Introduction to Crystal Reports (Online)
Want to "wow" people with your business reports? In this course, you'll master the techniques the pros use to produce attractive, reader-friendly reports for any audience.
Designed for Crystal Reports XI, Crystal Reports 2008, and Crystal Reports 2011, this course will teach you how to transform the information that lies buried in your database or accounting program into clear, easy-to-understand documents.
You'll hone your Crystal Reporting skills as you get hands-on practice in extracting, sorting, and grouping your data. In addition, you'll find out how to include totals for groups of figures or for the entire report. Next, you'll master the art of building your reports and formatting your material to create a polished, professional look.
Whether you're new to Crystal Reports or want to enhance your skills, this course is ideal for you. By the time you're done, you'll be able to produce anything from a quick meeting handout to an elaborate annual report—and you'll never be intimidated by report-writing tasks again!
Getting Started With Crystal Reports
Crystal Reports is the world's most popular software tool for creating reports based on data stored in databases. It's popular because of its power and flexibility, which will help you create reports that communicate the information you want to convey to the people you want to convey it to. In our first lesson, you'll learn why it's important to find out everything you need to know about the report you want to create before you even launch the Crystal Reports application. This advance planning gives you a much better chance of creating a report that achieves your objectives.
Create a Crystal Report Right Now!
In this lesson, we'll hit the ground running and create a Crystal Report from scratch. From Lesson 1, you already know how to connect to a data source. Today, you'll learn how to pull data from that data source and place it into your report. Then, I'll show you how to use Crystal Reports to create a quick, simple report with a professional appearance—adding headers and footers, and adjusting column headings and the data itself. We'll also discuss how to arrange all of these items on a page for maximum visual impact. By the end of this lesson, you'll know how to create a simple report!
Pulling Data From Multiple Tables
Once you know how to pull data from a database and display it in a basic report, the next step is to pull data from multiple database tables and display only the data you want, filtering out any irrelevant information. In this lesson, you'll learn how to perform these functions, and I'll also show you how to build reports that allow users to decide at runtime what to display. In effect, you can build one report that serves the purpose of multiple reports!
Sorting, Grouping, and Drilling Down
Displaying the information in a database is one thing; displaying it in a way that communicates effectively is another. In today's lesson, we'll review how to enhance communication by organizing a report's data in a meaningful way, and you'll learn how to use Crystal Reports to sort data and group related data items together. You'll discover how to summarize numerical data with group totals and how to obtain an overall grand total. And we'll also look into the drill-down capability of Crystal Reports, which allows your report readers to use a simple mouse click to access suppressed details of a specific data group!
Crystal Reports Formatting Tools
In this lesson, you'll dive into the details of the various report sections. First, we'll discuss how to resize sections, and then we'll take a close look at the Section Expert, which is your major tool for selecting options that control the appearance and function of the various sections of a report. We'll also explore how you can control the placement of groups, reset page numbering, and move report totals. Finally, we'll take a closer look at the drill-down feature and hiding details.
Absolute and Conditional Formatting
Today, you'll get even more hands-on experience formatting a report. First, we'll look at a number of formatting options that Crystal Reports offers to help you give your report just the look you want. Then, we'll look at how you can use report templates to achieve a consistent appearance across a family of reports. And finally, we'll practice using absolute formatting and conditional formatting, features that can adjust the appearance of your report based on the data it contains.
Creating Cross-Tab Reports
With Crystal Reports, you can do more than just display the data you select from your data source. You can also show correlations between related categories of data items. To do this, you create a cross-tab report, which can show such correlations across the entire data set or within a selected group of data items. As usual, Crystal Reports provides considerable flexibility in how it presents the cross-tab data to users. In this lesson, you'll learn what the options are and how to use them.
Creating Reports to Show Top and Bottom Performers
You'll often need to create a report based on some, but not all, of the data in a database. For example, a sales manager may want to look only at the purchase records of her top five customers. Alternatively, she may want to view the performance of her bottom 10 salespeople. Crystal Reports makes it easy to produce such reports, as well as others that are selective about what they display. In this lesson, you'll create such targeted reports that make it easy for managers to make informed decisions.
Crystal Reports Formulas
The formulas and control structures in Crystal Reports allow you to make your reports dynamic, sensitive to what's happening at runtime. With formulas, you can operate on data and put the result into your report. You can also save time and effort by including one or more of the predefined functions in your formulas. You can even create your own custom functions, save them, and use them both now and in the future. These facilities give you the flexibility to produce a sophisticated custom report with very little time and effort. And you'll find out how to do all of this in today's lesson.
Adding Subreports to a Main Report
Crystal Reports gives you the ability to embed one report inside another. The two reports can be related in some way, or they can be completely unrelated. As long as you have a reason for displaying both reports at once, you can do it, and you'll find out how in today's lesson. We'll also practice embedding hyperlinks today. This can be a great alternative to embedding a subreport within a main report!
Communicating With Charts
Charts and maps can add visual dimension to the display of information in a report. While columns of numbers may be an effective way to present data for some readers, you may have visual learners in your target audience who would be better served by charts and maps. Today, you'll learn how to choose a chart type that best conveys the information you want to emphasize. And you'll find out how to use color, font, scale, legends, and titles to help you highlight trends in the data or data points that fall outside of the expected range.
Publishing a Crystal Report
After you've created a report, you need to distribute it. Crystal Reports gives you several convenient distribution options, and we'll explore all of these in our final lesson. We'll talk about print and fax options, exporting a report to any of a number of popular file formats, and transmitting it to the people who should read it. You'll learn how to post the report on your organization's intranet or the Web, and then we'll discuss distributing reports via Crystal Reports Viewer 2008.
How Networks Operate
In today's lesson, you'll jump right into networks and networking, and learn how they work. We'll use examples from our everyday experience. You'll learn how to tell the difference between a network and networking, and realize that computer networks are a lot like freeway networks. You'll never look at an interstate the same way again! You'll also find out why shipping your data from one computer to the next is a lot like sending your distant uncle a new cookie jar for his birthday. Believe it or not, freeways and shipped gifts have a direct correlation to how networks and networking operate!
Peer-to-Peer versus Client/Server
Have you ever heard someone refer to a computer as a server? Maybe you've heard someone talk about connecting computers in a peer-to-peer environment. Understanding the difference between client/server and peer-to-peer networks really helps you learn about computers and networking. So in today's lesson, you'll learn how to tell the difference between client/server and peer-to-peer networks, and when to use one instead of the other.
Network Types and Topologies
Many people have heard of Ethernet, but what does that mean exactly? In this lesson, you'll learn all about Ethernet, and a whole lot more. Here you'll find out the difference between a star topology and a bus topology, and the advantages of each. Is Ethernet or Token Ring the best modern network technology, and why? In this lesson, you'll get those answers and many more!
Segmentation and Routing
In today's lesson, we'll explore how routers operate, and you'll see why routers operate a lot like how a receptionist in a growing company handles telephone calls. We'll build on information you learned in previous lessons, and then you'll find out how a single interconnected network (the Internet) can actually span the entire globe. A global network is an amazing feat, accomplished by interconnecting network segments and routing data! When you've completed this lesson, you'll understand how routing helps our data to cross the city, state, or an entire ocean.
When people communicate, they speak a language—such as English—to exchange information. Computers communicate similarly over a network, but instead of speaking a language, they use something called a protocol. Protocols are similar to languages, and in this lesson, you'll learn about the protocols used in networking. You'll also learn which protocol has emerged as the dominant computer protocol, and why!
In today's lesson, you'll learn how the networking protocol TCP/IP operates. TCP/IP is a collection of protocols, and today we'll discuss how TCP/IP divides its tasks. We'll go over how TCP/IP uses addresses to direct data to its rightful owner—it's similar to how we use street addresses.
Name Resolution and Services
Have you ever wondered how your computer converts a World Wide Web address into a website that appears on your screen? In this lesson, you'll learn how the Domain Name System (DNS) translates names into numeric addresses, and how all that allows your favorite website, email, or file to appear on your computer screen. You'll also learn how the entire computer industry comes to a consensus about how the Internet should work.
Wide Area Networks (WANs)
Today, we'll take a look at Wide Area Networks (WANs) and how they compare to Local Area Networks (LANs), and we'll discuss different types of modern WANs. You'll learn all about how data gets sent over long distances and how the Internet changed expensive, long-distance network connections. You'll also learn how VPNs secure those Internet connections from prying eyes.
If you connect to the Internet, you use remote access. In today's lesson, we'll explore the traditional means of connecting to remote LANs, and talk about exactly how DSL and cable Internet access works. Then we'll discuss other means by which many people connect to the Internet, including wireless and cellular networks.
Making Internet Connections
In this lesson, you'll apply many of the concepts you've learned so far in this course. We'll walk through the process of building a network with many different wired and wireless devices. Each step of the way, you'll come to understand what's going on behind the scenes. From there, we'll jump to connecting to the Internet using broadband connections, configuring a home router, and testing what you've done.
Review and Conclusion
In our final lesson, we'll tie all the previous lessons together, clarifying how new information about networks and networking can be quickly understood. You'll learn three categories into which networking knowledge can be placed, and see examples to apply your newfound network categories. By the end of this lesson, your understanding of networking will be solid as a rock, and you'll be well-prepared for a lifetime of continued learning about networks and networking.