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Improvements to Application Reports

Datafile Software

Improvements to Application Reports

Last year we added options to the application reports to allow setting of page orientation, margin(s) and fonts. However, you were restricted to non-proportional fonts such as Courier New.This year we have expanded this to allow selection of non-proportional fonts such as Arial, Times New Roman and Verdana and also allow setting of the font size.

The OPTIONS Button

When you select to print an application report, such as the Aged Debtors report in the Sales Ledger, an OPTIONS button is available alongside the PRINT/CANCEL buttons.

Selecting the OPTIONS button allows access to the print configuration.

The layout of this screen has changed slightly (and will change further if you set a page size – but more on this later) with the addition of options to select the page size and to email as a text attachment as an alternative to PDF. In addition the bold/italic font options have been incorporated into the printer font options.

Before discussing the parameters you should note the buttons available at the footer of this parameter screen.

This option updates the individual parameters from your user default when they are set, overwriting presets where applicable. If no user defaults are set then this option is ‘greyed’ out and cannot be selected. To set user defaults see the appropriate section below.

This option accepts your entered parameters for this print only, reverting to defaults next time the report is run.

Depending on whether the user is configured as an ‘Install’ user then the next option will be SAVE. This saves your set parameters so they are offered as default next time this report is run (Note: this is system wide not per user). Setting the user as an ‘Install’ user is achieved through the user configuration available under the MASTER sign-on.

This option abandons any changes made and returns you to the report screen.

The report parameters available are:

Paper Size – select the paper size the report is to be printed to (i.e. A4).You can elect to leave this blank in which case the report is printed as per the last/default page size of the printer, however, if you do this you can only choose fixed pitch fonts – selecting a page size is mandatory to use proportional fonts. If you set a page size then the options screen re-displays with the appropriate parameters. If you leave blank then the options screen remains as above.

q Default Printer Font – a font dialog is display allowing you to select as required, the default font to be used for this report. If you’ve sent the page size then all fonts are available, if you haven’t set this then only fixed pitch fonts can be assigned. You can also set bold/italic attributes and font size – note that if you haven’t set a page size then the font size option is not applicable (font is sized as per previous rules).

Selecting the Font Size

Generally you can’t go far wrong with 10point.However, if you have a lot of data items on your report, and are printing in portrait, 10point may be too big to fit all the required information without overlapping fields.

The positioning of fields across the page is determined by the item size – if you imagine the stock valuation report this shows, be default, the stock code (16 characters), the description (30), the qty (14), the price (14), and the value (14), together with spaces between the items this gives a total of 92 characters, or columns required, across the page (think graph paper – you have 92 ‘cells’ across the page).

Those 92 columns are split equally across the available page (page size and margins taken into account) as starting positions for data items – so the stock code starts at column 1, the description at column 18 (stock code plus 1), etc. If you select a font size too big then the stock code may not finish printing before the description starts causing the description to overlap the end of the stock code. If this occurs then you may need to either reduce the font size or consider swapping the report to landscape orientation if the font size would go too small.

Default to Landscape – set to default the printed report to landscape, leave blank for usual portrait orientation. You may want to set reports such as the Sales Ledger Aged Debtors Report or the Cashbook Receipts Analysis Listing to landscape as these reports require a large amount of detail to be printed and otherwise the font size could be too small.

Show Time in Report Headings – set to include the printed time in the report headings in addition to the printed date.

Include Selection Criteria – set to print any selection criteria that were applied to the report.

Email as Text – if send this report via email this option allows you to send as a text file attachment as opposed to, if left blank, PDF.

Omit Full Page Headings – When printing a multi-page report the system repeats the headings for each page. Setting this option reduces the heading details for the second and subsequent pages allowing more record detail to be printed per page.

Default Output to Spooler – Usually, when printing a report, the default printer is the last print device used. Select this option to set the default printer as the spooler for this report. This acts only as a default and doesn’t prevent you electing to print the report instead.

Allow Change of Printer Alias – when these options are configured then it is assumed you are printing as ‘direct windows print’ and this is the alias set by default. Setting this option allows you to change the default alias at run-time to one of the list of Datafile configured printers. If you change the alias to a ‘DOS’ style alias then the page size (length/width) and font are again picked up from the Print Style Profile, although other settings such as ‘include time’ etc. remain from the OPTIONS display.

Print Negatives in Red – on selected reports, assuming you have a colour printer, it may be useful to print negative values in red. This option allows this.

The next set of parameters allows you to specify formatting and margin settings. This section is different if you set the page size earlier.If you have set the page size then you set the margins in millimetres. If you haven’t set the page size then you set margin in ‘columns’ for both portrait and landscape - the appropriate settings being used based on the orientation of the output selected at run-time.

Paper Size Set

Characters Per Line – the system displays the width of the report items on the right. If you leave this value at 0 (recommended) then the report width used in determining the start column positions of data items (as discussed above with regards to font size) is the larger of either the report print items or 80 columns.You can manually set a report width – from 64 to 255 columns. You may want to increase the number of columns on (say) a landscape report with few print items to bring the fields closer together to aid in reading.

Lines Per Page – if left at 0 (recommended) then the number of lines per page is determined by the font and page size. Alternatively you can set a number of lines per page, perhaps to give a greater gap between rows of data items.

Left Margin (mm) – set the size of the left hand margin (relative to page orientation in millimetres.

Right Margin (mm) – set the size of the right hand margin.

Top Margin (mm) – set the size of the top margin.

Bottom Margin (mm) – set the size of the bottom margin.

Paper Size Not Set

Minimum Characters Per Line – the system displays the width of the report items to the right. If you leave this value as 0 then the report width is the larger of either the report print items or 80 characters. You can manually set a report width – from 64 to 255 characters wide – but if you set a width less than the items actually printed then this is overridden by the report width at run-time.

Maximum Lines Per Page – if left at 0 then when printing a report the system will determine the number of lines per page based on the report width and the printable area of the page up to a maximum of 72 lines per page in portrait mode or 50 lines per page in landscape mode. Alternatively you can set the number of lines per page, from 16 to 255, and this is then taken into account when deciding font size to ensure that number of lines is printed. If left at 0 then when sending to the spooler the lines per page is assumed to be 72 in portrait mode and 50 in landscape. If you require an identical print from the printer and the spooler then a maximum number of lines should be set.

Left Margin – set the number of characters to be used as a margin from 1 to 64.If you require a margin then when entering the value you need to take into account the report print width – a margin of 4 characters on an 80-character report will be bigger than a margin of 4 characters on a 132-character report. If left at 0 no left margin is applied.

Right Margin – if you require a margin to be applied on the right of the report set the number of characters accordingly (again 1-64), if leave as 0 then no right margin is applied.

Top Margin – set the number of lines to leave as a margin at the top of the page (1-32 lines). If left at 0 then no top margin is applied.

Bottom Margin – set the number of lines to leave as a margin at the bottom of the page (1-32 lines). If left at 0 then no bottom margin is applied.

Finally, you can set default options that are used when you send the report to print or e-mail.

Print Device – if using a stand-alone Datafile system then you can set a default printer to output to. This option only applies when sending to a print device; if last printer was spooler or fax then this remains the default. If using a networked Datafile system then you can still set this where you are printing to a networked printer – provided all terminals have a consistent device path. If the print device isn’t valid then the normal printer is offered instead.

E-mail Address – if the report is sent to email then here you can enter an email address that is to be used by default for this report – though it can be amended at run-time.

Once you’ve set the desired parameters select the ACCEPT option to apply the settings for this print or, if available, the SAVE option to apply for this and future prints.


The report printing options discussed above require one INI entry to be set, and one to be disabled, within the DATAFILE.INI

To enable access to the OPTIONS button and the parameters therein you need to ensure that ‘WINPRINT=FALSE’ is disabled (prefix with a ’;’ or delete the line). To enable use of proportional fonts (and document design as discussed earlier) you need to set R56DOC=TRUE. If you followed the default install procedures of the 5.6 update then this line will have been added for you.

Setting User Defaults

As discussed above you can update the print options from a default set for your user. To configure your user defaults an option ‘Printer Defaults’ has been added to the Windows pull-down on the main Datafile toolbar. This gives you the ability to set the more generic of the features discussed above.

When printing the report if you select the OPTIONS button then selecting DEFAULT will update the report settings for this print from your defaults.

  • Release ID: 5.6