This article goes over the basics of creating and editing your own reports in AbacusLaw.
- Difference between Report and Query
- Report Types
- Adding or Cloning a Report
- Adding and Editing Columns
- Adding and Deleting Columns
- Editing Columns
- Format Settings
- Page Layout
- Create a custom report header
- Change fonts used on the report
- Change the Index (Sort)
- Adding Sub-Reports
Difference between Report and Query
Before we dive into how to edit reports, let‘s start by clearing up a common source of confusion: what the difference is between a report’s design and a query.
- The Report determines what fields appear on a report, and how it looks visually.
- The Query determines, when you run the report, what records will be displayed on the report. It filters the results of the report based on the criteria you specify, but has no impact on the design of the report.
In the case of a Column report, the Report determines what columns (fields) appear on the report, and the Query determines what rows (records) appear on the report. For example, if you wanted a report that shows a list of names and email addresses, but only showed the names and email addresses of clients, the report would be run like so:
- A report would need to be made that has field for Name (e.g. Label1), and Email on it.
- At the time that the report is run, a query would need to be set that checks for Class equals CLIENT.
- Column – this is the most common type. It is organized like an Excel spreadsheet, with columns for the fields, and rows for the records. This is the only type of report that can be output as a Data Merge File (e.g. CSV or Excel format).
- Block – this is a more free-form report design that allows arranging fields anywhere on-screen, and using multiple lines per record.
- Labels (Names only) – similar to a block report, but it is specifically for printing in a standardized Avery mailing label format.
- Calendar (Events only) – these are only used for event reports, and allows viewing events in a graphical calendar format.
For more detailed information on editing reports of all kinds, see this help guide page: Overview of Report Templates
Adding or Cloning a Report
- Navigate to File > Reports, and click the option that corresponds to the report that you would like to create (e.g. if you would like to run a report with case information, click Matters).
- The Report Control window appears. Click Report.
- Either click Add to design a new report from scratch, or highlight an existing report that you would like to use as a starting template, and click Clone.
- Enter a Name and Description (optional) for your report.
- The report editor appears. From here, you can do a number of actions.
Adding and Editing Columns
The steps provided will be creating a column report, as this is the simplest and most common report design.
Adding and Deleting Columns
- Add columns to the report by clicking Add.
- Click inside an existing field (not on the header, but on the record row), then click Delete to delete a field.
To edit a column, click on the column's header. Below is an explanation of the most common fields.
- Column head: The title for a column of data. By default the column head is the same as the name of the field. You can use multiple lines by separating each word with a semi-colon. For example, First;Name would create a column that looked like this:
- If the heading is longer than the column width, it will be truncated, so be sure to change the width accordingly.
- Expression: This determines what data is displayed. Generally, this is just the name of the field. While it can be used to display information in more advanced formats, it should NOT be modified unless you are an expert with expressions.
- Position #: Indicates the column order in the report (where 1 is the column farthest to the left). This can also be set on the main report editor screen by dragging and moving columns around.
- Column width: The number of characters wide the column will be. You may need to test running the report a couple of times and experiment with this setting to find what looks best.
- Make the column width longer than necessary to force a blank space between columns.
- Only Print on Group break #: Only prints data one time for information that has been grouped. For example, the Short Format Calendar is grouped on the When field. The date is set to 1, so the date only prints once for each day and then again each time it changes. This cleans up a report that would otherwise have the same date printed on every line for each event in the day.
- Wrap if wider than column: When selected, columns that include character strings that are too long for the column will continue on multiple lines.
Number of characters used
When designing your report, be mindful of how many characters wide your report is. If you try to include too many columns on the report, it will not fit on the page. A guide at the bottom left of the Edit Report window helps you to keep track of this.
You should ensure that the Number of characters used is at least 5 or 6 characters less than the Report width, as once the page margins are added, matching the report width exactly will still cause the report to be truncated.
Page Layout (Format > Page Layout)
- Orientation: Lets you choose whether you want the report to be printed Portrait (vertical) or Landscape (horizontal).
- Page size: Determines whether the report fills a Legal (8.5“ × 14”) or Letter (8.5“ × 11”) sized page.
- Record separator: Indicates what will be used to separate records on the report. For example, if you chose line as the separator for a names report, a drawn line would separate each name. This is also how you can separate groups of records.
- Totals separator: Indicates what will be used to separate totals on the report.
- Condensed (NOT recommended): When checked, the report uses a “condensed” typeface (around 16 characters per inch across the page). This will typically appear very small when printed.
Create a custom report header (Format > Custom headers):
Normally, the default page headers are all a report needs. But, if you need other information to appear in the report header, you can create a custom page header here.
Change fonts used on the report (Format > Fonts)
Change the Index (Sort)
Click on Index to set the index used for the report. This determines what field is used to sort the records on the report.
For example, if the Index to use is MATTER, the records on the report will be sorted in alphabetical order by matter name.
If you would like to sort by a field that is not currently on the list, you can create a user-defined index for that field. This will make it available as an index on reports. For more information on how to add user-defined indexes, see this article: How to Set Up a User Defined Index
Expression, Scope Top, and Scope Bottom should only be used by experts! They can be used to build a custom index for the report, and specify a range of values to be displayed within the index.
Click on Query to set a default query to be used with this report. If a default query is set, whenever the report is selected, Query will automatically be set to the default query. However, the query can still be changed from the default after this, if desired.
To remove the default query, click Query again, but click the Clear button on the bottom button bar of the query window that appears.
For more information on how to create and set queries, view this article: Creating and Editing Queries
Sub-reports allow listing linked data underneath the record it is linked to on your report. For example, you can have a matter report that lists the names linked to the matter.
For more information on how to add sub-reports to your report, view this article: Adding Notes and Sub-Reports to your Reports