Designing Crystal Reports for Users
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by Jeff McWherter
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Tools of the Trade

Image Editors

Adding simple images such as rounded corners to a data section, a company logo in the header, or a relevant product image in a group can change the interpretation of a report for the better. You do not have to take out a second mortgage on your house to afford a decent image editor either. Tools, such as Adobe Fireworks, Photoshop and Illustrato,r are great for designers, but for a developer who is not going to use many of the tools included in those products, they are overkill. I recommend a product such as Paint.net or GIMP, both are free and in most situations contain more than enough tools to accomplish what you need. After you have downloaded an editor, spend some time in it and learn your way around. No matter which product you choose for image editing, there are a lot of online tutorials that will help you learn how to apply effects to images. 

Color Schemes

When I sit down to develop a report, the first thing I think about is the data, where it is coming from, how to group it and how to get it into the report (obviously I am a developer). The second thing I think about is the color scheme. Many corporations may ask that you use their company colors, but many times reports can benefit with more colors that are shades of the corporate color scheme.

When I have to design a report from scratch with no predetermined color scheme, I start off by looking at Adobe Kuler. This site contains hundreds of color schemes; the experience reminds me of going to the local home improvement store and looking through all of the sample paint swatches. Each color sample is rated, and I usually look at the top rated schemes since I do not have a good eye for color combinations, I put my trust into the experts.

If I have a color that I know that I need to work with, often times I will use the color schemer web site. This site enables you to enter an HTML HEX color code and the site will provide you a scheme. There are even options to lighten and darken the scheme if you choose.

Stock Photos

Adding high quality and meaningful images can really spice up a report. Having a repository of images is a handy tool. Sites such as iStockPhoto and Stock Exchange allow you to place images on your reports royalty free. Before placing images on reports, make sure to read the license. Many of the image licenses allow placement in digital format on websites, presentations and reports, but do not allow for placement as endorsements or in company logos.


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Title: Mr   
Name: Mahmud Rahman
Date: 2009-04-22 2:12:38 AM
Comment:
Great article and explained everything about designing rich report within short time and awesomely helpful links.

Thank you very much!!
Title: Designing Crystal Reports for Users   
Name: Leda Justiniani
Date: 2009-03-24 1:53:42 PM
Comment:
Thanks for the information. I did not know about this links. Please keep me in mind when sending this kind of articles.
Title: Designing Crystal Reports for Users   
Name: bruce spong
Date: 2009-02-10 6:09:15 PM
Comment:
Great article - offers practical tips and helpful links to tools. I didn't know about Kuler.

Figure 2 probably should be set up with the Unit Cost being decimal justified... much easier to read.

Thanks!
Title: Crystal Report   
Name: Chetan
Date: 2009-02-05 11:43:30 AM
Comment:
How can I Create Dynamiclly Or Runtime Report(Crystal)

I Want to Add FieldObject Dynamiclly in Crystal Report
Title: Mr.   
Name: A.
Date: 2009-01-21 5:16:26 PM
Comment:
Great article. Very concisely offers practical tips and tools that are easily accessible. The abstract clearly indicates this is not an article for beginners, but if a beginner reads the article with that understanding, they could still some useful concepts to keep in the back of their mind as they go through more basic training (i.e., a basic reader should be able to follow most of the article). I'll have my staff read it.
Title: project   
Name: shiju
Date: 2008-12-28 9:40:44 AM
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how can i connect my project to crystal reports

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