Book review: 100 Things You Should Know about Reporting with SAP Crystal Reports

Posted by Xavier Hacking

100 Things You Should Know about Reporting with SAP Crystal Reports by Coy Yonce has been on the market for over a year, but really hasn’t gotten a lot of attention yet. Maybe the reason is that Crystal Reports isn’t that new and interesting anymore compared to the other SAP BusinessObjects tools and solutions like HANA. Also there are already a lot of books published on Crystal Reports in the past 10 years. In the past months I had to create a series of Crystal Reports in a very short timespan so I decided to pick this book up for some quick tips that could save me some time.

The approach of the ‘100 Things’ series is very different from other SAP books. It won’t teach you the very basics of report creation and it won’t discuss every menu option available. Instead it covers 100 very practical tasks you might want to achieve in Crystal Reports and it shows you the steps to get them done. I like this approach, which falls within the same philosophy we used in our SAP BusinessObjects Dashboards 4.0 cookbook. This means that some level of experience in using Crystal Reports is required.

I’ve been working with the ‘newer’ SAP Crystal Reports for Enterprise 4.0 which is mainly aimed at report creation on top of SAP BW. This book is written for SAP Crystal Reports 2011 but I guess that over 90% of the material is usable in the Enterprise version without a problem.

Each tip starts with a short introduction or case to explain the purpose and goal of the tip. Next you are taken through the steps and code. I think that about 70% of the tips use some kind of code, but in most cases these are single line statements that are not that complex, so don’t worry. A tip covers 2 to 4 pages.

Some of the tips that I found interesting are:

  • Suppressing duplicate rows
  • Designing a cover page
  • Creating a formula to calculate an average/minimum while ignoring zero values
  • Showing visual indicators
  • Creating tool tips
  • Formatting dates in a chart
  • Creating effective report templates

Also there are a bunch of tips that go beyond the standard Crystal Reports functionality and show some nice third-party solutions you can use in Crystal Reports, for example to create barcodes and QR-codes in your report.  The final 5 tips talk about monitoring and improving report performance.

So if you find yourself Googling a lot to make your Crystal Reports better you should really check out the table of contents of this book. If there is one tip in it you can use immediately I think this book is already worth the money.

100 Things You Should Know about Reporting with SAP Crystal Reports by Coy Yonce, ISBN 978-1592293902. - Nov 9, 2012 | Books, Review, SAP BusinessObjects
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