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Course Catalog > Computer Applications (CBI) > QuickBooks

Introduction to Crystal Reports   

Learn how to use Crystal Reports to create attractive business documents that are easy to read and understand.

Want to "wow" people with your business reports? In this course, you'll master the techniques the pros use to produce attractive, reader-friendly reports for any audience.

Designed for Crystal Reports XI through Crystal Reports 2016, this course will teach you how to transform the information that lies buried in your database or accounting program into clear, easy-to-understand documents. Whether you're new to Crystal Reports or want to enhance your skills, this course is ideal for you. By the time you're done, you'll be able to produce anything from a quick meeting handout to an elaborate annual report—and you'll never be intimidated by report-writing tasks again!

Please note: Introduction to Crystal Reports applies only to versions of Crystal Reports prior to Crystal Reports 2020.


Hardware Requirements:

  • This course must be taken on a PC. It is not suitable for Macs.

Software Requirements:

  • PC: Windows 8 or later.
  • Browser: The latest version of Google Chrome or Mozilla Firefox are preferred. Microsoft Edge is also compatible.
  • Crystal Reports XI, Crystal Reports 2008, Crystal Reports 2011, Crystal Reports 2013, or Crystal Reports 2016 (not included in enrollment). Course applies only to versions of Crystal Reports prior to Crystal Reports 2020.
  • Adobe Acrobat Reader.
  • Software must be installed and fully operational before the course begins.


  • Email capabilities and access to a personal email account.

Instructional Material Requirements:

The instructional materials required for this course are included in enrollment and will be available online.

Master the techniques the pros use to produce attractive, reader-friendly reports that will "wow" any audience. This course will teach you how to transform the information in your database into clear, easy-to-understand documents so you can produce anything from a quick meeting handout to an elaborate annual report.

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 the 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.

Create a Crystal Report Right Now!

In this lesson, you'll hit the ground running and create a Crystal Report from scratch. The lesson will show you how to pull data from that data source and place it into your report. After that, you'll learn 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. You'll also discover how to arrange all of these items on a page for maximum visual impact. By the end of the lesson, you'll know how to create a simple report!

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 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!

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 this lesson, you'll review how to enhance communication by organizing a report's data in a meaningful way, and then 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. You'll also look at 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!

Crystal Reports Formatting Tools

In this lesson, you'll dive into the details of the various report sections. The lesson will first discuss how to resize sections and will then give you 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. You'll also explore how you can control the placement of groups, reset page numbering, and move report totals. Finally, you'll take a closer look at the drill-down feature and hiding details.

Absolute and Conditional Formatting

In this lesson, you'll get even more hands-on experience formatting a report. First, you'll look at a number of formatting options that Crystal Reports offers to help you give your report just the look you want. Then, you'll look at how you can use report templates to achieve a consistent appearance across a family of reports. Finally, you'll practice using absolute formatting and conditional formatting, features that can adjust the appearance of your report based on the data it contains.

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.

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.

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. You'll find out how to do all of this in this lesson.

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 this lesson. You'll also practice embedding hyperlinks. This can be a great alternative to embedding a subreport within a main report!

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 to some readers, you may also have visual learners in your target audience who would be better served by charts and maps. In this lesson, you'll learn how to choose a chart type that best conveys the information you want to emphasize. You'll also 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.

Publishing a Crystal Report

After you've created a report, you need to distribute it. Crystal Reports gives you several convenient distribution options, and you'll explore all of these in the final lesson. The lesson will 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 how to distribute reports via Crystal Reports Viewer 2008.

What you will learn

  • Get hands-on practice in extracting, sorting, and grouping your data
  • Learn advanced formatting techniques
  • Discover how to create cross-tab reports to show correlations between categories of data
  • Find out how to include totals for groups of figures or for the entire report
  • Examine how to include sub-reports within a master report to show data from different sources
  • Master the art of building your reports and formatting your material to create a polished, professional look

How you will benefit

  • Understand how to produce anything from a quick meeting handout to an elaborate annual report
  • Feel confident that you can complete assigned report-writing tasks
  • Open the door to new opportunities and promotions once you demonstrate your ability to create professional-quality, reader-friendly reports

Allen G. Taylor

Allen G. Taylor is a 30-year veteran of the computer industry. He has authored 28 books about computer-related subjects, including "Crystal Reports 2008 For Dummies," "Database Development For Dummies" and "SQL For Dummies." He has also taught computer courses for more than 10 years.