Chapter 10. Creating Reports

There are many reasons to create a hard copy of your lovingly maintained Access data. With a good printout, you can:

  • Carry your information without lugging your computer around. For example, you can take an inventory list while you go shopping.

  • Show your information to non-Access users. For example, you can hand out product catalogs, order forms, and class lists to other people.

  • Review details outside the office. For example, you can search for mistakes while you’re on the commuter train home.

  • Impress your boss. After all, it’s difficult to argue with 286 pages of raw data.

In Chapter 3 you learned how to print the raw data that’s in a table, straight from the datasheet. This technique is handy, but it provides relatively few features. You don’t have the flexibility to deal with large blocks of information, you can’t fine-tune the formatting of different fields, and you don’t have tools like grouping and summarizing that can make the information easier to understand. As you’ve probably already guessed, Access provides another printing feature that fills in these gaps. It’s called reports, and it lets you create a fine-tuned blueprint that tells Access exactly how it should prepare your data for the printer.

Reports are specialized database objects, much like tables and queries. As a result, you can prepare as many reports as you need, and keep them on hand indefinitely. Life isn’t as easy if you stick to the datasheet alone. For example, if you’re using the ...

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