Archive for May, 2012

PDF Export Options

May 23, 2012 Leave a comment

When you are using the print preview screen, you can choose how to export the report.   But if you want to set the report design to have the options associated with the export predefined, you will use the Report Properties window in the Report Designer to set the options.


MS SQL Server Reporting Tool

May 22, 2012 Leave a comment

Sunset Reports offers several methods of connecting to SQL Server databases that makes it a good choice for creating reports.

Using the built-in Query builder you can connect directly to a SQL Server database as shown in the next figure.

The Query Builder also supports SQL Dialects for different versions of SQL Server.

Even in the Report Designer, you can use the Report Wizard and make a connection to SQL Server…


But of course, you can simply use the ODBC connection if you choose.

C#, Visual Basic,

May 21, 2012 Leave a comment

You can choose which language you want to use when you create scripts for your reports.  C#, Visual Basic, and are all available choices.   Choose the language from the report properties window.

Keeping it Simple

May 20, 2012 Leave a comment

We talk about how Sunset Reports is simple.   Let’s illustrate this point.    For the large companies that use MS SQL Server, they use a powerful tool called SSRS (SQL Server Reporting Services).   This is integrated with SQL Server and requires a fair amount of understanding.   Just look at all the tools that are needed for SSRS:  Power View, Report Designer, Report Builder, Reporting Services Configuration Manager, SQL Server Mangement Studio, SQL Server Configuration Manager, Rsconfig Utility, Rskeymgmt Utility, Windows Management Instrumentation (WMI) Classes, SharePoint Central Administration, PowerShell Cmdlets, Report Server Web Service URL, Report Manager, RS Utility (References).   That is 14 different tools.

Sunset Reports keeps it simple with just one tool.   Everything you need is available from a single program.   Installation is simpler, training is simpler, etc.   Now we do not say that Sunset Reports is as powerful as SRSS, but it can handle most of what SRSS provides and is more than enought for most small businesses.   It is simpler and that translates to cost and time savings.

Less Expensive + Faster = Cost Savings + Time Savings

Directory List Report

May 18, 2012 Leave a comment

Here is a sample report with a script that will list the contents of a folder on a hard drive.

First start with a blank report.   It will be unbound (no data source).   The data source will be created in a script.   On the report add a table and name each cell as follows:   Add a second table in the report header to name the columns.   And then finally add a label control for a title.

Now for the script that will run this report.

You set the variable “directory” to the folder you want to get a file list of.    You can modify this so it is a report parameter, but to keep things simple now, just hardcode the folder.   The rest of the script creates an array with file information and assigns the array to the datasource of the report.   Then each cell in the table needs to be bound to an element of the array.   Finally the title is set to the string variable “directory”.

The resulting report looks like this when previewed:

You can download this sample report HERE.

Reporting from the Federal IT Dashboard

May 17, 2012 Leave a comment

The website provides the public with a view on the federal IT budget.   It contains a variety of data sources and in particular provides the ability to download data to XML files.   Go to the Data Feeds tab to select your data.

After you download your selected file, you can choose this file from the Report Designer, using the  “XML Data Path” property of the report.  See the Post about XML Reporting.

If you choose the Exhibit 53 data source from the website and choose all the fields, your Field List window will then look like the following figure.   Here Sunset Reports parses the XML file and selects the fields in the file.   Now you can create your own graphs and reports about the federal IT Budget.   This is just one example of how you can get web data and feed it into a report.

Getting a Report via Text Message

May 16, 2012 Leave a comment

Certain carriers allow you to use an email address for text messaging.   For example, ATT uses   With this capablility you can have Sunset Reports prepare a report in an “image” format and then text the image to your smart phone.