Getting started - Report Generator

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This article gives you an overview of how to use the Platinum Report Generator. It will deal with general principles rather than every detail.

More Information

First Considerations

On what do you want to report?

The report generator is an extremely flexible and powerful tool, but you need to understand what it is that you want. The report generators are available in each module of the system, so there is no point trying to produce a report about units from the stock control system! You need to have an understanding of how the data is arranged in Platinum so that you can produce a report that makes sense and reads the correct data files to get the information that you want.

So how is the data arranged?

Data is held in different files dependent on what it is. For example, unit information is held in the unit file, stock information is held in the stock file and the stock history file, customer information in the customer file, workshop information in the workshop file and so on. The files can be related in many circumstances, but the report generator "decides" on a file on which to base its report. For example, if you ask it for information about a customer and a stock item, it will "decide" to use the stock history as its base file by default, since this is the most sensible file on which these two items are stored and related. Understanding this type of relationship between items in files is essential for getting the best out of the report generator.

Getting Started

You have decided on what you want to report. This decides which report generator you will use. From the report generator front screen :

  • Click the [Add] button.
  • Enter a code for the report. This is three characters.
  • Enter a description for the report. Try to make this helpful to remember what the report does!
  • Press <Enter> to start editing the report.

There are three key areas here.

Sort Order

The sort order has two purposes, one simple and one less obvious. The simple purpose is that the sort order dictates the order in which information appears on the report; the less obvious purpose is that of providing an index of the data on which you want to report. This index indicates to the system which file it should then use as its base file, unless you tell it otherwise.

Range Filter(1)/(2)/(3)

The range filter is used to limit the data gathered to that in which you are interested. For example, if you want to report on a single stock group then you will need a range filter involving the stock group. There are three levels of filter, labelled 1,2 and 3. For most reports, (1) is all you will need.

See Why are there three report ranges?.

Column Details

The columns give the actual information on the report.

You have up to 99 columns and each column can contain a different 'type' of information.

See Column types in the report generator.

These are the three key areas.

Other Considerations

Output Options

The output options define how the report will be presented, whether it is to the screen, a file or printer.

  • To output the report to a file directly for third party links, set "Style" to 'E' and "Output" to 'F'. This will present a file name option to be defined; '..\export.csv' will put the file 'export.csv' in the SX folder.
  • If you are outputting information to the screen and you want the date to be refreshed at certain intervals, you can use "Roll delay". "Roll delay" is set at '000' seconds by default, which allows the report to be shown as an HTML page. If it is set at a higher figure, this would allow a rolling report which will refresh with new data at the delay you set.
IMPORTANT INFORMATION - If you are using the report on Platinum Online, the delay will need to be set at '000'. HTML can not handle the roll delay and will show a rendering error, as the HTML page online can't show rolling data.

See also

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