Related Information Examples & Tutorials
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Introduction To Report Writer

Collect!'s report writer was designed to print reports and letters fast. Unlike a word processor, e.g. Word or Word Perfect, where users may want to modify each report that they print, the report writer is meant to merge data from the database to report and letter templates. This produces high quality, professional reports with speed and efficiency.

Collect! can merge data to its templates and send the results to the printer within seconds. This is because the report writer's function is to merge your data to the template as fast as it can be possibly done.

The report writer prints to many media, not only paper. Provided the design of the report supports the output, you can print to screen, file, spreadsheet, email, fax, RTF, HTML, XML, PDF distiller, and WML.

If you have never worked with a database, pulling your information from various record types and outputting this to a report, the report writer may seem a lot more cryptic than manually creating letters and reports. Many word processors do merge data to their own templates, but the results are much slower due to the complex user interface that is involved in every process.

Once you have mastered the report writer, you will probably agree that it is a very powerful, flexible tool that surpasses many other products, hands down.

Collect! ships with many samples of reports and letters. Also, a large volume of reports on our web site are available for you to download, try out, and modify as you wish, to meet your requirements. Try to use the samples as much as you can. Not only will this help speed up the learning curve, but many times you may only need to make a few word or column changes.

When you are new to Collect!, it is a big task to start a report from scratch. Concentrate on what you need for now and leave future needs for later.

If at any time you feel frustrated or confused, allow us to help out. It is one thing to create a single letter and another to navigate through multiple record types, doing math, writing conditionals and then considering the layout of the data once it is accumulated. Not everyone has these skills nor the desire to learn them.

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Report Definition form

Accessing Report Writer

The Report Writer uses the Report Definition form for creating and editing reports. The Report Definition form may be accessed in many ways. Providing you have access to the various menus and forms, you can use one of the following ways to get to the Report Definition form.

1. Using the menu bar at the top of Collect!, select Print to display the drop-down menu. Select Customize Printing and then select Edit Report Templates from the submenu. The list of existing reports will appear. Select an existing report to display the Report Definition form for the report or to create a new report definition.

2. Or, you can also gain access to the Report Definition form through the Main Menu. Select the SYSTEM ADMINISTRATION button to display the System Administration menu. Select the SETUP AND CONFIGURATION button to display the System Setup form. Select the button labeled REPORTS AND PRINTING to take you to the Report and Printer Setup form. Finally, select the button labeled EDIT REPORTS to display the list of existing reports. Select an existing report to display the Report Definition form for the report or to create a new report definition.

3. Or, at any time when you have started to print a report or letter, you will be presented with a Print Report form. This form allows you to select how you would like the report or letter output and the destination, for example to printer or to file. Select the SETUP button on this form to display the Report and Printer Setup form. Select the button labeled EDIT REPORTS to display the list of existing reports. Select an existing report to display the Report Definition form for the report or to create a new report definition.

4. Or, you can also gain access to a limited reports and letters list through the Main Menu. Select the REPORTS button to display the Reports menu. Select the CUSTOM REPORTS button and the list of existing reports will appear. This function will only display reports that have been designed to run no matter where you are in the system. This is not the full set of reports you may have. Select an existing report to display the Report Definition form for the report or to create a new report definition.

5. Or, while on any other form that allows you to pick from a reports and letters list, you may select the Edit button to directly take you to the Report Definition form.

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See Also

- Report Definition Basics - Introduction/Accessing
- Report Topics Index
- Report Writer Reference
- Report Sample

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