BigSubSandwichOne of the most frequent requests I have for custom reports is to merge several reports together into one report so they’ll all print off together at once. The D-Tools Report Designer provides the ability to achieve this using the subreports feature.

When using subreports you are inserting one fully functioning report into another fully functioning report so they will run at the same time. One of these reports will serve as the main report and the other will serve as a sub-element of that main report. When the main report is run, the subreport gets run as a piece of the report.

Subreports are used extensively on some of the standard proposal reports. Some common examples are:

1. Project Summary (last page of the proposal)

2. Misc Costs is a subreport to the proposal reports

3. Accessories and items inside packages are displayed on proposals from subreports (that’s why they are indented and have different font styles)

Subreports are very helpful tools because they allow us to create a report once and re-use it on several different reports without having to re-invent the wheel every time. For example, with the Project Summary subreport mentioned above (last page of proposal). It exists in the Report Designer as one report, but it can be inserted into every proposal report quickly and easily without having to create it over and over again. Leveraging subreports is a very smart/efficient way to design reports.

The most common requests for inserting subreports is on the proposal reports for such things as merging the scope of work or contract with the main proposal body.

We have several Free QuickTips videos on our website on various topics, one of which demonstrates inserting a subreport into a proposal.  View QuickTips videos here

There are a few important things to keep in mind when using subreports:

1. When a subreport is inserted into a main report – the page header and footer of the subreport are ignored (the page header and footer are generated by the main report).

2. Rather than use a standard D-Tools report as your subreport, you may want to make slight modifications to it so that it integrates into your main report more effectively (sometimes information included in the subreport might be redundant and unnecessary since it’s already being presented by the main report.)

3. Dynamic Grouping/Filtering: When Dynamic grouping and filtering are used by a main report at run time, these are passed along to the subreport elements. (For example in a proposal if you filter the report for Phase = Rough-In, the Project Summary subreport details are also filtered to reflect this change). If you would like to override this it must be done in the Script area and more information can be found here on accomplishing this.

I plan to post one article per month on custom reporting to be included on the Blog and in the Email Newsletter. If you have any topics or suggestions please feel free to email me ryanbrown@medesign.tv