How to Use Report Desk – Admin Perspective

Release Date: 12/12/2018
Version: 8.6

Report Desk provides a powerful developing environment for Netcellent to deliver modern reports with rich elements of proportional spacing fonts, graphics and line draws. It allows us to output reports to PDF, CSV and XLSX formats.  In addition, Report Desk uses the PSQL relational engine to access the Elliott database. 

Many reports in Report Desk are user-definable. This means, as an end user, you can modify Elliott’s user-definable report layouts by adding or removing columns, changing report sorting sequence, and choosing different filtering criteria to print the report.  

Enable Report Desk
By default, Report Desk is not enabled in Elliott V8.6.  To enable it, you will go to Global Setup -> System -> Comp. Specialized Control and answer “Y” to “Use Report Desk” flag. 

Report Desk will only work with the PSQL relational engine. Your database index must be converted to be relational compatible. Keep in mind that Report Desk can work with both Elliott V8.2 and V8.5 database formats. 

With Elliott V8.6, use <ElliottRoot>\bin85\DDF2BTR.EXE to convert.

Please go to for more information on how to use this utility.  If you have previously converted your database with the DDF2BTR.EXE to make your data compatible with third party relational applications like Crystal Reports or Web Services, then there’s no need to convert it again.  If you are not sure if you have previously done so, call Netcellent to confirm.

Determine Which Users Can Use Report Desk
The following flag is new in Password Setup -> User Global Security -> Screen 7::

By default, no users will be allowed to run Report Desk reports.  You can individually allow users access to Report Desk by entering "Y" to field 1 on this screen.

Alternatively, you can go to Global Default Security, and set the default value for this option to "Y", and then all users not specifically denied access here will be able to use Report Desk.  Keep in mind that access to a Report Desk report requires access to the menu item from which the report gets launched.

Make Limited Number of Report Desk Reports Available for Users
Even though you can limit the users who can access Report Desk's reports with above security flag, you may not be ready to make all of the reports available to these users. You can limit the users' access to Report Desk's reports by changing EL850U.CFG file. See the following KB articles for more details:  

Determine Which User Can Modify Report Desk Report
The following flag is new in Password Setup -> User Global Security -> Screen 6:

Allow to Modify Report Desk’s User Def Report - The default value is N.

This flag will determine if a user can modify a Report Desk report. Initially, you may only want to give your admin user this ability.  Once you are more familiar with the functionality of Report Desk, you can decide who should have this flag turned on.

Match Your Database Version with The Right Database Name (DSN)
By default, Report Desk uses databases like ELI86DATA??, where ?? is the Elliott company number. These databases are created for you automatically during the installation of Elliott V8.6. ELI86DATA?? is based on the V8.5 DDFs, which have the document number defined as a string.  If your database is still in Elliott V8.2 format, then you should use database ELIDATA?? instead. You can make this change with the Config button on the toolbar if you login as an Elliott  SUPERVISOR. 

Or you can browse and execute <ElliottRoot>\Bin85\EL850CF.EXE if you login as a Windows admin user. 

Once in the configuration application, select the Databases tab.

The databases names that are red need to be added to the PSQL Control Center. The databases names that are black currently exist. Clicking the Create Databases button will create the databases as shown.

If your database has not been converted to the V8.5 format, you can change it to the V8.2 naming convention. Click on the database name and pick the V8.2 name format from the list.

In the example above you would select ELIDATA13 instead of ELI85DATA13. Once selected, the format will change to V8.2.

Creating the Matching Database Name (DSN)
Next, click on Create Databases to start the Elliott Database Creation program. Keep in mind that you must do this on the PSQL server and login as a Windows admin user.  Alternatively, you can also navigate to execute the following programs <ElliottRoot>\Bin85\EL850DB.EXE.  

If you are still using Elliott V8.2 database format, click on the option Create 8.2 Databases.

A list of database names that have not been created using the standard Elliott V8.2 naming convention are displayed in the left panel. A list of database names that have already been created is displayed in the right panel.

Choose Check All to check all of database names. Choose Uncheck All to uncheck all of the database names.

Once you have selected the databases to be created, click on Create Database(s). This will create the checked databases. The database names will be removed from the left panel and shown in the right panel.

Once all of the databases have been created for the correct version, choose Exit to return to the Elliott V8.6 Configuration utility. Click Finish to complete the changes.

Modifying Reports

Once a user has been given rights to modify Elliott Report Desk User Design Reports (UDR), they will have access to two additional buttons on the report parameter screens.

SQL: This button will display a screen with the SQL statement that will be used to retrieve data for the report.

Users can temporarily modify the SQL statement and test it with the Test SQL button.

The Test SQL button will test the SQL statement shown. A window with result information will be shown after the statement is executed.

The Copy to Clipboard button will copy the SQL statement to the clipboard for use outside of Elliott. 

The Exit button will exit the screen.

Modify: This button will take the user to the User Defined Report Designer screen.

There are two pieces of information that are required to create a UDR:

1.       A template. The template defines the primary table(s) for the report, the basic SELECT statement for the report and, optionally, any predefined SQL formulas that can be used. The primary purpose of the template is to define the joint relation of multiple tables which is critical for the performance. For this reason, only Netcellent or your developer can define a new template. A template can be used by multiple reports that can share the same basic SELECT statement. A template can have more than one variation -- joining different tables, for example. A template consists of a name and a sequence number, like APVENLST.1 or APVENLST.2.

2.       A report definition. The report definition defines the parameter input criteria for the report, the columns in the report and, if allowed by its template, an ORDER BY clause for the report. A report consists of a template name, template sequence number and a report sequence number, like APVENLST.1.1.0 or APVENLST.2.1.0.

From the User Defined Report Designer screen, users can create their own version of the report with the information that is most important to them.

Title: This is the title shown on the report when it is rendered.

Where: The columns specified in this section are used to generate the criteria on the report parameter screen. They are also used to generate the where statement used to retrieve the data.

  • To add a Column, drag a table column from the Available Columns TreeView below.
  • To delete a Column, right click on the row and select Delete Row.
  • Rearrange the order of the Columns by dragging within the grid. Note that the order of these WHERE clauses can affect performance.
  • To change the Operator, click on the value and use the drop down to select an operator. This is a list of SQL-supported operators for WHERE clauses.
  • To change the Prompt, click on the value and type a new value.
  • To change the Type, click on the value and use the drop down to select a new value. In addition to String, Date and Number, there are some special types, like CUS_NO. These special types provide additional functionality, like right-justify and zero fill if numeric. 

Order By: This is the sort order for the report. If no order by is specified, the report will print in order of the primary key.

  • Add a Column by dragging a table column from the Available Columns TreeView below.
  • Delete a Column by right-clicking on the row and selecting Delete Row.
  • Rearrange the order of the Columns by dragging within the grid.
  • Change the ORDER BY Sequence (ASC or DESC) by using the drop down list.

Available Columns: The Available Columns TreeView is populated by all the tables specified in the SELECT statement of the template along with [Date], [System] and [Formula] nodes. Expand a node to see what columns are available. You can drag an entry from Available Columns to the Report Columns and change the column heading. You can also drag an entry to the Where grid (for specifying report input parameter criteria).

Report Columns: Columns shown on the report when it is rendered.

Add a Column by dragging a table, date, system or formula column from the Available Columns TreeView on the left.
Delete a Column by right-clicking on the row and selecting Delete Row.
Rearrange the order of the Columns by dragging within the grid.
The Column Heading will default to the most popular heading for the column. You can use the drop down list to select a different one, or enter an entirely new one. The headings in the list appear in the order of most-to-least popular from top to bottom. Each time someone saves a design, the changed column values will be added to the list of popular headings and the popularity usage increased.
Length defaults to the database width when a column is first dragged to the grid. You may change the length depending on how much room you want the column to take on the report.
The Format value should be left blank for strings. You also may choose one of the following for other types:
  • Date-6, -8: for 6- or 8-digit dates (Date-6 is the default)
  • C: for default currency format; negative numbers in parentheses
  • C0 to C6: for currency with the specified number of decimals
  • N: for a number with comma separators and the default number of decimals
  • N0 to N6: for a number with comma separators and the specified decimals
  • D: for a decimal (whole number) without comma separators
  • D1 to D9: for a decimal with the specified number of digits, zero filled if necessary
  • The Align value determines the placement of the field in the column on the report.
    Template: The template button with display the Template for User Defined Report screen:

    No information can be changed on this screen. This is for display purposes only.

    Show SQL: This button will show the SQL statement that is used to retrieve the data including the where clause created by the fields included in the where grid.

    Test: This option will allow the user to test the report changes without saving the design.

    Save: This option will save the report design. After the design is saved, the revision number on the report will change. For example, if you change the design for ARSHPLST.B.1.2.0, it will be saved as ARSHPLST.B.1.2.1. Zero revisions are the standard report definition provided by Netcellent or your developer when Elliott is installed or updated. Numbered revisions represent custom versions created by users. 

    After exiting the screen, the new custom report definition will be available.

    Save New:  This option will save the report design but will increment the revision number.  For example, if you change the design for ARSHPLST.B.1.2.2, it will be saved as ARSHPLST.B.1.2.3.

    Delete: This option deletes user defined reports. Base reports provided by Netcellent cannot be deleted.

    Exit: Choose this option to exit the User Defined Report Designer screen.

    Additional Information on Report Desk ID:
    For each UDR report , it has a unique ID with following format: NAME.X.1.2.3 where:

    • NAME is the name of your UDR report, in this case ARTRMLST.
    • X can have the value of B (Base) or E (Enhancement). Base means this report was originally created by Netcellent, and Enhancement means this report was created by your developer.
    • 1 - the first numeric digit represents the template ID. A template usually represents a unique way of joining the tables. As an end user, you can't create your own template because the joining must be done by Netcellent or your developer to ensure best database performance.
    • 2 - the second numeric digit represents the different types of report options derived from the same template. This can be different sorting sequence, different input selection options, or different columns to be included on the report.
    • 3 - the third digit is the variance of each type of report. The value zero means this is the original report developed by Netcellent or your developers. Other values (greater than zero) are revisions of the report made by you. You can, for example, change to different sorting, selection and columns options and save your own version of the report.   Netcellent or your developer may change the reports that end with zero in the future, but your derived reports that do not end with the zero will never be overridden. 


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