Seagate Crystal Reports Designer

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1 Objectives Contents This document is intended to assist you in creating or modifying a report in the Crystal Reports Designer, Seagate Info Report Designer, or the Design tab of Seagate Analysis that exports successfully to Microsoft Excel. There are two main sections to this document. The first section contains design tips for those who have not yet started (or have just begun) to create a report for export to Excel. The second sections lists troubleshooting tips for those who have already tried exporting to Excel and were not satisfied with the results. DESIGNING A REPORT FOR EXPORTING TO EXCEL...2 Before you begin: setting report options... 2 Placing objects on the report... 3 Minimize section height...3 Use guidelines to align fields...3 Ensure fields have a uniform height and width...3 Format fields and objects consistently...4 Examples of good and bad exports... 4 CHOOSING AN EXCEL EXPORTING FORMAT...6 The Regular or Extended option for Excel 5.0 or higher...6 TROUBLESHOOTING ISSUES WITH EXCEL EXPORTS...7 Blank rows appear in the Excel worksheet... 7 Fields appear on different rows... 8 Fields or sections do not conditionally suppress properly... 9 Blank columns appear when exporting to Excel... 9 Column headers are not aligned with the data Records are missing when exporting to Excel Date fields appear as XXXXXXX when exporting to Excel Text is truncated when exporting to Excel Column and row headers in a cross-tab do not appear when exporting to Excel CONTACTING CRYSTAL DECISIONS FOR TECHNICAL SUPPORT /18/2001 4:56 PM Copyright 2001 Crystal Decisions, Inc. All Rights Reserved. Page 1

2 Designing a Report for Exporting to Excel Crystal Reports uses an insertion point interface. When a report is created, you are actually placing a series of objects on a page. These objects can be placed anywhere on the page; as they are placed, each object is assigned an XY coordinate. This XY coordinate is simply a measurement from the top left corner of the page. The Microsoft Excel uses a line-by-line interface. A line-by-line interface does not allow for placement of objects between the lines. Therefore, once exported, any report objects placed between lines are moved to the closest line by the export DLL. By selecting the report options outlined below, the export to Excel will maintain as much as possible the column and row setup of a spreadsheet. Rather than continuing to place all fields on the report and then exporting to Excel, we recommend that you test the export process with just a few fields positioned. Note the final results of the export and then continue adding more fields, testing the export results as you go. While this method can be tedious, it allows you to instantly make adjustments on the report if fields are misaligned when exported to Excel. Before you begin: setting report options When exporting a report from Crystal Reports format into Microsoft Excel format, various changes to formatting may occur. To minimize these changes, you can select certain report options. You must select these report options before you begin building the report. 1. On the File menu, select Options. 2. On the Layout Tab, select the following checkboxes: View options Show Rulers in Design Show Rulers in Preview Show Guidelines in Design Show Guidelines in Preview Grid options Snap to Grid Show Grid in Design Show Grid in Preview Clear Free Form Placement 4/18/2001 4:56 PM Copyright 2001 Crystal Decisions, Inc. All Rights Reserved. Page 2

3 3. Change the grid size (optional). The default grid size is inches; however, we recommend that you use inches. This makes it much easier to see individual grid points when checking alignment. Placing objects on the report When exporting to Microsoft Excel, the design of a report should look similar to the layout of a spreadsheet. Report objects should not overlap one another. Each object should represent one Excel cell upon export. Minimize section height To reduce the occurrences of blank rows in the exported Excel worksheet, minimize the height of each section using Fit Section. To do this: 1. On the Design tab, right-click the appropriate section name on the gray margin to the left of the screen. 2. Click Fit Section. This moves the bottom border of the section up until it is just below the lowest field in the section. NOTE Sometimes after using Fit Section there is still extra space below the lowest field in the section. Check the size of the fields in the section. Some fields might be several lines in height, so you need to resize them. Check for empty text objects at the bottom of the section, deleting any you find. Now try using Fit Section once more. Use guidelines to align fields How you place database fields on the report affects the layout of the Excel spreadsheet. Following the steps below minimize the layout differences between the original report in the Report Designer and the exported spreadsheet: 1. Create a guideline To align all the fields in a row, click the vertical ruler (to the left). To align all the fields in a column, click the horizontal ruler (at the top). 2. Snap all the report objects to these guidelines. Click an object, drag it away from the guideline, and then drag it slowly back to the guideline. When the object gets close to the guideline it snaps to the line and a red mark will appear at the corner of the object. To move the object, click and drag the triangular guideline anchors on the appropriate ruler. Ensure fields have a uniform height and width All the fields or text objects that are to appear in the same row in Excel must be the same height in the Report Designer. Likewise, all the fields or text objects 4/18/2001 4:56 PM Copyright 2001 Crystal Decisions, Inc. All Rights Reserved. Page 3

4 appearing in the same column in Excel must have the same width in the Report Designer. Minimizing the height of an object and space between objects reduces occurrences of blank columns and rows in the exported Excel worksheet. To set the size of an object in report design, right-click the item and select Object Size and Position. Size all the fields and text objects in the same column so they are just wide enough (and just high enough) to accommodate the tallest and longest value in the fields or text objects. Base the width of objects on the horizontal length of the data. Use the horizontal and vertical rulers as a reference when specifying height, width, and XY coordinates. Format fields and objects consistently Format fields and objects in the same column with the same text justification (that is, right-justified, left-justified or center-justified). 1. Select all the fields and objects in a column (tip: you can use the mouse to draw a lasso that selects multiple fields and objects). 2. Right-click any of the selected items, then click Format Objects. The Format Editor dialogue box appears. 3. On the Common tab, select a justification in the Horizontal Alignment box. Font face, style and size can also affect the width of data on the report, and consequently can affect the look of the exported worksheet. You therefore need to format fonts consistently. 1. While still in the Format Editor dialogue box, click the Font tab. 2. Select a font, style and size in the corresponding boxes that you want for all the selected fields and objects. 3. Click OK to return to the report. Now when you preview the reports, all the fields and text objects display with a consistent format. Examples of good and bad exports The following screenshots show the difference results between exporting a report designed for export to Excel and one that was not. Example A displays a report that was designed using techniques and suggestions outlined in this document and the exported worksheet in Excel. Example B displays a report that was not designed using techniques and suggestions outline in this document and the exported worksheet in Excel. 4/18/2001 4:56 PM Copyright 2001 Crystal Decisions, Inc. All Rights Reserved. Page 4

5 Example A: Exports well In the Report Designer In Excel Crystal Report The report uses a grid and guidelines to align objects, and all the objects in each column have a uniform width and justification. This ensures columns are aligned and cells have the same justification in the Excel worksheet. There is minimal spacing between columns. This ensures no extra columns appear in the Excel worksheet. All objects in each row have the same height. This ensures no extra rows appear in the Excel worksheet. Example B: Exports poorly Exported Excel worksheet 4/18/2001 4:56 PM Copyright 2001 Crystal Decisions, Inc. All Rights Reserved. Page 5

6 Choosing an Excel exporting format The Excel formats available to you depend on which version of the Crystal or Seagate Info Report Designer you are using. Report Designer version Exports to these Excel Formats 5 and to to (Crystal Reports only) 5.0 to 8.0 The Regular or Extended option for Excel 5.0 or higher When exporting to Excel 5.0, 6.0, 7.0 and 8.0 you must select one of two exporting options: Regular Extended This format attempts to keep as much of the look and feel of the report as possible This format disregards the look and feel of the report and places the objects in a strict column and row format Choosing Extended option presents you with several more formatting options: Column Headings Use worksheet functions to represent subtotal fields in report Set column width Format Selecting this option places column headers at the top of each Excel column Selecting this option tells Excel to calculate subtotal values using Excel functions You can either specify a constant value for cell width, or base cell width on objects in a particular report section. You can select either non-tabular or tabular formats. Non-tabular format arranges objects on the same horizontal coordinate into one row. Tabular format arranges all objects in one section into one row. 4/18/2001 4:56 PM Copyright 2001 Crystal Decisions, Inc. All Rights Reserved. Page 6

7 Troubleshooting Issues with Excel Exports This section lists the most common problems people encounter when exporting to Excel. Usually there are several reasons why each problem occurred, and each explanation includes steps to correct the problem. Blank rows appear in the Excel worksheet There are three main causes for blank rows in a worksheet. Fields or text objects were placed in the same section but were not horizontally aligned using guidelines or the snap-to-grid option. To prevent blank rows, use guidelines to align fields: 1. In the Design tab of the report, click on the vertical ruler to create a guideline. 2. Click the field that needs to be aligned, and drag it to the guideline. The field should snap to guideline and corners should be highlighted in red, indicating that field is attached. If the corners of the field do not turn red, repeat the above steps until the field is snapped to the guideline (refer to Report Design section above for more information). 3. Set the object s size and position by right-clicking the field, selecting Object Size and Position and then setting the XY coordinates. Use the horizontal and vertical rulers as a reference when specifying height, width, and XY coordinates. The next time you export this report to Excel, there are no additional blank rows for this section. Fields with differing heights were placed in the same section. To prevent blank rows, resize the heights of all the fields in the section so they are uniform: 1. In the Design tab of the report, hold down the Shift key while clicking the field, until all the fields (and any other objects) in the section are highlighted. 2. Right-click any of the fields, click Size, and then point to Same Height. The next time you export this report to Excel, there are no additional blank rows for this section 4/18/2001 4:56 PM Copyright 2001 Crystal Decisions, Inc. All Rights Reserved. Page 7

8 Sections are formatted with complex conditional suppression formulas. To avoid blank rows from conditional suppression formulas: Don t use multiple If Then Else statements in conditional suppression formulas. Don t use shared variables and complex formulas that occur WhilePrintingRecords (also known as 2 nd pass formulas). WhilePrintingRecords formulas are any formulas that use a function that requires data from more than one record. Examples of these are Next, Previous, and any summary function. Such formulas can fail to evaluate during export and therefore create inconsistent results Don t use functions that refer to page numbers, such as PageNumber, TotalPageCount, and Page N of M. References to page numbers cannot be converted when exporting to Excel Fields appear on different rows There are three main causes for fields that are part of one row in the Report Designer appearing in different rows in a worksheet. Fields in the same section are not vertically aligned To prevent fields appearing on different rows, vertically-align fields with guidelines: 1. In Design view, click the vertical ruler to create a horizontal guideline 2. Click one of the fields in the section, and drag it to the horizontal guideline. The field should snap to the guideline. When the corners are highlighted in red, this indicates the field is snapped to the guideline. If the field corners do not turn red, repeat the above steps until field is snapped to the guideline (refer to Report Design section above for more information). 3. Repeat step 2 until all the fields in the section are snapped to the horizontal guideline. 4. Select all the fields in the section by holding down the Shift key while clicking the fields, until all the fields are highlighted. 5. Right-click any of the fields, click Size, and then point to Same Height. The next time you export this report to Excel, all the fields in the section appear in the same row. Fields in the same section do not have the same height To prevent fields appearing on different rows, ensure all the fields in the same section have the same vertical size: 1. Select all the fields in the section by holding down the Shift key while clicking the fields, until all the fields are highlighted. 2. Right-click any of the fields, click Size, and then point to Same Height. 4/18/2001 4:56 PM Copyright 2001 Crystal Decisions, Inc. All Rights Reserved. Page 8

9 The next time you export this report to Excel, all the fields in the section appear in the same row. While exporting to Excel (non-extended) allows fields from the same section to appear on more than one row Export to the Excel - Extended format. This forces all fields from one section to appear in the same row. To export to Excel extended: 1. On the File menu, click Print, and then point to Export. 2. In the Format box, select Excel Extended. 3. In the Destination box, select a destination for the exported worksheet, and then click OK. The Format Options dialog box appears. 4. In the Format section, click Tabular. 5. Click OK, and then specify a name and location for the exported worksheet. The next time you export this report to Excel, all the fields in the section appear in the same row. Fields or sections do not conditionally suppress properly Complex conditional suppression formulas may not evaluate properly during the export process and therefore can be unreliable. To minimize the chances of your conditional suppression formula failing to evaluate, follow these tips: Avoid using multiple conditional suppression formulas (that is, formulas that use multiple If Else statements). Avoid using shared variables and complex formulas that occur during the WhilePrintingRecords evaluation time. Don t use functions that refer to page numbers, such as PageNumber, TotalPageCount, and Page N of M. References to page numbers cannot be converted when exporting to Excel. This happens because Excel does not paginate; instead, it places all the data in one large worksheet. Blank columns appear when exporting to Excel There are four main causes for extra blank columns to appear in a worksheet. Fields in the same column are not aligned with guidelines or snap-to-grid To prevent blank columns, align all the objects in a report column with guidelines. 1. In the Design tab of the report, click the horizontal ruler to create a vertical guideline. 2. Click one of the fields in the section, and drag it to the vertical guideline. The field should snap to the guideline. When the corners are highlighted in red, this indicates the field is snapped to the guideline. If the field corners do not turn red, repeat the above steps until field snaps to 4/18/2001 4:56 PM Copyright 2001 Crystal Decisions, Inc. All Rights Reserved. Page 9

10 the guideline (refer to the Use guidelines to align fields section for more information). 3. Repeat step 2 until all the fields in the section are snapped to the vertical guideline. 4. Set the object s size and position by right-clicking the field, selecting Object Size and Position and then setting the XY coordinates. Use the horizontal and vertical rulers as a reference when specifying height, width, and XY coordinates. The next time you export this report to Excel, there are no additional blank columns in the worksheet. Objects in the same column have different widths To ensure all the objects in the same column have the same width: 1. Select all the objects (such as database fields, column header text objects, and summary or subtotals) in the column by holding down the Shift key while clicking the fields, until all the fields are highlighted. 2. Right-click any of the fields, click Size, and then point to Same Width. This widens all the fields in the column until they are the same width as the widest object in the column. The next time you export this report to Excel, there are no additional blank columns in the worksheet. NOTE Fields formatted so they are much wider than the actual size of the data can cause blank columns. Make sure the field width is just wide enough to display the longest data value. See Ensure fields have a uniform height and width on page 3. Fields and objects in the same column do not have the same text alignment (For example, the column heading text object is right-aligned, while the database field is center-aligned) To ensure all objects have a uniform alignment: 1. Select all the objects (such as database fields, column header text objects, and summary or subtotals) in the column by holding down the Shift key while clicking the fields, until all the fields are highlighted. 2. Right-click any of the fields, then click Format Objects. This opens the Format Editor dialog box. 3. On the Common tab, specify an alignment in the Horizontal Alignment box. 4. Click OK to return to the report. All the objects in the same column now have the same alignment. The next time you export this report to Excel, there are no additional blank columns in the worksheet. 4/18/2001 4:56 PM Copyright 2001 Crystal Decisions, Inc. All Rights Reserved. Page 10

11 Fields or objects with different font size and formatting (bold, italics) can cause blank columns To ensure uniform font formatting for all objects in a column: 1. Select all the objects (such as database fields, column header text objects, and summary or subtotals) in the column by holding down the Shift key while clicking the fields, until all the fields are highlighted. 2. Right-click any of the fields, then click Format Objects. This opens the Format Editor dialog box. 3. On the Font tab, specify a size and format for the objects box. 4. Click OK to return to the report. The next time you export this report to Excel, there are no additional blank columns in the worksheet. Column headers are not aligned with the data There are five main causes for column headers not lining up with the corresponding data in the exported worksheet. Fields or objects in the same column and that are not aligned using vertical guidelines or snap-to grid can cause misaligned data 1. In Design tab of the report, click the horizontal ruler to create a vertical guideline. 2. Click one of the fields in the section, and drag it to the vertical guideline. The field should snap to the guideline. When the corners are highlighted in red, this indicates the field is snapped to the guideline. If the field corners do not turn red, repeat the above steps until field is snapped to the guideline (refer to Report Design section above for more information). 3. Repeat step 2 until all the fields or objects in the section are snapped to the vertical guideline. 4. Set the object s size and position by right-clicking the field, selecting Object Size and Position and then setting the XY coordinates. Use the horizontal and vertical rulers as a reference when specifying height, width, and XY coordinates. The next time you export this report to Excel, the column headers align with the data. Fields to appear in the same column and do not have the same width can cause data to be unaligned To ensure all the objects in the same column have the same width: 1. Select all the objects (such as database fields, column header text objects, and summary or subtotals) in the column by holding down the Shift key while clicking the fields, until all the fields are highlighted. 2. Right-click any of the fields, click Size, and then point to Same Width. This widens all the fields in the column until they are the same width as the widest object in the column. 4/18/2001 4:56 PM Copyright 2001 Crystal Decisions, Inc. All Rights Reserved. Page 11

12 The next time you export this document to Excel, all the data in the column will be aligned. NOTE Fields formatted so they are much wider than the actual size of the data can cause blank columns. Make sure the field width is just wide enough to display the longest data value. See Ensure fields have a uniform height and width on page 3. Fields appearing in the same column should have the same text alignment (right align, left align or center align) To ensure all objects have a uniform alignment: 1. Select all the objects (such as database fields, column header text objects, and summary or subtotals) in the column by holding down the Shift key while clicking the fields, until all the fields are highlighted. 2. Right-click any of the fields, then click Format Objects. This opens the Format Editor dialog box. 3. On the Common tab, specify an alignment in the Horizontal Alignment box. The next time you export this document to Excel, all the data in the column will be aligned. Fields with different font size and formatting (bold, italics) can cause data to be unaligned To ensure uniform font formatting for all objects in a column: 1. Select all the objects (such as database fields, column header text objects, and summary or subtotals) in the column by holding down the Shift key while clicking the fields, until all the fields are highlighted. 2. Right-click any of the fields, then click Format Objects. This opens the Format Editor dialog box. 3. On the Font tab, specify a size and format for the objects box. 4. Click OK to return to the report. The next time you export this report to Excel, all the data in the column will be aligned. Exporting to Excel - Extended format can create column headers that are properly aligned 1. On the File menu, click Print, and then point to Export. 2. In the Format box, select Excel Extended. 3. In the Destination box, select a destination for the exported worksheet, and then click OK. The Format Options dialog box appears. 4. In the Format section, click Tabular. 5. Click OK, and then specify a name and location for the exported worksheet. The exported worksheet should now have all fields from the same section appear in one row. 4/18/2001 4:56 PM Copyright 2001 Crystal Decisions, Inc. All Rights Reserved. Page 12

13 Records are missing when exporting to Excel The following are limitations of Excel itself, and not of the Crystal Reports exporting DLL for Excel: When exporting to Excel 5.0 or earlier there is a row limit of 16,371. When exporting to Excel 7.0 or 8.0 there is a row limit of approximately 64,000. Date fields appear as XXXXXXX when exporting to Excel The solution for this issue depends on which version of Excel you have exported to. In Excel version 5, Crystal Reports Date-Time fields display as XXXXXXX. To correct this, select the cells in Excel and format them as Date-Time values. In Excel versions 7.0 and 8.0, widen the column containing the affected cells. If using Office 97, install latest Service Release (SR) available from Microsoft Text is truncated when exporting to Excel This is usually because the text is stored in a memo field. Memo fields are not supported when exporting to Excel. Crystal Reports exports up to a maximum of 255 characters to an Excel cell. Column and row headers in a cross-tab do not appear when exporting to Excel Row or column header values created with the Specified Order or Customized Group Name (version 8) Group Options for cross-tabs are missing when exported to Excel. Use a formula for to create custom column headings for a cross-tab: 1. On the Insert menu, click Formula Field. 2. Click New, specify a name for the formula, and then click OK. The Formula Editor dialogue box appears. 3. Enter a formula similar to the following: 4/18/2001 4:56 PM Copyright 2001 Crystal Decisions, Inc. All Rights Reserved. Page 13

14 //Formula to use in a cross-tab as for custom headings WhileReadingRecords; If Month({Date.Field})=1 Then Jan Else If Month({Date.Field})=2 Then Feb Else If Month({Date.Field})=3 Then Mar Else Others 4. Use this formula for the row or column header for the cross-tab The next time you export this report to Excel, the column and/or row headers display properly. Contacting Crystal Decisions for Technical Support Along with this document, and the Crystal Reports User s Guide, we recommend that you visit our Technical Support web site for further resources and sample files. For further assistance, visit us at the web sites below. Technical Support web site: Answers By Support: Phone Support: Tel: (604) /18/2001 4:56 PM Copyright 2001 Crystal Decisions, Inc. All Rights Reserved. Page 14

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