Exporting Crystal Reports to Excel without breaking the layout

When designing and building Crystal reports, its easy to forget how your end users will use the file above viewing and printing it as a PDF.

Whilst our reports might be designed to perfection for print, one of the most common flaws is that the resulting export to CSV or XLS formats is unusable until the end user has removed and resized extra rows and columns. This can become a tedious and frustrating task for the users who often use the reports daily.

Here are a few tips for tidying up reports and ensuring the XLS output is as tidy as the print version:

  • Make sure EVERYTHING is aligned vertically – when your report is converted to XLS, everything needs to fit in a cell and every cell needs to live within a column. Whether it’s your report title, page number or your data ensure that both side of every field are perfectly aligned with anything that falls above or below them.
  • Don’t leave gaps between elements – leaving gaps between your fields will result in blank columns when exported to XLS, extend fields widths where necessary to avoid any horizontal spaces
  • Guidelines and Grid are there to help – Within the ‘View’ menu, you can turn on both guidelines and grid in design view, this can be a great help when laying out fields

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