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Outside of Crystal Reports, what other app can I use to generate reports from my SQL Server?

amoray asked
Medium Priority
Last Modified: 2008-02-01
I recently purchased a copy of Crystal Reports XI not knowing that this does not allow me to export my report to a .exe file like it did in versions prior to 8.5. Much to my dismay, this new version, though easier to work with, requires a whole lot of programming to do a simple thing as printing a report with fresh data without my manual intervention.

Is there any other application that can do this?

I used to like Crystal Reports but I can't in good conscience recommend it to non-technical gurus like me anymore. They made it too complicated and practically useless to someone like me, the regular user.
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You can look at MS Reporting Services which is tightly integrated with SQL Server.  I'm not certain it's going to be any better for you as it is (IMHO) chasing Crystal and trying to catch up.

You might also want to look at Crystal Server which will allow you to serve your reports over the web with minimal effort from a programming standpoint.  This is the replacement for Crystal Enterprise if you're familiar with that product, but Crystal Server you can get your hands on inexpensively for a small number of concurrent users.

Éric MoreauSenior .Net Consultant
Top Expert 2016

Hi amoray,

Have you tried Access?




I really liked Crystal Reports but the development path they're taking is headed away from the common user. They're on their own path to making every single good feature of the program independent of each other. As opposed to back then when this app had a good punch and was worth its' weight in gold to management. So outside of anything that Business Objects creates, is there any other application that can do what Crystal does? What's Infomaker?


I tried Access but it doesn't have the functionality of group functions and sums that I've already created on my other reports. Thank you though. It was worth a try.
Mike McCrackenSenior Consultant
Most Valuable Expert 2011
Top Expert 2013

Crystal is the premier reporting tool.  As such they are following the path that MS is setting toward a net-centric environment and compiling of reports into an EXE doesn't fit well into that environment.

Do you have any development environment such as VB or VS?  The application to present a report is not that difficult to write.

MIKESoftware Solutions Consultant
Top Expert 2006

Business Objects XI / Crystal Reports XI is THE premier business intelligence tool on the market, period.
And with WEB Intelligence, Live Office, Excelcius, Business View Manager, etc...etc... I think the IT community....ESPECIALLY SQL Svr departments need to take a very serious look at the direction of the BI industry.

BO XI makes data integration and report delivery, data analysis so easy to both developers and more importantly USERS / CUSTOMERS that this product is the product to beat or at the very least keep up with...for the future. MS Reporting Services is trying to keep up....but we'll see if it can catch  BO.


In answer to your specific question, I'm not aware of anything not BO that does what Crystal does.  There are several very high-end data management tools (Cognos, etc.) but these are *more* complex, not less.  If you're looking for a stripped down simple reporting tool you can simply Google "reporting tools" or "report creation" and you'll find lots of knock-offs out there.  Just be aware that they are simple and they are stripped down so you aren't going to get the same functionality that Crystal provides.



Guys, you're all saying that Crystal Reports is THE tool to use but I still have no way of deploying my reports to my users with fresh data outside of manually printing these reports 5 times a day. We run a logistics company and we need to keep track of all our shipments almost on a realtime scenario. What I was hoping to do was to give all my users access to the reports wherein they can view or print these reports when they need it or to make it print automatically with fresh data on a set frequency each day.

Like I said, I thought Crystal Reports was my answer because when I used to use it back in the 90's, it had the ability to export my reports to an executable that any end-user can run and view or print the reports with fresh data.

With XI, I'm at a total loss. I purchased the XI Pro version and thought I can do the reports and deploy at as needed. Without VB or VS Skills, I don't know how my end-users can get this report outside of purchasing and installing individual copies of Crystal Reports on each and every machine in the office. Frankly, the thought of buying more copies of CR is definitely not the answer.  
Éric MoreauSenior .Net Consultant
Top Expert 2016

you could create a really simple application that would load the report with refreshed data.
Sorry amoray - I understand what you're looking for, but I don't think it exists.  There are lots of tools but all of them require either software installed on the machines (you may want to consider Excel or Access because maybe you already own enough licenses for those) or require some programming knowledge (.net app to deliver Crystal Reports, free HTML report plug-ins, etc.).

Also note my first response where I mention Crystal Server as a deployment option as well.  This doesn't require programming and allows you to deliver reports on demand to your users.  It isn't free but a 5 concurrent user license comes with some versions of Crystal Reports XI.


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