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This is an index of our Crystal Reports Basics articles.

These articles explain basic concepts, primarily for the benefit of beginners.

Click here for the Main Article menu.

Always be thinking of the next evolution of your Crystal Reports skills. We can help you there, with our other articles and with the tools we sell.

Here are some steps to work on, once you're comfortable with using Crystal Reports and understand the basics of the program:

  • Develop your own system. Write down the rules, as you go. The more you work your system, the more second-nature it will become. Developing a system keeps you from reinventing how you do things, and it keeps things consistent. It also saves you time and reduces errors.
  • Seek feedback. Ask users what they like and don't like. The more you tailor the reporting system to the people whose opinions matter to your boss, the better your job security is.
  • Train and educate. You don't need to conduct formal classes to train users. Just as you get their feedback, give them input. Provide helpful tips, let them know some things the system can do that it isn't doing now, and help them make the best use of the information it provides.
  • Evolve. Keep in mind that report design is an ongoing process. Once you know the basics of Crystal Reports, you’ll want to add functionality offered only by third-party vendors. Take a look here at what some of that functionality is and what some of those offerings are.
Now, it might be tempting to skip all this work and just rely on the various "experts" provided in Crystal Reports. Don't do that.

The wizards and experts in software programs are like training wheels. They help when you are just getting used to the idea of being on a bike. But after you get a little experience, they start to be more of a drag on your performance than a help.

You want to get rid of the need for training wheels as soon as possible. Here are some tips:

  • Keep a running journal. Amazingly, paper works well for this. The mere act of writing things down helps you learn, and makes a huge difference.
  • Read books on Crystal Reports. You don't have to spend huge amounts of time doing this, and there really aren't all that many books available. Just buy one and set aside 15 minutes each day to read something in it. If the book has a practice problem, schedule some time to do that.
  • Join a local user group. If there isn't one, start one.
  • Read articles like the ones on Crystalkeen.
  • Ask users what they want in their reporting system. Then refer to the Crystal Reports books you've been reading to see how to do that. This immerses you in your learning, rather than making it purely academic.
  • Read the help files. Seriously. Keep a running Outlook appointment (or use some other time scheduling tool) to read one or two per day.

Don't forget to read about our Crystal Reports viewers, analyzers, and schedulers.


  • Questions? Please write to We do want your business.
  • Do you have your own tips for Crystal Reports administrators and designers? Write to and we'll post your tips with a link to your Website (or with some other attribution if you choose).
  • Crystal Reports is a subsidiary of Business Objects, which is owned by SAP.