The Design View
The Design view of a report is the view in which you will spend the majority of your time as you create your report. When you create a new report, it is displayed in Design view by default. You can see the “Design” tab in the upper left corner of the report design section. Once you have previewed a report using the “Print Preview” function, there will also be a “Preview” tab in that same area as well. You can then click on the names of the two tabs to switch between the two views.
In Design view, you will not see the actual data as it will display in the report, but will instead see the fields and other data objects, and the various sections of the report into which you will place these objects. The default Design view is divided into five separate sections, which are labeled at the left side of the Design view. You will also see both a horizontal and vertical ruler surrounding the report Design view, as well. The various sections are where we place our report’s data fields and other objects.
When you place a data field into a report section, its display is in some ways dictated by the section into which you placed the field. We will now examine the default sections of a report and how information placed into those sections will display when we preview the report.
In Crystal Reports 10 and 11, you also have three panes that appear at the right side of the report layout section by default. These panes are collectively called the “explorers,” and they allow you to view information in a collapsible and expandable outline format. You can click the small “+” and “-” symbol next to the various items listed to expand and collapse information, much like Windows Explorer, if you are familiar with using that tool.
In Crystal Reports 10, the three explorers that appear by default are the “Field Explorer,” the “Report Explorer,” and the “Repository Explorer.” Note that the “Field Explorer” and the “Report Explorer” appear in the same area of the screen, and you simply click the tab for either “Fields” or “Report” to access the desired explorer tool.
In Crystal Reports 11, the three explorers that appear by default are the “Field Explorer,” the “Report Explorer,” and the “Workbench.” Note that the “Field Explorer” and the “Report Explorer” appear in the same area of the screen and you simply click the tab that shows the name of the desired explorer in order to view its contents.
In Crystal Reports 2011 and 2008, there are no explorers shown by default. However, Crystal Reports 2011 and 2008 do have all of the same explorers available as in Crystal Reports 10 and 11. You can toggle the display of the same explorers on and off as you choose. You can do this by clicking the “View” command in the Menu Bar, and then selecting the name of the explorer that you wish to view from the drop-down menu that appears. The explorers are listed in the third section from the top within the drop-down menu.
It is worth noting that the explorers and be moved by simply clicking and dragging on the small title bars at the top of each explorer. They can be either “floating” over the design area, or “embedded” at the sides of the application window in the same way toolbars can. You can close an explorer window by clicking the “X” button at the right end of the small title bar above each explorer. You can then enable their display again by selecting “View” from the Menu Bar, and then clicking on the name of the explorer that you wish to view.
The Field Explorer is a frequently used tool in Crystal Reports. It lists the various types of fields that you can insert into your report. The seven different types of fields are: “Database Fields,” “Formula Fields,” “SQL Expression Fields,” “Parameter Fields,” “Running Total Fields,” “Group Name Fields,” and “Special Fields.” You can use the buttons in the small toolbar at the top of the explorer to perform different actions on the selected fields.
The Report Explorer represents the various report sections in an outlined layout. You can click on the name of an object listed in the sections to select it using this explorer. You can also perform additional actions on an object listed in this section by simply right-clicking on the object you wish to manipulate and then clicking on the desired command to perform in the pop-up menu of choices that appears. Like the Field Explorer, this explorer also has buttons available in the toolbar at the top of the explorer which you can click to perform various actions.
You also can make use of the Repository Explorer if you have a connection to a Crystal Enterprise server. This allows report designers to save various kinds of report objects to the repository for re-use in future reports. You can save text and graphic objects, custom functions, and commands (queries) to the repository. You cannot store formulas into the repository, however. Also note that there is a toolbar at the top of this explorer that contains buttons that you can click to perform actions on the selected objects.
If you are using Crystal Reports 2011, 2008 or 11, then you will also have access to the “Workbench” pane. This pane allows you to create projects, which contain reports. This allows you to easily add, remove, sort and organize reports into manageable groupings of your own design. You can use the buttons in this pane to create new projects and add reports to the projects that you create.