A new session of each course opens each month, allowing you to enroll whenever your busy schedule permits!
How does it work? Once a session starts, two lessons will be released each week, for the six-week duration of your course. You will have access to all previously released lessons until the course ends.
Keep in mind that the interactive discussion area for each lesson automatically closes 2 weeks after each lesson is released, so you’re encouraged to complete each lesson within two weeks of its release.
The Final Exam will be released on the same day as the last lesson. Once the Final Exam has been released, you will have 2 weeks plus 10 days to complete the Final and finish any remaining lessons in your course. No further extensions can be provided beyond these 10 days.
Lesson 01 - Getting Started With Crystal Reports
Crystal Reports is the world's most popular software tool for creating reports based on data stored in databases. It's popular because of its power and flexibility, which will help you create reports that communicate the information you want to convey to the people you want to convey it to. In our first lesson, you'll learn why it's important to find out everything you need to know about the report you want to create before you even launch the Crystal Reports application. This advance planning gives you a much better chance of creating a report that achieves your objectives.
Lesson 02 - Create a Crystal Report Right Now!
In this lesson, we'll hit the ground running and create a Crystal Report from scratch. From Lesson 1, you already know how to connect to a data source. Today, you'll learn how to pull data from that data source and place it into your report. Then, I'll show you how to use Crystal Reports to create a quick, simple report with a professional appearance—adding headers and footers, and adjusting column headings and the data itself. We'll also discuss how to arrange all of these items on a page for maximum visual impact. By the end of this lesson, you'll know how to create a simple report!
Lesson 03 - Pulling Data From Multiple Tables
Once you know how to pull data from a database and display it in a basic report, the next step is to pull data from multiple database tables and display only the data you want, filtering out any irrelevant information. In this lesson, you'll learn how to perform these functions, and I'll also show you how to build reports that allow users to decide at runtime what to display. In effect, you can build one report that serves the purpose of multiple reports!
Lesson 04 - Sorting, Grouping, and Drilling Down
Displaying the information in a database is one thing; displaying it in a way that communicates effectively is another. In today's lesson, we'll review how to enhance communication by organizing a report's data in a meaningful way, and you'll learn how to use Crystal Reports to sort data and group related data items together. You'll discover how to summarize numerical data with group totals and how to obtain an overall grand total. And we'll also look into the drill-down capability of Crystal Reports, which allows your report readers to use a simple mouse click to access suppressed details of a specific data group!
Lesson 05 - Crystal Reports Formatting Tools
In this lesson, you'll dive into the details of the various report sections. First, we'll discuss how to resize sections, and then we'll take a close look at the Section Expert, which is your major tool for selecting options that control the appearance and function of the various sections of a report. We'll also explore how you can control the placement of groups, reset page numbering, and move report totals. Finally, we'll take a closer look at the drill-down feature and hiding details.
Lesson 06 - Absolute and Conditional Formatting
Today, you'll get even more hands-on experience formatting a report. First, we'll look at a number of formatting options that Crystal Reports offers to help you give your report just the look you want. Then, we'll look at how you can use report templates to achieve a consistent appearance across a family of reports. And finally, we'll practice using absolute formatting and conditional formatting, features that can adjust the appearance of your report based on the data it contains.
Lesson 07 - Creating Cross-Tab Reports
With Crystal Reports, you can do more than just display the data you select from your data source. You can also show correlations between related categories of data items. To do this, you create a cross-tab report, which can show such correlations across the entire data set or within a selected group of data items. As usual, Crystal Reports provides considerable flexibility in how it presents the cross-tab data to users. In this lesson, you'll learn what the options are and how to use them.
Lesson 08 - Creating Reports to Show Top and Bottom Performers
You'll often need to create a report based on some, but not all, of the data in a database. For example, a sales manager may want to look only at the purchase records of her top five customers. Alternatively, she may want to view the performance of her bottom 10 salespeople. Crystal Reports makes it easy to produce such reports, as well as others that are selective about what they display. In this lesson, you'll create such targeted reports that make it easy for managers to make informed decisions.
Lesson 09 - Crystal Reports Formulas
The formulas and control structures in Crystal Reports allow you to make your reports dynamic, sensitive to what's happening at runtime. With formulas, you can operate on data and put the result into your report. You can also save time and effort by including one or more of the predefined functions in your formulas. You can even create your own custom functions, save them, and use them both now and in the future. These facilities give you the flexibility to produce a sophisticated custom report with very little time and effort. And you'll find out how to do all of this in today's lesson.
Lesson 10 - Adding Subreports to a Main Report
Crystal Reports gives you the ability to embed one report inside another. The two reports can be related in some way, or they can be completely unrelated. As long as you have a reason for displaying both reports at once, you can do it, and you'll find out how in today's lesson. We'll also practice embedding hyperlinks today. This can be a great alternative to embedding a subreport within a main report!
Lesson 11 - Communicating With Charts
Charts and maps can add visual dimension to the display of information in a report. While columns of numbers may be an effective way to present data for some readers, you may have visual learners in your target audience who would be better served by charts and maps. Today, you'll learn how to choose a chart type that best conveys the information you want to emphasize. And you'll find out how to use color, font, scale, legends, and titles to help you highlight trends in the data or data points that fall outside of the expected range.
Lesson 12 - Publishing a Crystal Report
After you've created a report, you need to distribute it. Crystal Reports gives you several convenient distribution options, and we'll explore all of these in our final lesson. We'll talk about print and fax options, exporting a report to any of a number of popular file formats, and transmitting it to the people who should read it. You'll learn how to post the report on your organization's intranet or the Web, and then we'll discuss distributing reports via Crystal Reports Viewer 2008.