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When navigating through the Chris21 interface you will often find yourself entering dates to retrieve specific information. You have the usual options, such as using the calendar to select the date or by entering the date manually. Another, often underutilised option is to use Chris21 date calculations.

Chris21 date calculations allow you to enter a time offset and the system will then calculate the date based on your offset. For example, if you want to enter the date one year from now you would enter =t+1y. When you save the record the date one year from now will be saved.

This functionality becomes very useful when it comes to creating calculated fields in your reports. You might want to know how many days until an employee is due for skill refresher training. You can build a date calculation into your report to do this. For some background information about calculated fields in reports see my blog How to Use Calculated Fields in Your Chris21 reports.

In this example, you use the text $TODAY to specify that this is a date calculation using today’s date. Create a calculated field that subtracts today’s date from the Next Refresh Date on the Skill (SKL) form to find the number of days until the next skills refresh is due. A negative figure will mean that the refresh is overdue:

Chris21 date calculations

You can also use Chris21 date calculations in your report selections. For instance, to create a report that returns data based on a future date. A good example is a report to show all positions that have an end date within the next three months. This could be useful to highlight when contracts are due for renewal. The selection criteria for this report is shown below:

Chris21 date calculations

This type of report is most useful if you want to schedule it to run on a regular basis, always showing positions that will end within three months of the date the report is run. In order to schedule reports that run based on the date entered, you will need to set up the report to run from your menu rather than directly from the report designer.

The reason for this is that the report designer will set the actual date in the selection fields once you have run the report. If you were to go back to the report in the Report Designer, you will have to manually change the selection criteria to start at today’s date. If you set the report up to run from the menu then you are actually saving the selection options from a Chris21 form rather than directly from the Report Designer. In this way, the date calculations will be maintained.

I can refer you to the following blogs that have more detail about scheduling reports and adding reports to menus: How to Schedule Reports in Chris21 and How to Add Chris21 Reports to a Menu.

When navigating in Chris21 keep in mind that you have the added functionality of Chris21 date calculations available to you. As you can see, this feature can be used in a number of innovative ways to help you retrieve data from Chris21.