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Crystal Reports: Running Total Fields

Total fields are easy to use and very useful; for example, to see accumulating sales or when you need to sum a value at a Group level rather than at Detail level.

Your bank statement has a good demonstration of a running total. The page starts with an opening balance, deposits add to the balance, and withdrawals reduce the balance. With a Running Total field, we display the balance each day as these transactions get processed.

Crystal Reports Running Total field first appeared in version 7, and weíve found it to be a very useful object. The key things to specify are:

1) Summary: the Field to Summarize and the Type of Summary operation: Normally you would select a numeric field or formula and SUM that field.

2) Evaluate: How often do you want to calculate this summary? Usually itís every record, but you also control less frequent calculations by selecting an evaluate on change of group. We donít recommend the use of "on change of field" as the sequence of your data can cause this to go horribly wrong. Change of group is a lot safer, even if it requires the creation of an extra group in your report.

3) Reset: When do you want to set the total back to zero? Is this a running total that accumulates all the way through the report, or do you go back to zero on the change of a group field?

You should focus on the idea of totals, whenever and wherever you can when designing your report. It's not the granularity that is useful, it's the meta concept. That is, decision makers need to see the forest without the view obscured by the trees.

Are you really answering any business intelligence questions with your report? Where can you use totals, instead of individual data points?

Can a manager or executive use your report to adjust company strategy or better allocate limited resources?

To get a better handle on this question, see: Reports vs. Data

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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