Are your Chris21 Reports the best they can be?
Sometimes writing Chris21 reports can be a challenge. If you have been asked to create a report that will be presented to senior management and it needs to be ready by tomorrow morning, the pressure is suddenly on.

I can tell you that the worst approach is to jump straight in, write it quickly, run it and review the output and then go back and tweak it if it’s not right. While you may get lucky and come up with the right results, what if all the tweaking is getting you nowhere?

Try these tips that will help you produce great Chris21 reports the first time:

1. Make sure you understand the requirements It might sound obvious, but it’s easy to spend time developing a report only to find it’s not actually doing what is required.

2. Plan your report It’s well worthwhile spending the time to think it through and even make some notes on paper. You need to know things like, what files will be involved, what selections to make, and what sort order is required.

3. Save as you go For complicated reports, it’s a good idea to save in stages. Use the Save As functionality to save a duplicate. This way if things go wrong you don’t have to start from scratch. For instance, Save As before you link files. If you’re not sure how to link files have a look at Linking Files in Chris21 Reports.

4. Minimise the length of field labels (headings) You only have so much room on the report, therefore only a limited number of fields will fit. If your report labels use more characters than the corresponding fields, consider shortening these labels to allow for more fields.

5. Ensure you select the correct file properties for your report fields Go back to your requirements, do you need to report all records, current records only, or records from a particular date range?

6. Know when to use AND, OR, and BOR in selections You can get totally different outcomes by mixing these up. You can also get errors because your selections aren’t logical. Go back to your plan, it should be clear to you how the selections will be structured.

7. Use the Sorting capabilities of the Chris21 Report Designer – This is where you can create breaks and totals in your report. For instance, total salaries for each business unit. Publish the report in Preview mode to review the results of your settings.

8. Use the Options that are available On the Options tab you can make various selections to improve your report layout and make it more visually appealing. Many people overlook these Options and simply publish to Excel.

9. Think about how you will publish the report Most people publish to Excel. This can be useful if you need to manipulate the data in the report. But Excel won’t display report breaks and totals.

10. Remember the hidden fields The Chris21 Report Designer makes it easy to drag and drop fields from a form onto the report, but you’re not limited to these fields alone. You can view and select from the list of All Fields from the Field Chooser.

Give these tips a try to help you create better Chris21 reports. If you have any other tips let me know by adding a comment. I’m sure there are other things users do to help them write great reports!