Home > SI5 Documentation > User Guide > Reports > Designer



Creating custom reports is for advanced users only. It is the sole responsibility of the user to debug any custom reports. However, for a great list of help options, check: http://downloads.d-tools.com/si5/documents/Custom_Reporting_Documents.htm

For a list of the XML tags available to you for customizing reports, as well as a list of the Report Utilities available to you, download and unzip this file. There are two files in this archive: Item.chm and ReportUtilities.chm.

The D-Tools Report Designer is based on ActiveReports for .Net 3.0 by Data Dynamics. For a complete user guide on this interface, see the ActiveReports User Guide.

Report Designer

To access the Report Designer, from the Reports tab select Tools -> Report Designer->Standard Reports/Order & Scheduling Reports.


“Standard Reports” display on the Reports tab within the Navigator. “Orders and Scheduling Reports” will display on their respective tabs within the SI 5 Navigator. 

The Report Designer interface will open:

report designer parts.jpg

This interface consists of these parts:


  1. Menus and Toolbars (Selecting, saving, and publishing reports and formatting components of the report loaded into the designer.
  2. Control Toolbox – Controls available to be added to a report layout
  3. Report Designer Canvas (Design view of the report, sections and controls. This section also provides access to the reports scripting UI.)
  4. Report Explorer and Data Explorer Window (The Report Explorer allows users to see the sections and controls of a report in a tree format. The Data Explorer allows users to select fields from the XML structure against which the report is bound to.
  5. Properties Window (Lists all the modifiable properties for the selected object in the designer, be it a control, section, or the report itself)


Creating a Custom Report

To create a new custom report, go to File->New.



The Report Wizard takes the user through a number of steps; each is described in detail below:
Step 1: Determine if the report will be created from the ground up or based on an existing report.
The vast majority of custom reports are created based on existing reports (the default option in this step) as most users are simply looking to more closely brand the report with the other documents presented to the customer or move fields within the report.




Select New Report Based on Existing Report to create a custom version of an existing report, or New Blank Report to create a report from scratch.

If you chose New Report Based on Existing Report, you should then select which report you wish to modify.



If you selected “Orders and Scheduling Reports” this screen will display Orders and Scheduling options.  These Reports display in on their respective tabs within the SI 5 Navigator:




Step 2: Begin defining the new report.
  • Name the report (Required). Give the report a name that makes sense to you and will make the report easily discernable from other reports. If you are creating a report based on the standard Contract, it makes sense to NOT name the report “Contract”. 
Tip: When naming custom reports, add your company name to the beginning so the reports are listed together (i.e. D-Tools Contract)
  • Set the Description (Optional). While this is optional, it is an excellent way to provide a little more detail regarding the report. This information is displayed when the report is selected in the Report Details Window.
  • Set the Category (Optional). Again, this is optional, but when the report is published, it will immediately be available in the Reports List Window in the selected category.
  • Select a Datasource (Required). Currently, there is only a single Datasource available, ensure that it is selected if not already.
  • Flag the Report as a “Sub Report”. Effectively all reports can be a sub report of another report, but checking this in the wizard implies that the report is only ever executed in the context of another report. Examples of reports that have this set are the Project Summary Detail (the summary info at the end of the Proposals), the Proposal Level 2  and 3 Items reports (these reports represent the child items (and grandchild items) of items in the Proposals.
  • Flag the Report as “List as a Revision Management Report”. When this flag is checked, the report being created will only be visible in the Revision Management interface, not the main Reporting Center.




Step 3: Set the page settings of the report. 
This step allows users to define how the report is to be oriented (Portrait or Landscape), select the Paper size (Letter by Default), and set the margins (1 inch by default).



 It is important to note that changing these settings DO NOT have a direct effect on the layout of the report in the designer. Changing the orientation or the margins will not automatically affect the “Width” of the report. By default, all standard reports (Letter paper size) that have the orientation set to “Portrait” have margins of one inch and a report canvas width of 6.5 inches. Changing the left and right margins to ½ inch each will not automatically change the width of the report canvas to 7.5 inches. The reasoning behind this is that reports can be designed to print in “columns”.


Step 4: Determine if a report should support Grouping, Sorting, or Filtering.
These settings determine how Report Definitions can be created. Checking either “Support Sorting” or “Support Dynamic Grouping” controls whether the corresponding tabs appear when creating or editing a Report Definition. Checking “Support Filtering” determines whether the “Run Report with Filters” menus will be enabled when the report is selected.
Reports that support Dynamic Grouping have specifically named sections with specifically named controls the reporting engine knows how to bind to. Also, when a report supports dynamic grouping, one can define which properties are to be available to the user when creating a Report Definition for the new report. Use the lists and toggle buttons in the wizard to add or remove available properties.




Note: Reports that do not iterate over items should not support Grouping, Sorting, or Filtering. These settings are tightly tied to items and only work when the items are the main data source of the report or a key sub report in the main report. 


Step 5: Required Groupings
Some reports require that data be grouped in a specific manner in order to generate the desired results. Setting the required groupings accommodates this necessity. In the case of the Proposal Reports, regardless of how the items are dynamically grouped at run time (the Report Definition), in order for the report to aggregate properly, the items must be grouped (ascending sort) by Manufacturer, Model and ItemHash. Grouping by Manufacturer and Model gets the like items in order together; the ItemHash property differs on like items when the child items (items in a package or accessories of an equipment item) of the like items are different.





Step 6: Required Sorts
If the items in a report must always be ordered in a specific way, the user can define a Required Sort. Required Sorts can have minimal effects on the ordering of items depending on a number of things. For example, in a Proposal, the section that represents the details of proposal is actually a group header section that is tied to the ItemHash data field. This allows the report engine to aggregate items (sum the quantity of each item and create a single entry in the report). Since no actual detail records are being shown, a required Sort will have no effect on the presentation of the data.





Step 7: Required Filters

You may wish to create reports that only return data that meet specific conditions without forcing the user to run the report “with filters”. This is accomplished by defining a required filter for the report. The Wire reports in the Reporting Center are excellent examples of reports that leverage this. The Wire reports only report against items where the Category Type of the item = “Wire”.  By defining this condition as a required Filter, all other items are automatically filtered from the report.




Step 8: Defining Report Parameters
Report Parameters allow for more complex control over the reports behavior. Parameters have the following parts:
  • Name - a short string used as the key
  • Description – User prompt displayed in the Report Definition UI.
  • DataType – The value type of the parameter (String, Double, Integer, Boolean)
  • Valid Values – Values that the user can select from in the UI. This allows for better control over what can be entered in the parameters value
  • Default Value – The value selected by default in the UI if not previously set


Note: While parameters are defined at this point, simply defining a parameter does not mean that it has any effect on the behavior of report. When the report is run, the value of parameter must be returned in script and used for the conditional behavior.


Step 9: Review the reports settings and save.


The report opens and is now an Unpublished Report that can be edited.


For detailed information about the components of an SI5 reports, see also:

File -> Open

Allows you to open a custom report that you have already created.


Existing reports are published custom reports that appear in your Reports List

Unpublished reports are custom reports that you are still working on. They do not appear in the reports list until you publish them

File -> Edit DTools Report Information

To change the report information you entered during the New Report Wizard, use File -> Edit D-Tools Report Information. This will re-open the wizard and allow you to change the settings, including report name, grouping/sorting/filtering settings, and other options.

File -> Edit Report Definitions

If you want to create some custom report definitions for your report, go to File -> Edit Report Definitions. Report definitions created here will appear in the Reports List beneath the report name.

File -> Preview

Allows you to preview your report vs. a sample project without having to publish the report or exit the report designer.

File -> Save for Later

Use File > Save to save an unpublished copy of your report for future editing. You will need to publish your report later if you wish to see it in your Reports List.

File -> Publish Report

This will publish the report you have open so that it will appear in your Reports List. Choose this when you are satisfied and want to start using your custom report. Note that this will close the report for editing.

There are a few additional options within the “Orders & Scheduling” Report Designer:


File->Unpublish Reports

This will remove a published report from the list of reports in their respective interfaces.

File->Report Permissions

Opens the following form.  Here you can select reports and choose what Groups have access to the report.  See the SI 5 Installation and Administration Guide for information on Groups.



The Edit menu has an assortment of commands which are helpful when editing your custom report: Undo, Redo, Cut, Copy, Paste, Delete, and Select All.

D-Tools XML Structure

D-Tools report data is based on an XML schema that is defined here:


Custom Report Example

To give a simple example of how to customize a report, let’s change the page header on a proposal. Here’s how:

Step 1: Create a custom report based on an existing report

1)    In the Reporting Center, go to Tools > Report Designer.

2)    In the Report Designer, go to File > New…


3)    Choose “New Report Based on Existing Report” and click Next


4)    Select “Proposal” from the list and click Next


5)    Name the report “my Proposal” and enter a description


6)    Click ‘Next’ at all further screens until you get to ‘Finish’, then click that as well.


At this point the report has been created and can be edited.



Step 2: Modify the Page Header

7)    In the design pane, in the PageHeader1 section, click on the text that says “Proposal”.


8)    With the mouse, move this textbox (TextBox14) until it is aligned with the left side of the page


9)    With the textbox still selected, go to the Properties window and set Alignment = Left


10)With the textbox still selected, go to the Properties window, scroll down to the Text property, and replace “Proposal” with “My Proposal”


11)To change the image in the header, first select it with the pointer


12)Now hit Delete to remove the image


13)To add a new image, drag and drop the Picture icon from the toolbox to the PageHeader1 section


14)In the properties window, click on the image property and browse to the desired image file on your hard drive


15)At this point you will see the image in the design pane


16)You may also need to set the SizeMode and Picture Alignment properties to see all of the picture


17)Resize the image using the handles on the image. You may need to adjust the size of the Header area before or after you do this.



Step 3: Preview and Publish the Report

18)Go to File -> Preview to preview the report vs. a sample project. Close the window when done.


19)When satisfied, go to File -> Publish. Click ‘Yes’ at the prompt. You will be returned to the reporting center and your custom report will appear in your reports list.




Last modified


This page has no custom tags.


This page has no classifications.