Variations In FileMaker Report Types

From Dwayne Wright PMP
Certified FileMaker Developer

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If you have been creating FileMaker reports for a while or reading up on FileMaker reporting, you know the typical report is a list view of records in a found set that has summarized information about one or more fields. In the case of subsummary totals, the report normally has to be printed out, saved as a pdf or viewed in the database in print preview mode.

I do want to express that this Find, Sort and Print is only the most basic type of report. In most cases, the basics are all you need and can benefit any business it is designed to accommodate. Here are some of the other times that you might want to include in your reporting generation portfolio.

HARD CODED SEARCHES VS USER SPECIFIC
There will be some reports that are static in the nature of what they want to show you, for example, all clients with invoices past 30 days due. This report can have a hard coded search put into place. In cases, like this the developer does need to take into account that the hard coded search might come up empty (no records were found with invoices past 30 days due, for example). Other reports can be used to allow the user to do a search first or report on the records that are in the current found set. The first walks the user through the search and the second needs to communicate to the user “report on what I have got right here.”

EMAILING REPORTS
This can be done in two main ways, the first is to print the report to a pdf document and then send the pdf document as an enclosure. Using ScriptMaker, you can add email pdf report features to your reports as part of the report generating script. The other method is to put the report data in your email as text. This can be done via ScriptMaker as well but it does take some additional work.

USER SPECIFIED REPORT CONTENT
I have already posted an example file on how to allow your users to specify their own report title for a report ( EXAMPLE: Simple Report With A Selected Title ). However, you can notch it up a few levels for allowing your users to specify what fields they want in a report and change the sort order presented in the report. This is fairly advanced stuff but well within the grasp of a user that is comfortable with FileMaker calculations, scripts, layout design and scripts.

REPORTS THAT NEED TO BE EXPORTED
There are times in with the reported values need to be exported, so they can be incorporated into a different application. For example, you might want to export the monthly sales activity so that it can be imported into Excel or a chart generating application.

REPORTS THAT ARE BEST USED IN AN INDEPENDENT ENGINE
There are some reports that use a large amount of data, large amount of fields and/or a large amount of calculating. In a case like this, you might want to export the data to a different database file and run it independent of the main database system.

The above is not a complete list of report variations but just what I could think of as I was typing this content into this posting. By all means, I’m interested in hearing about other report variations you might have come across. So please feel free to email me at info@dwaynewright.com with your reporting thoughts and ideas.
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© 2008 - Dwayne Wright - dwaynewright.com

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