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User Editable Access Reports

Posted on 2013-01-14
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Last Modified: 2013-02-10
I have an application containing many standard Reports for Invoices or Dispatch Notes, etc. and I'm finding the more people using it the more requests I get to alter the various reports - in some cases the requests can be fairly substantial and will affect other users.

I'm looking for a way to change or custom a report on the fly without inordinate amounts of VBA code. As if there were a method the users could alter the report in Word and the Access Report shows through the word file for instance. It would have to be a method where the changes are not destroyed by a new version of the main software being released so it cannot be something that is contained in the main ACCDE file.

Thank you in advance.

Jed
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Question by:JedNebula
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Jim Dettman (Microsoft MVP/ EE MVE) earned 500 total points
ID: 38775326
<< It would have to be a method where the changes are not destroyed by a new version of the main software being released so it cannot be something that is contained in the main ACCDE file.
>>

  That's a tough nut to crack and there is no easy answer.  Generally you:

1. Build enough flexibility into the reports in a fixed way to statisfy most users.  ie. allow for a start / ends range on a date field, have three or four pre-defined formats and allow them to pick one, etc.

2. You build a custom interface that allows them to change various things.  For example, allow them to create a start/end filter on a field they name, not something you pre-define.

  With either of the above, allow them to save settings as "templates" that they can call up an re-execute.

3. Write custom reports for each user as they request and roll it out as part of the application.  This can get cumbersome quickly and it makes maintenance a nightmare, so most opt for #1.  Very rarely will you see anyone go to #2, unless the application itself is primarily a reporting application.

  There's also the problem of the fine line of being able to tell a user NO.

  Obviosuly know one but you knows your environment and the app at hand, so it's hard to say what the best approach would be.  

Jim.
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Also I should add that the farther you let users stray into generating custom reports themselves, the more they need to understand the data and how it's stored, which is why there are few (if any) applications that go to the point of letting a user design something from scratch and totally custom on their own.

Jim.
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by:Martin Liss
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