Sage ACT! 2011: Creating a Quick Report

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Sage ACT! 2011 Dashboard and Report Cookbook

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Over 65 simple and incredibly effective recipes for creating and customizing exciting dashboards and reports from your Sage ACT! data using this book and eBook

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by Karen Fredricks Roy Laudenslager | February 2011 | Cookbooks Enterprise Articles

The Quick reports provide simple reports that require minimum configuration and are easy to run. These reports are either list prints or screen prints with headers and footers to identify the report. The ease of creating a quick report makes them ideal for single use reports. In this article we'll be going through the different types for quick reports and configuring the various options for the quick reports.

In this article by Karen Fredricks and Roy Laudenslager, authors of Sage ACT! 2011 Dashboard and Report Cookbook, we will cover:

  • Setting preferences for the quick reports
  • Selecting and organizing the columns for a Contact List Quick Report
  • Printing the Contact List Quick Report
  • Printing a History tab Quick Report
  • Printing the Contact Detail View Quick Report
  • Exporting the Opportunities List View to Excel

 

Sage ACT! 2011 Dashboard and Report Cookbook

Sage ACT! 2011 Dashboard and Report Cookbook

Over 65 simple and incredibly effective recipes for creating and customizing exciting dashboards and reports from your ACT! data

  • Immediately access and fully understand the out-of-the-box ACT! reports and dashboards
  • Get to grips with filtering dashboard information
  • Customize existing reports and dashboards to make permanent changes
  • Create brand-new reports using the ACT! Report Writer
        Read more about this book      

(For more resources on Sage ACT! 2011, see here.)

Introduction

The ACT! program provides two different types of reports: Quick reports and Standard reports.

The standard report requires that a template be prepared in advance. The template may be brand new, an existing template, or a modified version of an existing template. While the standard report's template design is very flexible, it does require significant effort to design and organize the template. For complex reporting needs or reports that are frequently required, the standard reports are the best.

This article shows how to run the various quick reports available in the ACT! program. You'll be shown how to set up, control headers and footers and run the various quick reports. The ease of creating a quick report makes them ideal for single use reports. The configuration of a quick report can't be saved so if a quick report configuration is frequently required, you should consider creating a standard report template instead.

The ACT! Demo database is used for the tasks in this article.

Setting preferences for the quick reports

The preferences for all the quick reports can be individually set in the ACT! general preferences. Unless blocked, they can be set at the time you run the quick report. Here we will set the preferences for the contact list quick reports.

Getting ready

Because we are setting global preferences, there isn't any preparation required other than to have an ACT! database open.

How to do it...

  1. From any screen in the ACT! program, click on the Tools menu and choose Preferences....
  2. In the Preferences dialog, click on the Communication tab.
  3. In the Printing section, click on the Quick Print Preferences... button.

    Sage ACT! 2011: Creating a Quick Report

  4. In the Views section, select Contact List.
  5. For Print orientation, click on the radio button for Landscape.
  6. For Print sizing, click on the radio button for Actual size.
  7. For Other options, check Same font in my list view.
  8. Check Show Quick Print Options when printing.

    Sage ACT! 2011: Creating a Quick Report

  9. Click the Header Options button.
  10. Check Page Number, Print Date, Print Time, and My Record.

    Sage ACT! 2011: Creating a Quick Report

  11. Click OK.
  12. Click Footer Options button.
  13. Uncheck all options and click OK.
  14. Click OK to close the Quick Print Preferences dialog.
  15. Click OK to close the Preferences dialog.

How it works...

At this point, we are setting the general options for the Quick Print reports. In the Quick Print Preferences dialog Views section, all of the possible Quick Print report possibilities are shown and each can be configured separately. This task used the Contact List Quick Report as an example. The Portrait - Landscape option determines the orientation of the printed report. As a general rule the Print Sizing option should be set to actual size because the fit to page option shrinks the report both horizontally and vertically to fit on one page. Used with the Contact List Quick Report could result in a final report that was not legible. The font selection would most likely be the same as used on the contact list view, but it does provide for changing the desired font. The header and footer options are the same and typically one or the other would be used but not both. The My record option prints the name of the user running the report. The Show Quick Print options when printing allow for adjusting the report options when running the report. Unchecked, the report will go directly to the printer.

There's more...

The Quick Reports don't provide any means for setting the page margins. While the Fit to page option should typically be set to Actual size for a list view Quick Report, you will likely want to use the Fit to page option when doing a Quick Print of a detail view.

Selecting and organizing the columns for a Contact List Quick Report

In this task, we continue working with the Contact List Quick Report. The contact list is able to display all the fields in the contact table. While possible, in most cases this would be impractical. To create a meaningful report you need to decide which fields you want to show in the report. Because you will be printing the contact list, make sure the contact list is showing the fields that you want and that they are arranged in the desired order. In this task we will set up a name and address list.

Getting ready

There isn't any preparation required for the Contact List Quick Report other than having an ACT! database open.

How to do it...

  1. In the navigation bar, on the right-hand side of the screen, click on Contacts.
  2. In the tool bar, click on List View button.
  3. Anywhere in the List View, right-click and select Customize Columns....
  4. In the Customize Columns dialog, add fields to the list by clicking in the desired field in the Available fields box and then clicking the top arrow button (points right >).
  5. Remove unwanted fields by clicking on the field in the Show as columns in this order box and then clicking on the second from the top arrow button (points left <).
  6. Adjust the order of the fields by clicking on a field in the Show as columns in this order box and click on the Move Up or Move Down buttons to move the field to the desired location.

    Sage ACT! 2011: Creating a Quick Report

  7. Click the OK button to close and save the field configuration.
  8. In the title bar of the contact list, point the cursor to the division between columns and the cursor becomes a double ended arrow.

    Sage ACT! 2011: Creating a Quick Report

  9. Drag the division line to adjust the column width.
  10. Adjust the remaining columns in the same manner.

How it works...

Because the Quick Reports are basically screen image reports, it's necessary to make the screen look the way you want the report to look. For the Contact List Quick Report (and most list reports) this requires selecting the fields (columns) that you want in the report and arranging and sizing them so they look the way you want them to look on the printed report. The Customize Columns dialog provides the mechanism for selecting the fields to include and to position them in the desired order. Sizing the columns is a bit harder. The columns divisions can be dragged to widen or narrow a column. The column being sized is the column to the left of the column division.

There's more...

The Quick Reports don't provide any means for directly filtering the output. The best means of filtering the contacts included in the Contact List Quick Report is to use a lookup of the contacts to include in the report. You can also apply a simple sort on the contact list by clicking on the column title of the column you want to use for sorting. Each time you click on the column title, you reverse the sort order.

Sage ACT! 2011 Dashboard and Report Cookbook Over 65 simple and incredibly effective recipes for creating and customizing exciting dashboards and reports from your Sage ACT! data using this book and eBook
Published: February 2011
eBook Price: $23.99
Book Price: $39.99
See more
Select your format and quantity:
        Read more about this book      

(For more resources on Sage ACT! 2011, see here.)

Printing the Contact List Quick Report

In this task, we continue working with the Contact List Quick Report, moving now to the actual printing of the report.

Getting ready

If you want to print a specific group of contacts, you should create a lookup of those contacts prior to running the report. For this task, I made a lookup of all the contacts in the ACT! Demo database where the city name started with New. I also did a sort on the City column.

How to do it...

  1. In the Contact screen | List View, click the File menu and select Quick Print Current Window.

    Sage ACT! 2011: Creating a Quick Report

  2. In the Quick Print Options dialog, Print orientation, click the radio button for Landscape.
  3. In Print sizing, click the radio button for Actual size.
  4. In Other options, uncheck Same font in my list view and click the Font... button.
  5. In the Font dialog, choose Times New Roman.
  6. For the Font style, choose Regular.
  7. For the Size, choose 10.
  8. Click the OK button to save the font selection.

    Sage ACT! 2011: Creating a Quick Report

  9. Click the OK button to open the Quick Print Options dialog.

    Sage ACT! 2011: Creating a Quick Report

  10. Select print options applicable for your printer and click the OK button to print the report.

How it works...

The list print quick reports print what is listed on the screen with the addition of a simple header or footer. If the list is very long, for example, and you did all contacts for the lookup, the Quick Report would print a multiple page report that would include contacts that were valid for the lookup but didn't fit on the viable screen.

There's more...

The File menu also had a selection for Quick Print Selected. This allows you to select some of the contacts that are in the list view by tagging the contacts and then print only those records. This is useful if you needed to print a few records out of a lookup without losing the lookup. This particular option is more useful when doing a Quick Print of a tab such as history or notes.

Printing the History tab quick report

In this task, we are working with the History Tab Quick Report on the contact detail screen. The Quick Reports for the various tabs are useful when you want a hard copy of the Notes, History, Activity, or Opportunity records for a contact.

Getting ready

You need to navigate to the contact detail screen, select the desired contact, and then click the History tab on the screen, to display the history for that contact. The History tab allows for the selection of the columns displayed and the sizing of the columns. This process is very similar to the process used with the Contact List and needs to be done before printing the report. The History tab does allow for filtering what needs to be set up.

How to do it...

  1. In the History filter bar, set Dates to All Dates.
  2. Click the dropdown for Types and check Histories and E-mails.
  3. Click on Select users.
  4. In the Select users dialog, click on the radio button for All users.

    Sage ACT! 2011: Creating a Quick Report

  5. Click the OK button to save the selection.
  6. Click the File menu and select Quick Print Selected.

    Sage ACT! 2011: Creating a Quick Report

  7. In the Quick Print Options dialog click the radio button for Landscape for the Print orientation.
  8. For Print sizing click the radio button for Actual size.
  9. Check Same font in my list view for the Other options.
  10. Click the OK button to open the Print dialog.
  11. Select print options applicable for your printer and click the OK button to print the report.

How it works...

The main difference here from the Contact List Quick Report is the filtering that's available in the tab view. This filtering applies to the specific tab but does stay the same when you move to another contact. The other difference is that it's important to choose Quick Print Selected. The Quick Print Current window would include the upper part of the screen and would only include the history actually visible on the screen.

There's more...

There's a bit of a trick to make sure you get what you want in the report. The steps in this task ensure you will print all the history you have filtered for, even if it extends beyond the bottom of the screen. If you select any of the history records and run the report for selected, only the highlighted histories will print. By going through the filters and then running Quick Print Selected, all of the histories will print.

Printing the Contact Detail View Quick Report

The previous Quick Reports were all list view reports. The ACT! program has the ability to do a Quick Report of a detail screen, in effect doing a print screen. In this task, we will do a Contact Detail View Quick Report.

Getting ready

The main reason to do a Quick Report of the Contact Detail View is to print out a hard copy of the main information related to a single contact. Before running the Quick Report you need to do a lookup so that the contact whose information you want to print is the current contact. The main contact information is in the upper part of the screen but you will need to select a tab for the bottom part of the detail views.

How to do it...

  1. Click on the Personal Info tab to display the home address and other information on the bottom part of the screen.
  2. Click the File menu and select the Quick Print Current Window.
  3. For Print orientation in the Quick Print Options dialog, click the radio button for Landscape.
  4. For Print sizing, click on the radio button for Fit to page (Shrink or grow).

    Sage ACT! 2011: Creating a Quick Report

  5. Click the OK button to open the print dialog.
  6. Select print options applicable for your printer and click the OK button to print the report.

How it works...

For the Detail View Quick Reports, the ACT! window in the computer screen buffer is captured without the navigation bar at the left of the screen and the toolbars and menus at the top of the screen. When doing a Detail View Quick Report, it's a good idea to choose the Fit to page option to avoid multiple pages printing. Also the font option is missing from the Quick Print Options dialog because this report isn't text based as the list view Quick Reports are.

Exporting the Opportunities List View to Excel

While not actually a Quick Report, many of the list views in the ACT! program can be directly exported to Excel. Once in Excel, some list views such as the Opportunity List View can be further formatted for presentation. This task will go through the steps to export the Opportunity List View to Excel.

Getting ready

There isn't any preparation required for the export to Excel other than having an ACT! database open.

How to do it...

  1. From anywhere in the ACT! program, click on Opportunities in the navigation bar on the left-hand side of the screen.
  2. In the filter bar at the top of the opportunity list view, use the Dates dropdown to select Past.
  3. Use the Status dropdown and check only Open.
  4. Use the Process dropdown to select CHT1 Sales.
  5. Use the Stage dropdown and uncheck all stages except Commitment to Buy.
  6. Click on the Probability radio button for All.
  7. Click on the Total radio button for All.
  8. Click on the Select Users button.
  9. Click on the radio button for All users in the Select Users dialog.
  10. Click on the OK button to save the setting and close the dialog.

  11. Click on the Export Current List to Excel icon on the tool bar.

    Sage ACT! 2011: Creating a Quick Report

  12. View the exported list in Excel.

How it works...

The filters are the ones you would use to narrow down the data you wanted to analyze. The export to Excel feature is built into the ACT! program and isn't limited to Opportunities. Most list views can be exported as shown here.

Important Note: All currency columns are automatically totaled as part of the export.

Summary

In this article weent through the different types for quick reports and configuring the various options for the quick reports.


Further resources on this subject:


Sage ACT! 2011 Dashboard and Report Cookbook Over 65 simple and incredibly effective recipes for creating and customizing exciting dashboards and reports from your Sage ACT! data using this book and eBook
Published: February 2011
eBook Price: $23.99
Book Price: $39.99
See more
Select your format and quantity:

About the Author :


Karen Fredricks

Karen Fredricks began her life rather non-technically growing up in Kenya. She likes to say that she developed her sense of humor while dodging bombs in Beirut where she attended high school. She graduated from the University of Florida and holds degrees in English, Theatre and Accounting. She settled in Boca Raton where she includes tennis, trips to the gym and cheering for the Gators in her busy schedule.

A true CRM expert, Karen is the author of over ten For Dummies books, including titles on ACT!, SugarCRM, Outlook, Business Contact Manager, Office Live and Marketing with Microsoft Office 2007. This is her sixth book devoted to ACT!.

Karen’s firm, Tech Benders, customizes popular contact management and CRM software to help businesses grow by being more productive, efficient, and profitable. Karen believes in working smarter in order to have the time to enjoy life and tries to install that philosophy in her clients.

Roy Laudenslager

Roy has spent his entire career working on computers.  He likes to say he barely missed the vacuum tube computers. He's repaired them, written numerous training manuals about them and spent many years troubleshooting them.  He began working for Symantec when they combined all their technical support in a new site in Eugene, Oregon. When they acquired the ACT! program, he was one of the first ACT! support agents.  He was already familiar with the ACT! program having used the DOS version at another company.He spent the next 10 years supporting the ACT! program for Symantec, then InterACT Commerce Corporation and finally for Sage Software. By the time he left, he was the lead support agent for ACT ”escalations”. Escalations are the problems that the regular support agents are unable to solve; his job was to solve the “unsolvable.” He also trained new support staff on database field modifications, reports, and synchronization. His expertise in the area of synchronization lead to the Knowledge Base document that he wrote for setting up synchronization, making it possible to synchronize ACT! 3 through 6 reliably. After 10-years in ACT! technical support, he wanted to become an ACT Consultant so he left Sage and joined Karen Fredricks as part of Tech Benders to allows him to do what he loved to do:  work with ACT! users! 

Roy has worked with the ACT reports since ACT! for Windows 2.0 and is known around Sage as the ACT report writer guru. He wrote the 12 new reports that first appeared in ACT 2010/12.

In the early part of his career, Roy spent several years working as a technical writer and authored many training and reference manuals.

While working in technical supports for Symantec and later Sage, he contributed one or more articles monthly to the Easy ACT! newsletter. This body of work took place over a 7-year period and represented over 100 articles.

Most recently he was the Technical Editor for the Dummies books on ACT! versions 7-11.

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