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In OpenOffice 2.0 Reports, it’s easy to do the simple stuff, like just printing the contents of a table or query. It requires no SQL know-how at all, just the ability to press F4 and click and drag. Creating interesting and more informative reports isn’t hard; but you must be willing to step away from the wizard.
In this tip, I’ll offer how-tos on the primary tools needed for getting creative with reports from OpenOffice 2.0. I’ll cover these topics:
* Reviewing Report Writer, in which I’ll identify the wizard’s most useful tool;
* How to exploit the Query Design tool and the SQL view, which are not technically specific to reports, but useful on them;
* Handling report-specific fields, especially how to add calculated fields to any report document;
* Printing fast reports, covering printing the contents of a table or query in the blink of an eye; and,
* Creating your own Reports using the Next Record Field, which gives you a bit more control over formatting.
You don’t have to know SQL to get advanced reports from OpenOffice 2.0, and what you need to know about SQL is pretty simple. But SQL know-how will help you do the important parts. For instance, printing the total of all values for a field on a report requires simple SQL and multiplying two fields together; while very easy, these are technically SQL functions.
You’re going to expand your report-writing options, if you think outside the wizard and are willing to do a little fiddling with some other windows. One allows you to drag the contents of a query or table into a Writer doc, and the other lets you insert fields from, about or which control, a table or query. I’ll get into those further along in this article.