or in-memory data source. CR provides native, ODBC, OLE DB or JDBC connectivity to databases, files, logs, enterprise applications, program elements or Business Objects Enterprise universes. The underlying SQL for every report developed in Crystal Reports can be customized which provides a complete control over how the data is queried. It is also easy to link data from multiple sources and in multiple languages within the same report.
Report creation wizard – There are four types of report creation wizards – Standard Report Wizard, Cross-Tab Report Wizard, Mailing Label Report Wizard and OLAP Cube Report Wizard.
Sections – Sections are the design areas which you use to build your report. Crystal Reports by default provides five main sections and More sections will appear if you add groups or simply insert new one.
Report Header – fields placed in this section are printed once, at the beginning of the report.
Page Header – fields placed in this section are printed at the beginning of each new page.
Details – fields in this section are printed with each new record.
Report Footer – fields placed in this section are printed once, at the end of the report.
Page Footer – fields placed in this section are printed at the bottom of each new page.
Sorting and Grouping – When you put a field on your report, the records appear in order as they are inserted in the database. Sorting data means placing it in a custom order to help you evaluate data and find information in Ascending / Descending order.
Chart expert – You cannot place chart in every design area of a report. You can place them only in headers and footers of the page or report. You can also place them in group headers and footers if you created groups.
Formulas – formulas are used to manipulate your database data into user requested format and display in the report. Crystal report is having different type of formulas.
• Report formulas – Additional fields on the report, for example calculations.
• Conditional formatting formulas – To change the appearance of report fields.
• Selection formulas – Limit the records displayed on the report.
• Search formulas – Help you to find data in your report.
• Running total condition formulas – Help you to create running totals.
• Alerting formulas – Help you to specify alerts and messages.
Subreports – Subreports is a report inserted as an object to another report called primary report. Subreports can be used for combining unrelated reports into a single report or to present different views of the same data in one report. There are two types of subreports:
• Unlinked subreports – their data is not combined with the data of the primary report
• Linked subreports – data is this report is matched up with data in primary report.
From the SAP Business Objects Enterprise platform standpoint, the Crystal Reports Server is a smaller alternative and is a lot less powerful in terms of a web portal (InfoView), administration and customization.
Note: Using publication through Infoview you can merge multiple Crystal reports into a single PDF file and distribute to end users (multiple users).