Templates and Design

QuickEasy Software allows you to create, update and design document templates.

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Templates and Design

QuickEasy Software allows you to create and update document templates.

Design

The principles of Design also apply to Template design. An easy way for you to remember...

Components and Properties

Every Component in the Form Designer has a number of Properties, including the Report, Bands, Sub-Reports, Regions and other visual elements.

Data Pipelines

You use Data Pipelines to access data that needs to be displayed on the document - ie. it connects the template to the QuickEasy database.

Templates and Design

QuickEasy Software allows you to create and update document templates. This module can be accessed from Main Menu > Utilities > QuickEasy Form Designer.

You can access the form designer under User Settings > Other Settings > QuickEasy Form Designer - Access Allowed.

The QuickEasy Form Designer is a component that was created by Digital Metaphors.

A tutorial on how to use ReportBuilder can be downloaded from this link - Learning ReportbuilderLearning ReportBuilder is a complete learning system designed to teach end users how to build a range of reports. This system includes a 125-page PDF file, a stand-alone application complete with a database, and a help file.

QuickEasy Form Designer

The QuickEasy Form Designer provides the tools to create and update document templates. The interface consists of

  • Main Menu - links to all the functions
  • Design / Preview tabs - Allows you to toggle between Design view and Preview.
  • Toolbars
  • Report Tree - Displays all the components used on a template in a tree view.
  • Properties - Displays the properties for the selected component
  • Design Panel
  • Data Tree - Displays a list of all the available Data Pipelines and their corresponding fields. Fields can be dragged onto the design panel and will be displayed according to the settings in the Layout tab.
  • Status Bar - Displays information about the selected component and provides Zoom functionality

Links to free software

Images - Paint.Net

Vector Drawings - Inkscape

Design

The principles of Design also apply to Template design. An easy way for you to remember the four most important principles of design is by way of the acronym C.R.A.P.

  • Contrast
  • Repetition
  • Alignment
  • Proximity

Click this link for a short design tutorial on C.R.A.P. design.

The above tutorial is only a drop in the ocean of what is freely available online.

Images

Most Templates will include Images for company logos, diagrams, etc. The resolution of an image is measured in dots per inch abbreviated to dpi.  High resolution equals high quality but also equals large file size - so we need to find the correct balance of quality versus file size.

Ideally Images that are used on templates should be the lowest resolution required to produce the best quality on the printing device that will output the document. For home and office printers, this is 150dpi or 59dpc (dots per cm) at final size - in other words, using images with a higher resolution will only increase the file size and not the output quality.

Click this link for free Image Editing Software - Paint.Net

Click this link for free photo re-sizing software - FastStone Photo Resizer

Tips and Tricks

This topic gives you useful tips and tricks for creating Document and Report Templates.

Multiple Columns

Multiple column Layouts can be created by using the Report > Layout properties combined with the Detail Band > Generation properties. Columns can be equal in size or different sizes and can be populated from top to bottom or from left to right. The Report > ColumnPositions property allows you to add custom starting points for each column.

Managing Page Breaks

Care must be taken to manage page breaks on Reports that could run into multiple pages. You need to ensure that relevant data is kept together and where necessary, headings are reprinted on subsequent pages. The properties that control how data is displayed on page breaks include:

  • ReprintOnOverFlow 
  • KeepTogether
  • ShiftRelativeTo

Notes

Title Band can be used to display the Header on the first page of a document while a shortened PageHeader Band can display the Header on subsequent pages. Remember to uncheck the PrintOnFirstPage property on the PageHeader BandRegions are useful for grouping the components that need to be kept together.

Grouping

Functionality is provided to Group on one or more of the fields in a DataPipeLine - eg. When creating a Template for a Report. Click on Main Menu > Report > Groups... to create a new Group or to change the settings on an existing Group. Group Header and Footer Bands will automatically be created for each Group.

A List followed by Detail Pages

At times it might be useful to print a list of items, followed by a detail page for each item. For example, you might want to print a list of Quotations, followed by a detailed Quote Letter for each item on the list.

Set the Report's DataPipeline to the one that contains the List.

Add a SubReport for the List Page to the Title Band and set the PrintBehavior = pbSection. Use the same DataPipeLine on this SubReport that was used on the Report.

Add a SubReport for the Detail Pages to the Detail Band of the Report and set the PrintBehavior = pbSection. The DataPipeLine property on this SubReport must remain empty.

Components and Properties

Every Component in the Form Designer has a number of Properties, including the Report, Bands, Sub-Reports, Regions and other visual elements. You can use Properties to determine the look and feel as well as the behaviour of Components. This topic covers the most commonly used Properties in the Form Designer.

Report

To view the Report Properties, click the icon in the top left where the rulers meet.

  • DataPipeline - The Detail Band will be repeated once for every record in the Data Pipeline linked to this Property.
  • NoDataBehaviors - These Properties determine what is displayed when the primary Data Pipeline has no records. The preferred setting is ndBlankReport = True, with the other NoDataBehaviors Properties = False.
  • Printer Setup - When documents need to be output to specific printers, these Properties can be used to automatically select and configure a printer. Typically these settings need to be made onsite.
  • Units - utMillimeters is the preferred setting. When creating templates that are printed on continuous forms, the height of the form should be set using utInches, however.

Bands

The layout on a Template is determined by Bands, each with their own properties and behaviours:

  • Title - This is printed once at the beginning of the document, and can also be used as a Cover Page.
  • Header - This is printed at the top of each page.
  • Detail - This is printed once for every record in the list.
  • Footer - This is printed at the bottom of each page.
  • Summary - This is printed at the end of the document, after the Detail Band ends.
  • PrintHeight - This sets whether a Band is Static (Fixed height) or Dynamic (Height changes according to content).
  • Height - This sets the Height of the Band in the Units of the Report. Only applicable to Static Bands.
  • PrintOnFirstPage/PrintOnLastPage - This is applicable to Headers and Footers.
  • BottomOffset - This creates a space below the Band in the Units of the Report - ie. if Report is in mm, a BottomOffset = 3 will create a 3mm space.
  • NewPage - This is applicable to Title and Summary Bands - when checked a new page will be created for the Band. eg. a Cover Page for a Report.
  • Background1/Background2 - This is applicable to Detail Bands and used to create different backgrounds for alternate records. Use Report > PrintSetup > Margins to prevent the Backgrounds from printing to the edge of the Report.
  • PrintCount - This is applicable to the Detail Band. Set PrintCount = 1 to limit the Report to one detail record per page.

Label / DBText

Used to display text, numbers and dates in a single line. Commonly used properties include:

  • BlankWhenZero - This is applicable to numeric fields only - zero values are not displayed.
  • Transparent - Only the text is displayed - useful when placing on top of an Image
  • Anchor - This is used to anchor a component to the Top or Bottom of Dynamic Bands.
  • AutoSize - The size is set automatically according to the content (not recommended).
  • Ellipsis - When checked, an '...' is drawn where the text is truncated.
  • ReprintOnOverFlow - This will cause the Label/DBText to be reprinted if the Region or Band in which it is contained is split over a page break.
  • TextAlignment - This sets the horizontal alignment of the text.
  • VerticalAlignment - This sets the vertical alignment of the text.
  • DisplayFormat - Used to format Numerical and Date Fields - right-click component for shortcut to DisplayFormat selector. eg. Currency = R#,0.00; Date = mm/dd/yy; Count = 0 Items.

Avoid using Autosize = True;

(DB)Memo/(DB)RichText

These components are used to display text in multiple lines. The Memo component is used to display plain text and the RichText component is used to display rich text. Commonly used properties include:

  • BottomOffset - This creates a space below the Band in the Units of the Report - ie. if Report is in mm, BottomOffset = 3 will create a 3mm space below the Memo.
  • ShiftRelativeTo - This is used to determine the Top (starting point) of the component based on how much a preceding component stretches. The preceding component is selected in this property.
  • StretchWithParent - The height will increase according to how the Parent (Band or Region) stretches.
  • Stretch - This determines whether the component will stretch to display all the content or remain at a static height.

Image / DBImage

Used to display images on a report. Following are some of the commonly used properties.

  • Picture - This is used to link an image to the non-data aware component.
  • GraphicType - AutoDetect should work fine in most instances. For best results use .jpg or .png images that are no larger than 150dpi (59ppc) at final size.
  • Stretch - This determines whether the component will stretch to display all the content or remain at a static height.
  • MaintainAspectRatio - Keep this property checked to ensure the image is not distorted when the Picture size does not match the Image component's size.

Avoid setting the Transparent property = True - this might cause unexpected results when exporting the template to PDF; Avoid using Autosize = True; Always set Report>PDF Settings>Scale Images = False;

Lines

Lines can be added to a Report to separate and group components and to create grids. Useful properties include:

  • Position - Top, Bottom, Left and Right.
  • Pen - This sets the Style (Solid, Dashes, Dots), Color, etc.
  • Style - Single or Double.
  • Weight - Ideally set between 0.2 and 0.5mm - try to keep the weight consistent throughout the report.

The Alignment, Distribution and Size tools are very useful when creating tables with Lines. The height and width of a Line does not affect how it will be displayed - the height and width must be set to the minimum that enables easy selection of the line.

DBCalc

This is used to create a summary of values displayed in the Detail Band. The type of summary is set using DBCalcType. Options include: Sum, Max, Min, Average, Count.

When a DBCalc is used to display a summary ahead of the Detail Band, the LookAhead property needs to be checked and the Report>PassSetting must be set to psTwoPasses.

System Variable

System variables are mostly used to show page numbers and the time and date a document was created. The most important properties are:

VarType

  • vtPageSetDesc - This creates a combination of page number and page count eg. Page 1 of 3
  • vtPrintDateTime - This prints the date and time the document was created or printed.

SubReport

A SubReport is used to nest reports or to group multiple Reports into one Report. All the properties used for a Report (see above) also apply to a SubReport. And in addition, the following properties are commonly used:

  • PrintBehavior:
    • pbChild - This is used when the SubReport is placed in the Detail Band of a Report to create a sub-detail list linked to the base DataPipeline. In pbChild mode mode the Header and Footer Bands on the SubReport are not visible.
    • pbSection - This is used to create a new independent Sub-Report. A pbSection SubReport should be placed in the Title, Detail or Summary Bands.
  • ParentWidth - When checked, the width of the SubReport is equal to the Report width. Uncheck this setting to set the SubReport to a different width.
  • ParentPrinterSetup - Uncheck this setting when the SubReport must print to a different printer.
  • KeepTogether - This will prevent the contents in the SubReport to be split over multiple pages. Care must be taken to ensure that the contents of the SubReport won't ever exceed a full page.
  • BottomOffset - This creates a space below the SubReport in the Units of the Report - ie. if Report is in mm,  BottomOffset = 3 will create a 3mm space below the SubReport.
  • ShiftRelativeTo - This is used to determine the Top (starting point) of the component based on how much a preceding component stretches. The preceding component is selected in this property.
  • StretchWithParent - The height will increase according to how the Parent (Band or Region) stretches.

When the SubReport PrintBehavior property is set to pbChild, the Visible Property on the SubReport Header and Footer Bands is unchecked. If the PrintBehavior property is changed to pbSection, the Header and Footer Visible properties need to be manually checked.

Region

A Region is used to group a number of components so that they move together in response to changes in other dynamic components. They are also useful for managing the behaviour of components when a Report runs into multiple pages. Commonly used properties include:

  • Border - By default a Region has a black border. To clear the border, set Pen > Style = psClear.
  • KeepTogether - This will prevent the contents in the Region to be split over multiple pages. Care must be taken to ensure that the contents of the Region won't ever exceed a full page.
  • BottomOffset - Creates a space below the Region in the Units of the Report - ie. if Report is in mm,  BottomOffset = 3 will create a 3mm space below the Region.
  • ReprintOnOverFlow - This will cause the contents of the Region to be reprinted if the Region is split over a page break.
  • ShiftRelativeTo - Used to determine the Top (starting point) of the component based on how much a preceding component stretches. The preceding component is selected in this property.
  • StretchWithParent - The height will increase according to how the Parent Band stretches.

Check the Report Tree to ensure components are nested in a Region and not just overlapping the Region.

Data Pipelines

You use Data Pipelines to access data that needs to be displayed on the document - ie. it connects the template to the QuickEasy database. The Data Pipelines can be viewed in the Data Tree in the top right of the form designer. The Data Tree lists the pipelines grouped according to the module.

Each Data Pipeline contains a list of fields. These fields are displayed in the panel below the Data Tree and can be dragged directly onto a Template.

We recommend that you always preview a Template, in the module for which it has been created, before you open the Form Designer - this ensures that all the Data Pipelines and their corresponding fields are visible in the Data Tree.

QuickEasy Data Pipelines

Following is a summary of the Data Pipelines that are typically used on templates that print from Transactions:

 

Data Pipeline Description
My_Company My company details for use on document headers and footers
Active_User The User who is logged into QuickEasy
Trans_All Transaction Header - lists all the open Transactions
Trans_Rec Transaction Header - lists the selected Transaction only
Trans_Company Customer/Supplier - lists details for the selected Transaction
Trans_Contact Contact - lists contact details for the selected Transaction
Trans_AssignTo Assigned to - lists Assigned to details for the selected Transaction
Trans_Rep Sales Rep - lists Rep details for the selected Transaction
Trans_CAA Displays the Ageing for the Customer on the selected Transaction
Items_All Transaction Items - lists all the Items for the selected Transaction
Items_Rec Transaction Item - lists the selected Transaction Item only
Items_Note Displays the Note for the selected Item
Est_Qty_Price Estimate Qty and Price details for the selected Item
Est_Finishing Estimate Services for the selected Item
Est_Material Estimate Materials for the selected Item
Est_Outwork Estimate Outwork details for the selected Item
Est_Outwork_Prices Supplier Prices for the selected Outwork Item
Est_Summary Estimate Price Summary for the selected Item
Est_Desc Estimate Description for the selected Item
Est_Spec Estimate Specification (Applicable to Estimate types only)
Est_Images_Rec Estimate Images for the selected Item
Est_Images_All Estimate Images for all the Items on the selected Transaction
Est_Mat_by_Comp Group Materials on an Estimate at detail level by Component