Monday, December 18

Starting With a Report Expert Vs. a Blank Report

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When starting a new report, you have the option to use a Report Expert or a blank report. Basic design options are covered for both options in details. The focus of this chapter is on understanding the actual connec­tion and the relationship between SCR and your database.

When starting a new report using a Report Expert, you have three data con­nection choices on the Data tab: Database, Dictionary, and Query. Appendix C covers Crystal Dictionaries, and Chapter 13 covers the Crystal SQL (Query) Designer in detail. Though this chapter focuses on the direct connection op­tion, you will apply the concepts learned here to designing Dictionaries and Queries, both of which require database connection and linking.

Clicking the Database button on the Data tab of any of the Report Experts opens the Data Explorer, where you select and connect to your database. If you start a new blank report, the Data Explorer opens automatically.

Using the Data Explorer

Whether using a Report Expert or starting with a blank report, the Data Ex­plorer is where you select a DSN and set up your data source. The Data Explorer offers several folders where you find available DSNs, and other folders you can use to store and organize the connections you have set up:

• Current Connections

• Favorites

• History

• ODBC

« Database Files

• More Data Sources

• Dictionary/Query

Each of these options can have DSNs and database connections associated with them. The Data Explorer nets as an organized place from which you can select and set up DSNs, and create new ones. The Data Explorer saves past connec­tions, giving you easyreturn access in either the Favorites or History folders.

To start, we will talk about the two main categories of DSNs, the Database File DSNs and ODBC DSNs. Then we’ll come back to discuss the remain­ing options.

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