Friday, August 31, 2012

Crystal Reports : Using Lines and Other Things to Make your Report Easier to Read

Often it is the case that a complex report becomes too "busy" to read easily.

Let's say that we are grouping by State, but it's difficult to look at the page and know where one state ends and the other begins.

There are many ways to alleviate this, but one of my favorite and simplest is to Insert Line.
This will insert, as expected, a line into the report which you can place wherever you want.

Typically, you'll want it to be in a Footer. This way, the line is drawn after each group is printed, effectively separating the groups in a visual manner.

Other techniques to make a report easier on the eyes are:

- Make your Group Headers stand out by using a bigger/bolder font
- Stretch our your Details section just the littlest bit to get some more space between each line on the report
- Force page breaks in the Section Format Properties (right click on the report sections, select Format Section)

It may not seem like much, but for some odd reason nicely structured reports seem to communicate their data better to the reader. Make it easy for the end user to see at-a-glance where one section ends and another begins. It's totally worth it!

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