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Task 7:  Format the report

Now that you verified that the report displays the correct data in the correct order, you can turn your attention to improving the report’s appearance. You perform the following tasks in this section:

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Edit the column headings

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Double-click the first column heading, CUSTOMERNAME. The column heading is in the first row—the header row—of the table.
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To replace all the highlighted text, start typing, then press Enter when you finish. To edit the text, click once to deselect the text, then position the cursor where you want to add or delete characters.
Replace CUSTOMERNAME with the following text:
Customer
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Repeat steps 2 and 3 to change the second and third column headings to the following text:
Phone
Contact
The report design should look like the one shown in Figure 1-23.

Figure 1-23 Revised column headings in a report design

Figure 1-23  Revised column headings in a report design

Format the column headings

To format a report element, set its properties in one of the following two ways:

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Define a style that contains the desired properties, and apply the style to an element. Use this method to define format properties once and apply them to more than one element.

You might notice that in the report design, the column headings appear in plain text and are left-aligned. The generated HTML report, however, displays the column headings in bold and centered. This discrepancy occurs because BIRT uses the browser’s default format for items placed in a table header.

In this procedure, you use the Property Editor to align the column headings to the left, and you define a style to add color to the header row.

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Select all the column headings. To select multiple elements, press and hold the Shift key as you click each element. Property Editor displays the properties for the selected elements, as shown in Figure 1-24.

Figure 1-24 Properties for selected elements in Property Editor

Figure 1-24  Properties for selected elements in Property Editor

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New Style appears, as shown in Figure 1-25. The left side displays the property categories. The right side displays the properties for the category that you select.

Figure 1-25 New Style

Figure 1-25  New Style
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table_header_row
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Choose Background from the list of property categories. New Style displays the background properties that you can set.
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Choose OK.
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In the layout editor, select the table. Selecting the table causes guide cells to appear at the top and left side of the table, as shown in Figure 1-26.

Figure 1-26 Guide cells at top and left of a table

Figure 1-26  Guide cells at the top and left of a table
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Apply the style that you just created by selecting table_header_row from the drop-down list next to Style. BIRT Report Designer applies the style to the header row and it appears in color.
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Figure 1-27 Report preview, showing header row style

Figure 1-27  Report preview showing header row style

Display first and last names on the same line

When you place multiple elements in a single cell, BIRT Report Designer creates block-level elements. If you are familiar with HTML, you know that each block element starts on a new line. To display multiple elements on the same line, you need to set them as inline elements. Alternatively, you can concatenate the first and last name values to display in a single data element, as described in this procedure.

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Edit Data Binding, shown in Figure 1-28, shows information about the data associated with the current data element. In Expression, dataSetRow["CONTACTFIRSTNAME"] indicates that the data element displays data from the CONTACTFIRSTNAME field in the data set.

Figure 1-28 Edit Data Binding

Figure 1-28  Edit Data Binding

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The expression builder displays the expression in the text area at the top of the window.
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dataSetRow["CONTACTFIRSTNAME"] + " " + dataSetRow["CONTACTLASTNAME"]
Figure 1-29 shows this expression in the expression builder. The empty quotation marks (" ") add a space between the first name and last name. You can type the expression in the text area or double-click an item in the lower right of the window to insert it in the expression.

Figure 1-30 Concatenated data in the expression builder, created by choosing a Data Set field

Figure 1-29  The expression builder displaying the expression to concatenate data
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The edited expression appears in Edit Data Binding.
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Figure 1-31 Report preview showing concatenated contact names

Figure 1-30  Report preview showing concatenated contact names

Increase the space between rows

The default layout adds a minimum space between table rows. Typically, you will want to adjust the spacing between rows.

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Figure 1-32 Selected table row in the layout editor

Figure 1-31  Selected table row in the layout editor
Property Editor displays the properties for the row. The title that appears in Property Editor shows the type of element that you select, so you should see Property Editor—Row.
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Figure 1-33 Row height set to 24 points

Figure 1-32  Row height set to 24 points
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Figure 1-34 Report preview showing row spacing

Figure 1-33  Report preview showing increased row spacing

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