In this series, you will learn the basics of creating a report in the Web Report Designer. This lesson builds on previous articles. To follow along, you will need to have the knowledge learned from previous lessons.

Previousy, you learned about conditional formatting.

In this article, you will create your first chart in the Web Report Designer. Charts are a great way to visually represent all kinds of information, from the simple to the complex. The Web Report Designer comes equipped with a wizard designed to help you build charts for your reports exactly to your specification.

Create A Report

You will be creating a chart in a brand new report. In this report, we will be graphing the transactions of your Method account. 

1. Create a New Report. 

  • Name: "Transaction Chart"
  • Description: "A chart Invoices and Estimates"
  • Base Table: Customer
  • Detail Table: EstimateviaCustomer
  • Detail Table: InvoiceviaCustomer

2. Add a Report Header band. Add in a label and call it "Transaction Chart Report". Feel free to style it in any way you wish.

3. Add a Page Header band. The chart will go in this band and not the Detail1 band because it repeats. We don't want to show the same chart over and over again.

Great! You now have a report ready to create a chart on. 

Create A Simple Chart

1. Select the Pageheader1 band and make it bigger. 

2. On the left tool bar, find the Chart control, and drag it into the PageHeader1 band.

3. In the upper right corner of the empty chart, there is a button to Run Designer..., which open up the wizard for the chart. Click Run Designer.

4. A chart requires at least one series. On the left, under Chart Structure, select Series and then click the plus ( + ). A menu filled with chart types will pop up. 

5. As you can see, there are a number of charts to choose from. For now, select the first one which is a standard bar chart.

6. With the series selected, you can now define its properties. At the very least, a series needs two sets of data: 

  • arguments (usually the x-axis) - Data that is associated with numerical values.
  • values (usually the y-axis) - the numerical data attached to the arguments expressed in numbers

For example, if you were to create a basic bar graph showing the total balance for the month of May for ten different customers, the argument would be the customers themselves, and the value would be the dollar value of the balances.

The graph we will create will show transactions amounts (the values) over a period of months (the argument). 

First, we'll name the series. Beside Name, type in "Transactions".

7. Now we need to define the argument. As mentioned above, it will be based on the date. For Argument Data Member, select Invoice.TxnDate, which is found when you expand the Invoice table. (This is one of the rare times you don't choose the base table, so don't expand the Customer table.)

8. Next up we need to define the values. First expand Value Data Members, which is easy to miss. 

9. For Value, find Amount which is within the Invoice table.

10. With an Argument and Value, the chart will work! Let's take a look. At the bottom of the wizard, click the OK button. 

11. Resize the report so it fills the whole page. 

12. Click Save and then Preview the report. 

There we go! Does your report look as ugly as mine? Probably. You also have far more transactions than I do. In the next section, we'll fix the style of the chart.

Style the Series Labels

1. Go into the wizard of your chart by clicking Run Designer on the upper right. 

2. Expand the Series, and then expand your Transactions Series. Select Label.

3. In its properties panel on the right, you will find Text Pattern

4. In Text Pattern type in:

{V:c}

 In the above format, "V" indicates we want to display the Value. The "c" is a pattern to format and display the value as currency. This was the same pattern you used when displaying currencies in the report.

The example report will show what the labels on the series looks like. You can see it now shows the proper format for currencies.

5. Press Ok to close the designer wizard. Save the report and Preview it. 

Great! The bars now have the proper formatting on its labels. Let's do the same for the axes of the graph.

Style the Axes of a Simple Report

1. Go into the wizard of your chart by clicking Run Designer on the upper right. 

2. On the left, expand the Diagram section and select Primary Axis X.

3. On the properties panel on the right, expand the Label section. Find Text Pattern. This can be tricky to find. 


4. This will allow you to set the format of how the x-axis looks. Since the x-axis holds dates, you can enter in a pattern detailing how the date looks. Type the folowing into Text Pattern.

{A:MMM dd}

In the above format, the curly braces indicate how the label looks. The "A" indicates we want to display the Argument. The "MMM dd" indicates the pattern on how we want the date to look. 

5. Back on the left menu, select Primary Axis Y so we can format the labels on the Y-Axis. 

6. In its properties panel on the right, find Text Pattern again within the Label section, and for this one, type in:

{V:c}

This should be familiar to you. "V" indicates we want to display the Value. The "c" is a pattern to display the value as currency.

6. Press Ok to close the designer wizard. Save the report and Preview it. 

The labels on the axes are formatted now! As you can imagine, there are a number of ways you can display your chart. Feel free to experiment with different styles and properties.

Add Another Series

As mentioned earlier, a chart can have multiple series. Let's add a second series to show the Estimates. 

First, let's change the name of the Transactions series.

1. Run the designer on your chart and select the Transactions series.

2. In its properties, change the name to from "Transactions" to "Invoices".

3. Now add a new series. Back on the left, select Series and the plus ( + ) appears. Click the plus to add a new series adn select another bar chart.

4. On the right in its properties, change the name to "Estimates". 

5. In Argument Data Member, expand the Estimate table and from this table select the TxnDate field.

6. Expand Value Data Members, if not already expanded, and in the Value dropdown, expand the Estimates table and from it choose the TotalAmount field. 

7. Scroll down and expand Label. Within Text Pattern, type in:

{V:c}

8. Press Ok to close the designer wizard. Save the report and Preview it. 

You will not need to change the x-axis or the y-axis because you only need to do that one. 

When you complete your report, it should look similar to this:

And that's it! You finished all the lessons. Obviously, there is a lot more to learn in regards to the Web Report Designer, but hopefully you have learned enough to get started.

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