Course Outline for Crystal Reports 10 Fundamentals

Week 1

Lesson 1- Course Overview

Crystal Reports is the world's most popular software tool for creating reports based on data stored in databases. It's popular because of its power and flexibility, which will help you create reports that communicate the information you want to convey to the people you want to convey it to. In our first lesson, you'll learn why it's important to find out everything you need to know about the report you want to create before you even launch the Crystal Reports application. This advance planning gives you a much better chance of creating a report that achieves your objectives.

Lesson 2- Create a Crystal Report Right Now!

In this lesson, we'll hit the ground running and create a Crystal report from scratch. You'll learn how to connect to any of several different types of data sources, pull data from the data source, and place it into a report. Then you'll learn how easy Crystal Reports makes giving your report a professional appearance with a report header, page headers, page footers, and a report footer, in addition to column headings and the data itself. You'll also learn how to arrange all these items on a page for maximum visual impact.

Week 2

Lesson 3- Retrieving Data for Inclusion in a Report

Once you know how to pull data from a database and display it in a basic report, the next step is pulling data from multiple tables and displaying only the data you want, filtering out any irrelevant information. In this lesson, you'll learn how to perform all those functions, including building reports that allow the user to decide at runtime what to display. In effect, you can build one report that serves the purpose of multiple reports.

Lesson 4- Sorting, Grouping, and Drilling Down

Displaying the information in a database is one thing—displaying it in a way that communicates effectively is another. One important way to enhance communication is to organize the data in a meaningful way. In today's lesson, you'll learn how to sort a report's data and how to group related data items together. You'll learn how to summarize numerical data with group totals and obtain an overall grand total. We'll also look into Crystal Reports' drilldown capability, which allows your report readers to use a simple mouse click to access suppressed details of a specific data group.

Week 3

Lesson 5- Crystal Reports Formatting Tools

In this lesson, you'll dive into the details of the various report sections. We'll look at the Section Expert, which is your major tool for selecting options that control the appearance and the function of the various sections of a report. We'll also explore how to create a multicolumn report, most commonly used for printing mailing labels.

Lesson 6- Absolute and Conditional Formatting, External Resources

Today, you'll get hands-on experience formatting a report. We'll practice using absolute formatting, a feature that can dynamically adjust the appearance of your report based on the data it contains. We'll look at a number of formatting options that Crystal Reports offers to help you give your report just the look you want. By including Report Alerts in a report, for instance, you can guarantee that the person viewing the report will see and acknowledge anything that you consider to be of high importance. A report template is a great way to achieve a consistent appearance across a family of reports. We'll practice using both these options and more in this lesson.

Week 4

Lesson 7- Creating Cross-Tab Reports

Crystal Reports can do more than just display the data you select from your data source. It can also show correlations between related categories of data items using the Cross-Tab Object. You can show such correlations across the entire data set or within a selected group of data items. As usual, Crystal Reports provides considerable flexibility in how it presents the cross-tab data to users. In this lesson, you'll learn what the options are and how to use them.

Lesson 8- Creating Top N and Bottom N Reports

You'll often need to create a report based on some, but not all, of the data in a database. For example, a sales manager may want to look only at the purchase records of her top five customers. Alternatively, she may want to view the performance of her bottom 10 salespeople. Crystal Reports makes it easy to produce such reports, as well as others that are selective about what they display. In this lesson, you'll create such targeted reports that make it easy for managers to make informed decisions.

Week 5

Lesson 9- Crystal Reports Formulas

You can make your reports dynamic, sensitive to what's happening at runtime, by using Crystal Reports formulas and control structures, and you'll find out how in this lesson. With formulas, you can operate on data and put the result into your report. You can save time and effort by including one or more of the predefined functions in your formulas. You can even create your own custom functions, save them, and use them both now and in the future. These facilities give you the flexibility to produce a sophisticated custom report written from scratch with a programming language such as Visual Basic or C#, but with much less time and effort.

Lesson 10- Adding Subreports to a Main Report

Crystal Reports gives you the ability to embed one report inside another. The two reports can be related in some way, or they could be totally unrelated. As long as you have a reason for displaying both reports at once, you can do it, and you'll find out how in today's lesson. An alternative to embedding a subreport within a main report is embedding a hyperlink to the subreport, so we'll practice embedding subreports in this lesson, too.

Week 6

Lesson 11- Communicate with Charts

In this lesson, we'll explore Crystal Reports' wide offering of charts and maps that can add visual dimension to the display of information in a report. For the visual learners in your target audience, charts and maps may be far better than columns of numbers at getting your point across. Today, you'll learn how to choose a chart type that best conveys the information you want to emphasize. You'll find out how to use color, font, scale, legends, and titles to help you highlight trends in the data or data points that fall outside the expected range.

Lesson 12- Publishing a Crystal Report

After you've created a report, you need to distribute it. Crystal Reports gives you several convenient distribution options, and we'll explore them all in our final lesson. We'll talk about print and fax options, as well as exporting a report to any of a number of popular file formats, and transmitting it to the people who should read it. You'll learn how to post the report on your organization's intranet or the World Wide Web, then we'll discuss distributing reports via Crystal Enterprise's Crystal Reports Viewer.

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‘I found the course to be extremely helpful. The material associated with the course will also serve as an excellent reference as I practice and become more efficient with Crystal Reports.’

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