Over the years, I’ve developed many tips and tricks for using FRx. Below are nineteen of my favorites.
Maintaining Your Reports Catalog
Save a report prior to generating if any changes have been made to a catalog. You should also save a catalog before it is generated if a change has been made to the catalog. Failure to do so may create corruption in the *.F32 file which can lead to loss of specification set information.
- Be sure to run the compact spec set process on a regular basis. To run this process: Make sure all users are out of FRx, then select FileCompact FRx DatabaseCurrent Spec Set Database. Running this utility will repair your specification set and FRx system database and prevent loss of valuable data such as reports and company information. This should be performed at least once a week to ensure the stability of the *.F32 and FrxSys32.MDB files. (See the image below.)
Running the compact spec set:
Protecting Your Data
Since FRx report design data is not stored in your SQL database, make sure that your daily accounting system backups include at least SysData and IO_Data from the FRx67 folder. The FRx SysData directory contains critical FRx files, including company and report design information. The IO_Data folder contains demonstration data and is the default location for completed FRx reports. Failure to make regular backups of these two folders can lead to loss of your FRx designs.
Export spec sets and/or reports daily while you are developing reports. This creates a copy of the spec set and will prevent any data loss in case someone changes your report format.
Be sure to use a separate spec set for testing and/or report development. That way the original reports are intact while you are testing and experimenting with your new reports.
Using a separate spec for testing/report development:
Instead of recreating reports, save yourself some work by taking advantage of the Demo spec set by grabbing reports from FW Demo spec set (either by Save As or Export/Import). While you will have to make some changes and adjustments a lot of the hard work will already be completed.
To keep company reports more uniform and consistent create a set of Font Styles with a company name prefix. For instance, for company ABC, set up and use the font style ABC Bold (instead of using Arial,10,Bold).
- To get the full benefit of FRx and its drill-down viewer, make sure your reports are designed for Drilldown. Be sure to check Detail Level in the catalog and avoid NP rows where ever possible. (Below is an example of this tip.)
Checking Detail Level in the FRx Catalog:
Use a check total to ensure accuracy. This can be used in Income Statements with a range of the P&L accounts (4000-9999) and verifying this total equals the Net Income total on a detailed Income Statement.
To make reports and catalogs easier to maintain, whenever possible keep the filename on the output tab the same as the Catalog ID.
Use comments liberally throughout liberally (with NP or REM rows) to explain logic. This is located in the row format in the Format Codes column C .
- To make it easier to follow your work, italicize NP rows or columns. This helps the information stand out differently than the printing rows or columns.
Use a footer with the catalog ID and date/time to help you identify the history of versions and revisions of your reports, like the image below.
Identifying History of Versions and Revisions Using Intelligent Report Footers
- Tie outs: use view subtotals to drill down on the check total to see amounts by account, then export current selection to Excel if needed.
Avoid using special characters such as ( – / : | ‘ % ” $ & ) in row format, column layout, tree or catalog IDs. Doing so may contribute to the corruption of the *.F32 file.
Take the time to print row format, column layout, tree, and catalog information after designing a new report. This information is invaluable if data is lost or corrupt and you need to recreate a report.
Modifying or Troubleshooting Reports
- Using open row, column, tree and catalog icons for navigation is a quick, easy way to make sure you are opening the correct files when modifying or troubleshooting an FRx report.Use the open row, column, tree or catalog icon for a quick navigation:
Generating FRx Reports
Use FRx Report Launcher for non-report designer users. This helps prevent accidental changes, modifications or revisions to FRx reports.
Troubleshooting System Issues in FRx
If you are experiencing system issues, compare the workstation FRx version to the server FRx version. They should be the same. Click on HelpAbout on the server and on the workstation to make sure that they are the same. The image below is what the About Microsoft FRx screen looks like if you are correctly up-to-date with at least service Pack 9.
The “About Microsoft FRx” Screen: