Daily Archives: March 20, 2006

Back to Work

It’s a hard day at work digging out after having been off on Friday. I spend much of the day messing with committee rosters.

Our database has any number of reports that produce rosters, but the assistant to the executive director wants a report in Microsoft Word format. Now that’s a harder thing to do.

Our database application TIMSS uses Crystal Reports as its reporting service. Crystal features its own viewer, from which you can also print. The viewer also will export to a number of formats, Microsoft Word included. So you’d think that’d solve my problem, right? Oh, no.

She wants the resulting Word document to be editable. Crystal exports to Word using frames, which are really not very friendly to editing. I mean, they are editable in and of themselves, but they are placed on the page more as vector objects rather than flowing text. Plus Crystal seems to separate each page with a section break. So, while the document is in fact open-able by Microsoft Word, it’s not especially use-able by Microsoft Word.

So I had been working on getting Crystal to export to an Excel record format and then using those Excel records as the data for a merge in Word, but she found that whole process too cumbersome. And so today I was trying, at the suggestion of the business analyst at our software vendor, merging into Word directly from the database application from a query result set.

It does work. I’m not sure if the executive office will like it, but I think it’s pretty handy.