Report Designer overview

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Our Support department is closed on Friday, April 28th for a company event. However, limited Accounting CS phone support is available on that date from 9 AM - 5 PM ET due to the approaching deadline for quarterly payroll tax forms.

Links to our most popular payroll tax processing topics are available in the Alerts and notices section on the right side of most pages.

The Report Designer provides you with the powerful capability to edit existing reports as well as to create custom reports using an easy-to-understand column-and-row grid format that is similar to other popular applications with which you may be familiar.

Using variables and formulas when creating reports in the Report Designer you can create global reports for use with multiple clients. You can open multiple reports simultaneously within the Report Designer workspace. A separate tab for each report appears above the design grid so that you can easily move from one report to another.

Choose File > Report Designer to open the Report Designer screen.

Open the Report Designer workflow topic for details about the designer and to link to related procedures.


See also: Reporting and Report Designer: Procedures

Special information

You can add custom folders, reports, financial statements, and letters from the right-click context menus in the Reports List frame. For more information, see the following topics and PDF Walkthrough.

Main elements of the Report Designer

Common Terms

You can modify several elements of a report within the design grid. The following common terms can assist you in navigating some of the more complex concepts within the Report Designer.

Elements in a report or statement can contain text, amounts, and formulas (that can contain variables, functions, and operators), or single variables.

Other features

To view a conditional expression in the design grid, select the cell or row that contains the expression and choose Format > Conditional Expression.

The Report Designer includes standard and formatting toolbars plus the Reports list frame, the design grid, and the Design Tools frame.

Notes

  • To resize frames within the Report Designer, position the mouse pointer over the vertical border of a frame in the current screen. When the mouse pointer changes its appearance to a Resize vertical, click and drag the border to adjust the frame size.
  • Click the push pin Push pin button button on the title bar of the Design Tools frame to toggle the autohide feature on or off. When auto hide is toggled on, you can slide your mouse pointer over or away from the Design Tools tab to display or hide the Design Tools frame. When auto hide is toggled off, the Design Tools frame remains open at the right side of the Report Designer screen.

Report Designer toolbars

The Report Designer toolbars provide convenient tools at your fingertips.

RD Standard Toolbar

Button Function
New button Adds a new report to the Reports list frame and opens it in the design grid.
Open button Opens the selected report from the Reports list frame.
Save button Saves any changes you have made to the selected report.
Print button Opens the Print Options dialog, where you can specify options for printing the selected report.
Print Preview button Opens the Print Options dialog, where you can specify options for previewing the selected report.
Undo button Undoes the previous action made in the design grid.
Redo button Re-applies the last action that was undone in the design grid.
Spell check button Checks spelling in the selected report.
Cut button Cuts the selected items from the design grid to the clipboard. Press CTRL+X to perform the same action.
Copy button Copies the selected items from the design grid to the clipboard. Press CTRL+C to perform the same action.
Paste button Pastes the selected items from the clipboard into the design grid. Press CTRL+V to perform the same action.
Delete button Deletes the selected items from the design grid. Press the DELETE key to perform the same action.
hhtc-search Opens a list of search results from the Help & How-To Center in your browser when you enter a search term and press Enter.
Help button Opens the main help topic for the Report Designer in the Help & How-To Center.

RD Formatting toolbar

Button Function
Font-and-fontsize Select a font and font size for a selected region in the design grid.
Bold button Toggles bolding on or off for selected items in the design grid.
Italic button Toggles italics on or off for selected items in the design grid.
Underline button Toggles regular text underline on or off for selected items in the design grid.
Acct underline button Toggles single accounting underlines on or off for selected items in the design grid.
Double acct underline button Toggles double accounting underlines on and off for selected items in the design grid.
Font color button Select a font color for the selected text in the report.
Align left button Left justifies the contents of the selected cells. Left alignment is the default setting.
Align center button Centers the contents of the selected cells.
Align right button Right justifies the contents of the selected cells.
Merge and center button Merges the selected cells into a single cell and centers any text in the new, merged cell.
Decrease indent button Decreases the indent for the selected cells in the design grid.
Increase indent button Increases the indent for the selected cells in the design grid.
Float dollar sign button Sets default currency style formatting in the selected cells. This includes two decimal places, a fixed dollar sign, and turns on the 1000 separator (,).
Percentage button Sets default percent style formatting in the selected cells. This includes two decimal places and a fixed percent sign.
Comma button Sets default comma style formatting in the selected cells. This includes two decimal places and a fixed percent sign.
Increase decimal button Moves the decimal point to the left for the selected amount.
Decrease decimal button Moves the decimal point to the right for the selected amount.
Fill color button Select a fill color for the cell background from the available color palette.
Gridlines button Adds cell borders to the selected cells in the design grid.

See also: Format > Cells dialog

Reports list frame

The Reports list frame includes the following types of standard reports and other documents, as well as any custom reports and documents created from scratch via the Report Designer. At the bottom of the Reports List frame, there are three buttons (Reports, Financial Statements, and Letters). You can click each one to view the related reports in a folder-tree display within the main section of the frame. Based on the services for which you are licensed and have activated, you can see some or all of the following folders in the Reports section of the Reports List frame. Show me.

window

Once you have selected the folder that you wish to work on, click on the plus sign next to a folder to see its contents. Select the item you wish to view.

Double-click a report, financial statement, or letter in the Reports list to open it in the design grid and then modify it to suit your needs.

Design grid

The design grid is an integral part of the Report Designer that enables you to add, edit, format, or delete elements of your reports, financial statements, and letters directly in the Report Designer workspace.

To change to Region mode so that you can define the properties that apply to a selected region of the document, click the title bar for that region.

Grid regions
Header
Alternate Header
Main
<Report_name> Count (if applicable)
Footer
Alternate Footer

To change to Row mode so that you can define the properties and formatting that apply to one or more rows, press and hold the CTRL key while clicking the row number buttons for the selected rows within the grid.

To change to Column mode so that you can define the properties and formatting that apply to one or more columns, press and hold the CTRL key while clicking column letter buttons at the top of the selected columns in the design grid.

To change to Cell mode so that you can define the properties and formatting that apply to one or more cells in the grid, press and hold the CTRL key while clicking in the selected cells within the grid.

To change to Group mode so that you can prevent repeating elements from breaking across pages when you print a report, click a group button at the top-left corner of a region in a report where repeating levels are defined.


Notes

  • If more columns are added than can fit on one printed page of the report, a red vertical line is displayed to the left of the column. (The red line indicates that everything to the right of it will print on a separate page.)
  • If there is too much data to fit vertically on one page, a natural page break is automatically inserted and is displayed as a horizontal red line in the design grid. To insert a manual page break, select the row that you want to be the first on the next page, and then choose Insert > Page Break to add a page break above the selected row in the report. To remove a manual page break, select the row that is below the red line, and then choose Insert > Remove Page Break.
  • To format the page so that more columns fit on a page, either reduce column width (Format > Column > Width) or change the page layout. Choose File > Page Setup to modify the report margins, orientation, or paper type. Columns that do not fit on the page will be displayed on a separate page.
  • To apply cell formatting, select a cell or group of cells in the design grid, and then choose Format > Cells. The Format Cells dialog provides four tabs (Font, Format, Alignment, and Border) where you can customize the appearance of various elements within the selected report.

Design Tools frame

You can format text and add variables in a report within the design grid, as well as customize your report properties at the region, row, column, cell, and group level.

Variables section

This section includes a tree-view list of a wide variety of variables that you can insert into the selected report or other documents. Each variable is replaced by the currently selected client's data when you print or preview the document.

See also: Working with variables; Using repeating elements in a report (Report Designer)

Text section

This section provides many of the same text formatting tools that are included on the Formatting toolbar of the Report Designer, as well as a More text options link that opens the Format Cells dialog for quick access to additional tools.

Region, Row, Column, Cell, and Group Properties sections

Depending on what area of a report or financial statement is highlighted in the design grid, one of the following sections appears in the Design Tools frame of the Report Designer.

To display the Region Properties section of the Design Tools frame, click the title bar for any region in the design grid.

Optional region (checkbox). To include a region in the report that you can optionally choose to include or exclude from the report at print time, mark this checkbox and also specify a name for the optional region. See also: Making report options available at print time.

Print by default (checkbox). To include the optional region by default at print time, mark this checkbox. Otherwise, it will be excluded by default at print time.

To display the Row Properties section of the Design Tools frame, press and hold the CTRL key while clicking the row number buttons for one or more rows of the design grid.

Current Focus

  • Region. Displays the region that corresponds to the current selection.
  • Row. Displays the first row number that corresponds to the current selection.

Row Properties

  • Contents. Enter text or click the Formula Insert formula button button to create and insert a formula. Contents entered in Row Properties flow to each cell in the selected row(s).
  • Grouping type/Grouping content. For accounting reports only. Select the grouping type and then select the applicable grouping content (account number, tax code, or account grouping code/subcode).
  • Period. Select the symbol or code that specifies the time period(s) from which to pull amounts (for example, CP-Current period, CY-Current year-to-date, CT-Current year total, and so forth). Click the Select Period Select Period button button to open the Period dialog to view a complete list of period indicators and to create formulas.
  • Amount type. Specify an actual amount or select the balance, debit, or credit amount type. (The debit and credit amount types, for example, are frequently used in statements of cash flow.)
  • Basis. For accounting reports only. Select the basis from the drop-down list: Unadjusted, Adjusted, Report, Tax, Other, Budget, Adjusted Budget, and so forth.
  • Title row (checkbox). To specify that the selected row is a title row, mark this checkbox. Title rows are automatically repeated on subsequent pages of a report and are commonly used for rows that include column-heading text.
  • Print zeros (checkbox). To specify that the selected row(s) should print even if all amounts in the row are zero, mark this checkbox. Otherwise, zero-amount rows are not shown in a report.
  • Print distinct values (checkbox). To enable variables to repeat only for each unique instance of the variable data, mark this checkbox. For example, in the Deduction Register report, the [Payroll.Check.EmployeeFullNameLastFirstMI] variable requires a unique value for each employee name. This checkbox setting applies to each cell in the selected rows. For example, in the Tax Code Groupings report, the [ChartofAccounts.Accounts.TaxCode] variable requires a unique value for each tax code. This checkbox setting applies to each cell in the selected rows
  • Optional section (checkbox). To include a row section in the report that you can optionally choose to include or exclude from the report at print time, mark this checkbox and also specify a name for the optional section. See also: Making report options available at print time.
  • Print by default (checkbox). To include the optional section by default at print time, mark this checkbox. Otherwise, it will be excluded by default at print time.

To display the Column Properties section of the Design Tools frame, press and hold the CTRL key while clicking the column-heading letter of one or more columns in the design grid.

Current Focus

  • Region. Displays the region that corresponds to the current selection.
  • Column. Displays the column letter that corresponds to the current selection.

Column Properties

  • Contents. Enter text or click the Formula Insert formula button button to create and insert a Formula. Contents entered in Column Properties flow to each cell in the selected column(s).
  • Period. Select the symbol or code that specifies the time period(s) from which to pull amounts (for example, CP-Current period, CY-Current year-to-date, CT-Current year total, and so forth). Click the Select Period Select Period button button to open the Period dialog to view a complete list of period indicators and to create formulas.
  • Amount type. Specify an actual amount or select the balance, debit, or credit amount type. (The debit and credit amount types, for example, are frequently used in statements of cash flow.)
  • Basis. For accounting reports only. Select the basis from the drop-down list: Unadjusted, Adjusted, Report, Tax, Other, Budget, Adjusted Budget, and so forth.
  • Segments. Select a segment from a list of available segments that have been set up for the client in the Setup > Account Segments screen.
  • Title column (checkbox). To specify that the selected column is a title column, mark this checkbox. Title columns are automatically repeated on subsequent pages of a report and are commonly used for columns that include row-name text.
  • Print zeros (checkbox). To specify that the selected column(s) should print even if all amounts in the row are zero, mark this checkbox. Otherwise, zero-amount columns are not shown in a report.
  • Print total amount. To include the total amount for the amount variables in the selected column(s), mark this checkbox. This setting flows to each cell in the selected column(s).
  • Optional section (checkbox). To include a column section in the report that you can optionally choose to include or exclude from the report at print time, mark this checkbox and also specify a name for the optional section. See also: Making report options available at print time.
  • Print by default (checkbox). To include the optional section by default at print time, mark this checkbox. Otherwise, it will be excluded by default at print time.

To display the Cell Properties section of the Design Tools frame, press and hold the CTRL key while clicking in one or more cells within the design grid.

Current Focus

  • Region. Displays the region that corresponds to the current selection in the design grid.
  • Cell. Displays the cell reference that corresponds to the current cell selection in the design grid.

Cell Properties

  • Contents. Enter text or click the Formula Insert formula button button to create and insert a formula into the selected cell(s).
  • Grouping type/Grouping content. For accounting reports only. Select the grouping type and then select the applicable grouping content (account number, tax code, or account grouping code/subcode).
  • Period. Select the symbol or code that specifies the time period(s) from which to pull amounts (for example, CP-Current period, CY-Current year-to-date, CT-Current year total, and so forth). Click the Select Period Select Period button button to open the Period dialog to view a complete list of period indicators and to create formulas.
  • Amount type. Specify an actual amount or select the balance, debit, or credit amount type. (The debit and credit amount types, for example, are frequently used in statements of cash flow.)
  • Basis. For accounting reports only. Select the basis from the drop-down list: Unadjusted, Adjusted, Report, Tax, Other, Budget, Adjusted Budget, and so forth.
  • Segments. Select a segment from a list of available segments that have been set up for the client in the Setup > Account Segments screen.
  • Print distinct values (checkbox). To enable variables to repeat only for each unique instance of the variable data, mark this checkbox. For example, in the Deduction Register report, the [Payroll.Check.EmployeeFullNameLastFirstMI] variable requires a unique value for each employee name. For example, in the Tax Code Groupings report, the [ChartofAccounts.Accounts.TaxCode] variable requires a unique value for each tax code.
  • Print total amount (checkbox). To include the total amount for the amount variables in the selected cells(s), mark this checkbox. (This option has no affect if selected for any item other than an amount variable.)
  • Repeat right (checkbox). To designate a cell or cells with a repeating variable that should repeat right rather than down, mark this checkbox. (Repeating variables normally repeat down.)

To display the Group Properties section of the Design Tools frame, click the numbered button for a specific repeating level in a region of the design grid.

Current Focus

  • Region. Displays the region that corresponds to the current selection.
  • Level. Displays the repeating level that corresponds to the current selection.

Group Properties

  • Row(s) in group. Displays the row or range of rows for the selected level. (Note that this field cannot be modified.)
  • Do not page break within group (checkbox). To display this data grouping on a single page without carrying forward to the next page, mark this checkbox.

    Note: If the selected data grouping is too large to fit on a single page, a natural page break is automatically inserted.

Related topics

Customizing reports in the Report Designer

Making report options available at print time

Reporting and Report Designer: Procedures

Using rounding accounts and rounded amounts in statements and reports

Working with formulas

Accounting CS: Financial Statement WalkThrough

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