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15 Things Sunset Reports can do with Microsoft Office

February 8, 2014 Leave a comment

If you are a Microsoft Office user, you will be interested to know that Sunset Reports can:

  1. connect to Microsoft Access databases
  2. replace the query designer in Access
  3. replace the report designer in Access
  4. import report designs from Access
  5. connect to Microsoft Excel worksheet ranges as a data source for reports
  6. import Excel worksheet ranges as report designs
  7. export reports to Excel
  8. import Microsoft Word documents as RTF files into a report design
  9. export reports to RTF files that can be loaded into Microsoft Word
  10. distribute any Microsoft Office file as part of a report definition utilizing the queue and delivery service.  This includes Word, Excel, Powerpoint, Visio, Project, etc.
  11. create reports from Outlook data.   If you have synchronized your Outlook with iCloud, you can create reports from iCloud data.
  12. using OneNote, link to a report file
  13. using OneNote, attach a report file
  14. using OneNote, insert a report printout
  15. integrate with InfoPath to create a custom application

So if you are working with Microsoft Office, Sunset Reports is a great add-on.

Use the Web as a Data Source

June 19, 2012 Leave a comment

As you have probably already seen, Sunset Reports can use an Excel Workbook as a data source.  Excel has the ability to pull data from a Web Page using what is called a Web Query.   When you are in Excel choose the Data tab on the ribbon bar, and then choose the item “From Web”.   You can pull data from a section of a web page and have it inserted into a worksheet.   If the inserted data is formatted with headers, give it a range name, and now you have a web based data source.   Be sure to setup the options to have the data extracted when Excel is opened so the data is refreshed automatically.

Microsoft Excel Alternative

April 21, 2012 Leave a comment

If you add a table control to your report, you can have the table work similar to a spreadsheet like Excel. You can add rows and columns. Each cell can be formatted independently. You can put text and numbers in each cell. You can link a cell to a field in a data source.

The harder part is dealing with formulas. But there is a simple method for that. Each cell can be named and you can change the default name to anything you want. So you can give them meaningful names. Then the formulas are placed in the scripts on the report before print event. The formulas would be written in vb.net, C#, or J-script. And with the programming constructs like looping, conditional if then else, case statements, etc., plus all the functions available.  You can have the calculations even more powerful than your typical spreadsheet software.

To view the results of the calculations, just run or preview the report.

Here is a simple example. Assume there is a table with two cells named A and B and they contain numeric data. If you want the sum of A and B put in a third cell named C, the script would look like this…

Private Sub Detail_BeforePrint(ByVal sender As Object, ByVal e As System.Drawing.Printing.PrintEventArgs)
C.text = csng(A.text) + csng(B.text)
End Sub

The cells contain a text property and it needs to be converted to numeric in code so you can do calculations. The csng function does this and converts the text to a single precision value. You need to refer to each cell with the “.text” property.

Report Templates from Office

April 20, 2012 Leave a comment

If you use Microsoft Word or Microsoft Excel, you have access to many templates.   These templates can be imported into Sunset Reports as a starting point for reports.

For Word, create a document from a template, and save the document as an RTF file.   Then import the RTF file into the RTF control in the report designer.

For Excel, use the import report design from Microsoft Excel menu item when in the Report Designer.

Output Formats

April 3, 2012 Leave a comment

There are over 15 different output formats for your reports.   This includes PDF (with optional password), HTML, MHT, RTF, XLS, XLSX, CSV, Text, BMP, GIF, JPG, PNG, TIFF, EMF, and WMF.

Data Source Types

April 1, 2012 Leave a comment

There are 9 different data source types and even more when you construct a connection string using OLEDB or ODBC.

Distribute Excel Documents

October 29, 2011 Leave a comment

While many of you are avid Excel users and use Excel to extract data and create reports, you can also use Sunset Reports to handle the distribution of those Excel files.    Sunset Reports allows files from programs like Excel to become a “Report Definition”.   When an external file is attached to a report definition, the file can then be distributed using Email or FTP and be scheduled to do so using the sophisticated report scheduling features in the report server.

Of course, once you start using Sunset Reports, you will soon discover the ease of creating reports and other documents, many of which can replace what you already do in Microsoft Excel.

Import Excel Worksheets

September 8, 2011 Leave a comment

Of course Sunset Reports can import data from Excel, basically making a worksheet range a data source.   But, you can use Excel for something difference!  Import a worksheet range as a report design. The import will do cell sizes, fonts, colors, borders, alignment, and text.   The import creates a report that “looks like” the original Excel worksheet.   Formulas are not translated since they would not work and need to be reprogrammed, but the formulas are brought in and stored in a table cell’s tag property for reference.   The formatting is not 100%, but it is real close.   Here is a picture of the Import Report Design form:

Reporting from the Web

July 26, 2011 Leave a comment

If you need the ability to include Web data in a report, here is a great method.  Using Excel gives you the ability to get data from the Web.   The data comes from tables that exist on web pages.   You create a web query in Excel 2010 by going to the Data tab on the ribbon bar, then selecting the icon “From Web”.   Using the New Web Query dialog, select a data table on the web page.   Once you click “Import”, the data is loaded onto the worksheet and the data range is given a name.   You can change the name if you want.   Now, with a named range, Sunset Reports can directly read the data and you have a data source for your report.

We have plans to include Web RSS feeds as a data source for a report as well as capturing an image of a webpage and placing it in a report.   These changes are currently in development.