Lesson 22-- Custom Reports

The Goldenseal small business accounting software includes a wide variety of reports, which will probably meet most of your needs. You can change any existing report. You can also create new business management reports that show whatever information you'd like to include.

This lesson shows you how to use the Custom Layouts command to create custom Reports. It also shows you how to create report tables and calculated fields that will show any kind of information about your business.

Creating Custom Reports

To create a new report that shows some information about each project, follow these steps:

  1. Choose Custom Layouts from the Options menu, then choose Reports from the submenu.
  2. Choose Custom Reports from the Area popup menu at the upper left corner of the window.
  3. Choose New Layout from the Edit menu.
  4. Enter a name for the new report, then click OK.
  5. You'll see a blank layout where you can add items that will appear in the report.

Printing Setup

You can set up exactly how each layout will be printed. To change printing setup in any layout, follow these steps:

  1. Choose Size & Margins from the Options menu.
  2. You'll see a dialog box with printing details (next page).
  3. Choose the paper size you will use for this printed form or report.
  4. Choose the orientation you will usually use. You can print portrait (taller than wide), landscape (wider than tall), or you can control the orientation with the Page Setup command.
  5. Choose the way you'll place records on the page. Choose Single Page if you are printing onto stock forms and don't want extra information on the page. Choose Multiple Pages to allow each record to extend over several pages. Choose 2 Per Page or one of the other multiple-item formats if you want to list more than one record on a page. HINT: You'll use multiple-item placement for W-2 and 1099 forms and for mailing labels.
  6. Choose the number of columns that will appear on a page. Nearly all forms use the Full Page option, but mailing and shipping labels may use two to four columns.
  7. Enter the printer margins you'd like to use. You can use a fixed margin on all sides, or you can enter Custom margins.
  8. If you are using a custom size, enter a width and height for the layout. If you are using custom margins, enter the margin for each side.
  9. When you are finished, click OK.

Report Tables

A report table shows a list of accounts, transactions or list items, with one or more columns of information for each. Most of the stock reports in Goldenseal are set up with a report table.

To create a report table in the custom layout you have just created, follow these steps:

  1. Click on the Table tool from the lower right corner of the tool palette, at the left side of the window.
  2. Click at one corner of where the table will appear, and drag to the opposite corner.
  3. You'll see a table setup dialog.
  4. Enter Accounts into the General Area popup to see the types of accounts that can be used in reports.
  5. Scroll down in the Listed Items list, and select Project Accounts.
  6. In the Details list, you'll see the available fields. Hold down the Control key or the Command key, and click on each field that you'd like to include in the report.HINT: To change the order of the list, hold down the Control or Command key as you click on an item, then drag it to a new place in the list. You can put the fields that you'd like to display into the correct order, and close to each other so they are easier to select.
  7. For this report you can ignore the Item Range, Date Field, Match Field, Match Value and Columns fields.
  8. Enter Job Type into the Breakdown field. HINT: The breakdown you select here is the first one that you'll see when you first look at a report. You can change the breakdown while you are looking at the report.
  9. When you are finished setting up the table, click OK.
  10. Goldenseal will add a new table to the layout.

Changing Table Information

To make basic changes to a report table, click on the table and choose Field Properties from the Format menu. You'll see the Table Information dialog. You can also hold down the Control key and double-click on the table.

HINT: If you want to just look at the settings for a table without changing them, click Cancel to leave the information dialog.

Column Widths

To change the width of a column in a report table, follow these steps:

  1. Click on the table with the arrow tool to select it.
  2. Click on the space between the column you'd like to change, and the column to its right. HINT: To change the right-most column, click on the resizing 'handle' at the bottom right corner.
  3. Drag to the right to widen the column, or to the left to make it smaller.

HINT: You can't make a column smaller than the width of its title.

Adding and Removing Columns

To add a column to a table, click on the table and choose Add Column to Table from the Edit menu. To remove a column, click on it and choose Remove Column from Table from the Edit menu.

Column Order

To change the order of columns in a report table, hold down the Control or Command key, click on the column you'd like to move, and drag it to a new location.

Column Titles and Totals

To change the title in any column, follow these steps:

  1. Double-click anywhere in the column with the arrow tool.
  2. You'll see a column information dialog.
  3. Type in a new title.
  4. You can also use the column information dialog to set the column width, and the presence of borders on each side.
  5. If the table contains number values, you can also set whether the column shows subtotals or grand totals, and whether the row values and totals are rounded.

Calculated Fields

Use calculated fields to show text and number values in a report layout. They show the value for a calculator.

To see a calculator that fills in today's date, follow these steps:

  1. Choose Calculations from the Options menu, and choose Lists from the submenu.
  2. You'll see a list of calculators. Double-click on the Current Date item.
  3. You'll see details for the calculator. This is a simple calculator that just gets the current date from the Company Info. Other calculators can calculate more complex values.

Adding a Calculated Field

To add a calculated field to a report layout, follow these steps:

  1. Click on the Calculated Field tool (beneath the oval).
  2. Click in the layout at one corner of where you'd like the field to appear, and drag to the opposite corner.
  3. Choose the type of calculation from the Type popup. Then choose a field from the list.
  4. If you'd like to include a label for the field, turn on the Create Label checkbox. Then click OK.
  5. Goldenseal adds the calculated field at the selected location.

HINT: To change the field label, double-click in the label, then type new text into the text dialog.

Finishing Up

This lesson has shown you how to create custom reports, report tables and calculated fields.

You probably will never need to do much customizing of reports, so if you feel confused, don't worry about it now. You can always re-read this chapter when you need to make a new report.

As a wise person once said, "Give a man a fish, and he'll eat for a day. Give him some new accounting software, and he'll be so busy fussing with the appearance of his fish catch accrual reports, that he won't eat for a week."