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Task 8:  Format the report

Now that the report displays the correct data, focus on improving the report’s appearance. You perform the following tasks in this section:

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Adjust the column widths

When you insert a table, BIRT creates columns with equal widths. In this report, you can improve the layout by decreasing the width of the credit limit column, and increasing the width of the customer column. If you view the entire report, you see that some of the customer names extend to the edge of the column and one name is truncated.

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Select the first column and decrease its width to 1.5 inches either by dragging the column boundary or setting its Width property.
By decreasing the width of the first column, the width of the second column increases.
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The spacing of data is improved, as shown in Figure 8-21.

Figure 8-21  Report preview showing adjusted column widths

Remove credit limit data from the detail rows

To verify that data appears in the correct credit limit groups, it is useful to display each customer’s credit limit. Now that you have verified the data, delete the individual credit limit information from the report.

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Figure 8-23 Report preview without credit limit data for each row

Figure 8-22  Report preview showing credit limit data removed for each row

Display group headings on the first row of each group

The credit limit group headings appear in their own rows, above the detail rows of each group. In this procedure, drop the group headings so that they appear in the first detail row of each group.

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Select the cell that contains the group heading, as shown in Figure 8-23. Be sure to select the cell and not the data element in the cell.

Figure 8-24 Group heading cell selected

Figure 8-23  Group heading cell selected
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In the General properties of Property Editor, set Drop to Detail. In the report design, the group heading still appears above the detail row because technically the element is still in the group header row.
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Figure 8-25 Report preview showing dropped group headings

Figure 8-24  Report preview showing dropped group headings

Separate each group with a line

Drawing a line to separate each group makes it easier to see each data group.

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Add more space between the line and text above it. While the cells are still selected, choose the Padding properties in Property Editor, and set Bottom to 6.0 points, as shown in Figure 8-25.

Figure 8-26 Property Editor showing padding values for selected cells

Figure 8-25  Property Editor showing padding values for selected cells
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Figure 8-27 Report preview showing a line between groups

Figure 8-26  Report preview showing a line between groups

Display the number of customers text on one line

The text at the top of the table appears centered within the first column. In this procedure, you format the text so that it appears left-aligned and on one line.

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Figure 8-27  Two cells in the top table header row selected
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Select the [CUSTOMER_TOTAL] element in the merged cell, and in the General properties of the Property Editor, choose the B button and the Left button.
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Figure 8-28  Report preview showing Number of customers: 122 on one line

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