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What is a Report and when should I use them?


A report is a document that calculates sub-totals and grand totals. Reports also give you the flexibility to create graphs.

Sub-total/Grand total — Reports give you the ability to automatically sub-total and grand total all numeric data. In addition, most of the time the end user is not concerned with the detail level, but only the sub-total and grand total values. You can easily turn off the display line from printing — changing a 100 page report into a mere 3 or 4 page report. If you wish to total data, you should always utilize Reports.

Smaller Files — Unlike retrievals, Reports query the database and return all data at one time. This means larger files take longer to run. As a limitation, Reports have a default setting to not run on any files greater than 10,000 records. This setting can be changed via application properties.

Printed Data — While more of a concept than a rule, reports are generally meant to be printed (where retrievals are meant to be viewed on screen). When creating an application, ask yourself “Is this going to be printed often?” If the answer is yes, you generally want to create a Report.

E-mail — Reports have the capability to be emailed. Click here to find out more.

Graphs — Reports give you greater flexibility for graphing than retrievals and should be used for all graphing. Not only do you have the option of multiple graph types (3D and 2D bar charts, pie charts, line charts, and speedometers), you can also graph detail, sub-total, and grand total data. Click here to find out more.

Top 10 Style Lists — Reports allow you to create Top-10 style lists based upon a certain sorting column you can specify. Click here to find out more.

Output Formats — Reports allow you to specify different output formats. You can choose between standard HTML, Print Optimized HTML (Output that reprints header information on each sheet of paper), PDF, and Excel Output (CSV or Tab).

Learn more about when Retrievals should be used. Click here to find out more.

Updated on October 4, 2021

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