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Access and Crystal Reports

Posted on 2002-03-14
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Last Modified: 2008-02-20
My boss hired a contractor to create an Access database for us. He finished the job and gave it to us on disk. The data are in Access tables but all the screen forms and reports are in separate directories in *.rpt files, which I think are Crystal Reports(?).

Now we need changes to some of the screens and reports and would like to do it ourselves. We don't have Crystal Reports. Is there anything we can do to open the *.rpt files?
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Question by:susyh
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by:ornicar
ID: 6866797
If you don't have Crystal Reports, and if the reports were done with Crystal, you would not be able even to run them. So, logically, if you can see the reports and don't have Crystal, the reports you use are not made with Crystal.
Thanks Mr. La Palice

Now, my guess is that what you want to modify resides in the Access database. Try to open it while holding the shift key. The application will not start and you will see the database window. Check the 'Forms' and 'Reports' tabs.
Anything familiar here?

Maybe the shift key is disabled. Let us know: We like this kind of situation!

Be careful also: If you have a maintenance contract with the developper and you modifiy the database, the contract is broken.
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by:SE081398
ID: 6866916
ornicar out of curiosity, how would you reset the bypasskey through VB?  open the access db in a VB app that resets the bypasskey when opening the DB?

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by:susyh
ID: 6867242
I checked the database file first, of course. There are no reports or forms in it. The tables are all there. All the reports are in a subdirectory and are *.rpt files. I can't open them in Access, Excel, or as text. I can't even guess where the screen forms are.
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by:dbase118
ID: 6867285
It is possible that the developer created the reports in Crystal and then uninstalled the main program there are several third part Report Viewers that would display them. When you try ro open one of the rpt files what exactly happens?

Any messages?
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by:dbase118
ID: 6867289
FYI...rpt is a generic report extension not tied to any one program. Crystal does use it though
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by:dbase118
ID: 6867295
Does you office have a VB studio CD. If so I believe that Crystal Reports is included on the CD. Sorry for the multiple posts. I should think before I type
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by:susyh
ID: 6867311
I'm really just guessing about the rpt extensions. The files try to open in Excel - message is "file format is not valid." That's why I tried every other program I could think of. I don't think we have VB Studio CD but I'll check tomorrow. Thanks for all the suggestions.
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by:ornicar
ID: 6867399
Reset the bypasskey through VB? there are already several answers about this.

Open one rpt file with notepad. You may find valuable information about the app used at the beginning or at the end.
Crystal reports have the string 'Seagate Crystal Reports' somewhere. Do a search for Crystal in this file.
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by:susyh
ID: 6867489
I opened two of the reports in Wordpad (too large for Notepad) and searched for Crystal. Found Crystal Reports Professional once in each.
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by:cquinn
ID: 6867606
He has probably used the Crystal OCX control on one or more of your forms - this will allow access to run the reports without an external viewer, but will not allow you to edit them.

As someone has already said, VB/Visual studio contained a version of Crystal Reports (but not the Professional edition), but you may need to find a specific version (though later versions will usually open reports created in earlier versions)
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by:kenspencer
ID: 6868353
Hi,

Perhaps the developer split the databases, so one has just the tables (the one you have been opening) and the other has the queries, forms, etc.  How do you open it when doing "production" (i.e., see all the forms, etc.)?  Is it via a shortcut (whose properties you could check to see what is being opened)?

Just a thought.

Ken
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by:susyh
ID: 6868710
He gave us an exe file to run the database. The database looks pretty but it's very limited and hard to enter data into. Commands for forms, reports, etc. are in the drop-down menu. We can't look at all forms.

The contractor was not called back. I've been given the job of making the database more user friendly and productive. I had hoped to save some work by using elements of his forms/reports, which is why I asked how to open them.

There could well be a second database but the files he gave us are all dll and rpt files (with one mdb and one exe). Now that I'm looking I see a lot of crp__.dll files.

Anyway, it doesn't matter how he did the database. I just wondered if I could get at some of his files. I guess not.
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by:cquinn
ID: 6868867
The exe is likely to be a VB application.  Ask him for the source code of the exe - the mdb is the backend database
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by:CareyMBilyeu
ID: 6868888
This sounds like you have a Visual Basic front end application that utilizes Crystal Reports as the report generator, (the developer most likely used either Crystal Reports Print Engine "CRPE.DLL) or the Crystal Reports Active X control (either Crystl32.ocx or Crystl16.ocx). The Access Back End is merely there to house the data only.

You can locate these in the directory that you have the application (Front End) in or try looking in the Windows\System directory.

IF this is a VB app, you can not modify the actual application, however you can purchase a copy of Crystal Reports and "MODIFY" the reports, but a few words of caution:

Do not delete the reports, your VB app will not work.
If your app has a reference to the ActiveX control and you install a newer version of the control, you might run into soem serious problems, i.e., your app will not work.
You can make modifications to the reports, but be cautions about adding new controls on the reports, be careful about modifying the data "references" etc., or, yes, YOUR APP WON'T WORK!

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by:susyh
ID: 6869056
Thanks everyone. I'm going to use his (our) data and ignore everything else. The data entry people hated the  program anyway. I need to get a bunch of graphs and reports out of these data soon so I need to get to work!

Can anyone explain why he did the database this way?
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CareyMBilyeu earned 300 total points
ID: 6869248
The database is a database, nothing to it except a bunch of tables, more likely no queries, forms, reports modules, etc., as you have stated. The database is purely a housing mechanism for the raw data. What you are talking about is the front end, whis is simply a front end GUI (Graphical User Interface) that allows you to input data, update data, delete data and add new data. Your GUI is (or sounds like) a Visual Basic application that is using other programs (Crystal Reports) to provide the information in the specification as requested "originally". If tyhe developer knew your processes and information flows the application was probably built to the standard as he/she understood it, however, as in most instances, the developer probably did not do a lot of research about your process flows, work flows, etc., and you have an application that is not doing what the original intent was.

Typically a developer will use VB as a front end as it allows a considerable amount of "application/GUI" security versus Access. It also allows for more robust development.

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by:susyh
ID: 6869357
This didn't solve my problem but was a straight, understandable answer to one of my questions.
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