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Crystal Reports: Bar Code Report

Crystal Reports can do a wide range of things, many of which most of us don't even think about.

If information is in a database somewhere and you want it to look nice on a display screen, Web page, or printed page, then Crystal Reports is an ideal tool to use.

So how about a report with bar codes? This is very easy, because a bar code is just another field on a report.

For example, the product code can uniquely identify the product being sold (e.g., they are not sold in multiple units.) Insert the product code field in your report where you wish the bar code to appear--that could be on the top right for a print of sticky labels three across.

Highlight the field and change the font to one of the various bar code fonts available. You could use, for example, a font called "3 of 9 Barcode." The product code is now converted to a bar code and the report can be printed in the normal way.

Does this sound like something you'll never do? If so, stop and think about how ubiquitous bar codes are today. They are on everything from security access badges to pay stubs. OK, chances are good that your employer no longer issues paper paychecks. But if you look around, you'll see plenty of bar codes.

And there may even be bar codes you don't see. Why? Because now we have systems that use radio frequency devices to read them. The bar codes don't have to be visible to humans.

Maybe someone in your organization would like to know the peak times when guest passes are issued. Or how many times a projector leaves the building, or the average time one is checked out.

The problem, of course, is nobody thought to capture that barcode information to a database. Of if they did, the managers who might use that information have no idea. Or if they did, it's in an information silo and not in the database your reporting system uses.

The key to getting promotions, or good job offers if you don't get promoted, is to accrue a set of significant accomplishments. And here's an opportunity for you.

You don't want to be one of those people whose resume reads "spearheaded" X, where X is some group project and everyone else on the project also "spearheaded" it (whatever that means). You want to be one of those rare people whom other people talk about as being an innovator. That's how you get promoted to a good position or get offered a great job. When you have to resort to putting flatulent statements on your resume, you'll probably be consigned to making incremental advancements rather than career breakthroughs.

So, here's what you do:

  1. Find out what data being collected via bar codes.
  2. Find out where those data are being saved.
  3. Talk to key managers about using those data in a report. What would they want to know? What would help them be more effective or efficient? What would give them insight they don't presently have?
  4. Make it happen.

After you get that bar code project done, see what else you can do to set yourself apart as an innovator. Word will get around. You will probably never have to send a resume, which means, of course, you don't have to write that you "spearheaded" any group projects.


This article is copyrighted by Crystalkeen, Mindconnection, and Chelsea Technologies Ltd. It may be freely copied and distributed as long as the original copyright is displayed and no modifications are made to this material. Extracts are permitted. The names Crystal Reports and Seagate Info are trademarks owned by Business Objects.


Except where an author's name is given at the start of the article, all of these articles were written by Mo Naughton or Bruce Ferguson and edited by Mark Lamendola. Mo is a Crystal Reports consultant, trainer, and developer for Chelsea Technologies, Inc. Bruce Ferguson is a Crystal Reports consultant, trainer, and developer for CrystalKiwi, Inc. Mark Lamendola is a writer and editor with over 15 years experience in professional and trade publications.




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