One of the features of the Chris21 report writer is the ability to link files. I receive a lot of requests for help from users trying to do this. A while ago I wrote a blog about this very topic and it goes into quite a bit of detail. Hopefully after reading it you will be able to try file linking in Chris21 for yourself – Linking Files in Chris21 reports.
In this blog I want to go into a bit more detail about how and why the Chris21 report writer uses file linking.
Firstly, why would you need to link files? To answer this I need to explain a little bit about the file structure in Chris21. There are parent types associated with files. For example, the parent for employee related information is EM. You may be familiar with some of the file names:
- EMDET is the file for employee Details (DET)
- EMPOS is the file for employee Position details (POS)
- EMADR is the file for employee Addresses details (ADR)
Another parent type is PS. This is the parent for position based information. For example:
- PSDET is the file for Position Table (PDT)
- PSSKL is the file for Position Skills (PSK)
Using the file examples above, you create position records in Chris21 using PDT. You then assign positions to employees from the list of PDT records, thereby creating POS records. Therefore PDT and POS numbers always match and this is how Chris21 can establish the file linking. These matching values are called Pointers.
You will need to link files if you want to include information from more than one parent type in a single report. For instance, you may want to run a report over POS but include some of the data that is held on PDT.
In my many years working with Chris21 I would say that reports linking POS and PDT are by far the most common. However, it is worth bearing in mind that you can link across other file parent types, such as Awards and Salaries or training Courses and training History.
An example of when you would want to link files in your reports
For this example I will stay with the positions file linking scenario. As mentioned, this is likely to be the one you will use most often. Let’s say you were creating a report to extract details from POS but in that report you wanted to include the Organisation Level 3 field from PDT. There are two fields that create the link, Position Number from POS and Position Number from PDT. For more detail about this part of the process I refer you again to my blog Linking Files in Chris21 Reports.
After you have created the link, the report output will show the details from POS plus the Organisation Level 3 code from PDT for each position. And you can, of course, select as many fields as you like from PDT to include in your report.
File linking in the Chris21 report writer can be a difficult process to learn and become familiar with. I hope this article has helped to give you a better understanding of the hows and whys of file linking.