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Crystal Reports® 2008 For Dummies® by Allen G. Taylor

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Chapter 24. Ten Things to Do Before You Create a Report

In This Chapter

  • Identifying and interviewing your users

  • Setting the report's appearance, including graphics

  • Arbitrating conflicting demands

  • Nailing down the project's scope and schedule

  • Verifying necessary data in the database

  • Determining how the report will be viewed

  • Determining the best report type for the users' needs

With a great report-writing tool such as Crystal Reports, you might reasonably assume that creating a report is an easy task that doesn't require much thought or effort. That would be a bad assumption. Creating a high-quality report that truly meets users' needs requires considerable thought and effort even before you fire up Crystal Reports for the first time. You should put thought and effort into at least these ten things before you apply fingers to keyboard.

Identify the Users

Identifying the users might seem obvious, but it's not as obvious as you might think. Sure, the person who asked you to create the report is probably someone who will use the report. But who else will benefit from using this report? Other people in your client's workgroup? Your client's manager? People in other workgroups or other departments? Perhaps even people in other companies? Identifying all the probable users is important.

Interview the Users

After you identify all the people who could benefit from your report, find out what they need the report to tell them. What information should the report contain? How should the information be presented? ...

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