Reports – General Help

General Help for Reports

Introduction

This guide is intended to provide general help for all reports created with and compiled by Visual Report Designer for use with AutoCAD® or AutoCAD-based vertical applications such as AutoCAD Civil 3D®. Each report should also provide its own help file which should typically be referred to prior to referring to this document.

Installation

To install your report, simply run the MSI file from the URL provided in your order details. Note that all reports compiled by Visual Report Designer REQUIRE that a copy of Visual Report Designer is installed as a prerequisite to installing individual reports. If Visual Report Designer is not installed, or if the currently installed version is insufficient, the compiled report installers will prompt the user to automatically download and install a copy of the correct version of Visual Report Designer. If you cancel the Visual Report Designer installation for any reason, you will still be given an option to install the report application, however, it will not function until an appropriate version of Visual Report Designer is also installed.

NOTE: Administrator privileges are required for installation.

Detailed Installation Instructions:
  1. Download the installer from the URL given in your purchase receipt.
  2. While logged in as an administrator, launch the installer.  You will see a dialog similar to this:Compiled Report Installer - Screen 1
  3. At this point, the installer will check whether Visual Report Designer is installed, and if so, whether the installed version is sufficient.  If Visual Report Designer is installed, and the installed version is sufficient, no changes will be made to the Visual Report Designer installation and the report installation will simply proceed normally;  if however Visual Report Designer is not installed, or the installed version is less than the version used to compile the report, you will be prompted to download and install the correct version of Visual Report Designer (note that this may not be the most recent version…it is merely the version used to compile the report):Required Prerequisite is Missing - Prompt To Download VRD
  4. If you click ‘Yes’, the installer will connect with our server and download the correct version of the Visual Report Designer MSI file.  If the installer is unable to find the correct version, it will instead automatically download the most recent version.VRD download progress
  5. Upon completing the download, the installer will launch the Visual Report Designer installer:VRD Installer - Screen 1
  6. After Visual Report Designer successfully installs, the installation sequence will return focus to the main report installer, at which point you will be able to accept the EULA and proceed to install your report.Compiled Report Installer - Finished Screen

 

Licensing

Reports authored on and compiled by Visual Report Designer are individually (or group) licensed as standalone applications. The reports will not run with a general Visual Report Designer license, nor will any other reports run using a license for a specific report. While all depend on Visual Report Designer for core functionality, each report (or report/product group) is considered a separate product/application.

Activation of a report requires an internet connection. Your report will not run until activated. If you are unable to activate a report you purchased, you may contact us at support@civilplus.net for assistance.

Customizing your reports

Some reports include features which allow customization/personalization such as custom logo images, use of your company and contact information for report headers, etc. The default mechanisms for these features are described below. Please note that some reports may make use of alternate methods for these sort of features. In the case where the default methods are not used, the report-specific documentation should provide the necessary details to configure the reports.

Logos

Some reports may include an option which enables the use of custom logo image files. Unless otherwise specified in the report documentation, the file should be called ‘logo.png’ and should be placed in the same directory as the report DLL file (typically ‘C:\ProgramData\Autodesk\C3D 2015\enu\Data\Reports\Net\<YourReportName>\’ – see screen capture below for an example from an actual installed report). If configured to support this feature, the image you provide should be automatically loaded into the report and used whenever a report document is generated. Note that admin permissions may be required to edit a file in this location.

Custom logo image file location

Contact information, etc

Some reports may include support for user-customizable fields (typical uses include company and contact information, etc). Unless otherwise provided in the specific report documentation, any supported fields should be defined in a file called ‘report.ini’ located in the same directory as the report DLL file (typically ‘C:\ProgramData\Autodesk\C3D 2015\enu\Data\Reports\Net\<YourReportName>\’ – see ‘Logos’ above for an example of a deployed report application). If this file is present at this location, you should edit it and provide the proper values. Note that admin permissions may be required to edit a file in this location.

Additional Customization

Additional customization may be possible in your report. If a mechanism is provided to allow you to customize a report beyond what is described above, the report documentation should explain how to utilize the mechanism/feature.

NOTE: If additional customization to any of our reports is needed, please contact us with your specifications for a quote and schedule to make the necessary changes.

Running a report

Once a report is installed, you may access it via the Toolbox in the AutoCAD ToolSpace pane.

Toolspace - Reports Manager - Installed report

Reports will typically be arranged by author, then by category, though this may not always be the case. For more information about customizing the way your reports are organized, please refer to Organizing your reports below.

To run a report, select it from the Toolbox and either double-click, or right-click and select ‘execute’.

Toolspace - Execute Report

If the report has not yet been activated, it will immediately open an activation dialog and prompt you for your activation key – please enter the key that was provided with your purchase receipt email. Upon successful activation, the Run Report dialog will open. From here you may configure report queries, selection sets, options, etc, and you may also access the help page specific for that report if available.

NOTE: Some reports may take some time to generate when ‘Previewed’ or ‘Inserted to a DWG’. If you need to prematurely stop a report document from generating while in ‘Preview’ mode, use the ‘Stop’ button in the status bar in the lower-left area of the window:

Run Report - Preview - Progress Bar

The Run Report Dialog

The Run Report Dialog allows you to specify query and selection set options for running a report in addition to options for inserting the report to a DWG (including pagination, layout, etc):

Run Report Dialog - Initial View

Set Queries

Root Queries

Queries are defined on the ‘Root Queries’ sub-tab of the ‘Set Queries’ tab.

To specify a selection set to apply your query options to, use the selection set field. This field has 3 command buttons:

  • Shows a drop down list of all items of the targeted type in the current DWG (as shown above)
  • Clears the selection set
  • Allows you to graphically select items from the DWG

If you leave your selection set empty, the query will execute against ALL entities in the DWG; if you specify even one item, the query will run against only those item(s) contained in the selection set.

You may specify values to use as filters for the various properties listed. The filter values specified will be used in constructing the query which is executed against the selection set to determine which entities contribute to a report. To allow any value for a given property, use an asterisk (‘*’) as a wildcard; to allow only those entities with a specific value for a property, enter the literal text value for that property, or use a combination of a partial value with a wildcard to search for all similar values (e.g. ‘ABC*’ will match ‘ABC’, ‘ABC123’, ‘ABCD’, etc.)

Query Extensions

Some reports may also contain settings called ‘Query Extensions’. These are presented as categorized properties in the associated query property list. These items may include special geometric query options such as value range limitations, settings which instruct the reporting engine as to how to interpret certain data, external file references, etc.
Run Report Dialog - Set Queries - Edit Query Extensions

Query extensions may utilize additional editor dialogs for adjusting properties. An example of this is as follows:

Query Extension Editor Dialog

Reference Queries

Some reports may also include ‘Reference Queries’, which will be shown on the ‘Reference Queries’ sub-tab. A ‘Reference Query’ is a special type of query used to find entities which are ‘referenced’ by the root query entities when generating the report. For example, a point report might include a reference query targeting a ‘Surface’ entity. The entity specified for this query can then be used by all points in the report to calculate a projected elevation on the surface at the point {x,y} coordinates.

Report Parameters

A report may also contain ‘Parameters’, which are shown on the ‘Report Parameters’ sub-tab. A parameter is a named value which is specified by the user prior to running a report, and it then used in some way within the report. For example, you might have a parameter for ‘Coordinate System’, which could then be used by a projection calculation to report point coordinates in an alternate coordinate system. Another example, as shown below, is to have a report ‘Title’ parameter which may be altered prior to running the report:
Run Report - Edit Report Parameters

In this example, the resulting report looks like this:

Report Preview Sample - Partial

Options

The options tab enables you to control how a report will insert into a DWG. You may control such properties as layer, scale, pagination (single continuous page or paginated), multi-page layout options, etc.

Run Report - Options

When you are done setting the queries, options, etc, you can execute and render a report using one of two options:

  • Preview the report (see below).
  • Insert the report to a DWG

If you choose to insert to DWG, you can click on the pull-down list on the ‘Insert to DWG’ button to access a list of workspaces to insert to, including model space and all of your layouts defined in the currently active DWG file.

Run Report - Insert to DWG - Model and Paper Spaces

NOTE: Reports will always be executed against the currently active DWG file.

The Preview Dialog

When you click the ‘Preview’ button in the Run Report dialog, the report will be executed and rendered to a document. This document is then shown in the Preview dialog:

Report Preview - Full

This dialog allows you to do the following:

  • Save/Open rendered report documents
  • Print, Print Preview, adjust layout, etc.
  • Zoom
  • Adjust the report background color
  • Apply a watermark to the report
  • Export the document to various forms, including:
    • PDF
    • CSV
    • XSLT
    • RTF
  • Email the document in any of the several formats available for exporting using your default email application.

NOTE: Some reports may take some time to generate when ‘Previewed’ or ‘Inserted to a DWG’. If you need to prematurely stop a report document from generating while in ‘Preview’ mode, use the ‘Stop’ button in the status bar in the lower-left area of the window:

Run Report - Preview - Progress Bar

Organizing your reports

By default, reports will be organized first by author, and then by category. If you want to rearrange the default organization, you can do so using the Toolbox Editor provided by AutoCAD Civil 3D:

Toolspace - Toolbox Editor Icon

Toolbox Editor

 

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