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Version: 2024


Introduction to reports

Reports have a similar structure as tasks, but instead of starting a task, a report is printed, previewed, or exported. The reports can be created with a reporting tool, such as DevExpress Reports, Crystal Reports, i-net Clear Reports, SQL Server Reporting Services (SSRS), or Word.

Reports screen

The structure of reports is analogous to that of tasks. Parameters are defined for a report, and look-up functionality is provided through references.

Example report pop-up

This screen contains a task that takes you to the Code overview for the selected report. See Go to a related screen for an object.

Creating a report

menu Processes > Reports > tab Settings

The basic data for a report can be entered in the settings, such as the Report type. The following types are supported by the Software Factory:

DevExpress Reports (preferred)

DevExpress Reports can display any styled and formatted text, such as RTF and HTML, from your end product. The Thinkwise DevExpress Report Designer is free of charge and can be downloaded from TCP.

When generating DevExpress reports on Linux, there are some additional requirements and restrictions. See: DevExpress reports on Linux.


Because reports are stored in the database, you cannot use sub-reports as separate files. For a solution, see Create a Master-Detail Report with a Detail Report Band.

To enable logging for DevExpress reports, use the following extended properties:

  • WriteLogToFile - To enable logging for DevExpress. The log file is in folder {Application}/Logs/.
  • LogSeverity - Determines the log level, Error, Warning, or Info. Info is the most detailed level.

Crystal Reports

A report in Crystal Reports can make use of views, but SQL queries can also be specified in the report. CR reports can be developed with the Crystal Reports Designer or with Visual Studio.


Crystal Reports is not supported by PaaS cloud deployments (such as Azure Web Apps) and modern technologies like .NET Core. Instead, you can use DevExpress Reports for best support and compatibility.

Windows command

The same as for tasks but with the name of the parameter in the File specification field. For example, to link in an existing pdf as a report.

General settings when creating a report

GUI code

This option allows custom tasks, such as the TSFReportMailer, to be linked in as a report. The name of the custom task should be entered in the File specification field.

Microsoft Word

To generate reports in Word, a macro and a template have to be created in Word. Word does not work in web and is not always reliable because of the macros.

Create a template

  • Open Microsoft Word

  • Go to the Mailing Lists tab

  • Click Select Addresses

  • Click Use existing list

  • Click New source

  • Select Microsoft SQL Server and click Next

  • Enter the server name and logon credentials and click Next

  • Select the correct database

  • Select the correct table and click Next

  • Save the file anywhere on your system and click Finish

  • Set up the document with the desired merge fields

  • Click the Start Mail Merge button

  • Click Normal Word Document

Create a macro

  • Go to the View tab

  • Click Macros

  • Select your document under View Macros

  • Type the text field under macro name TSFReport_+ your report_id

  • Select the correct document the Macro has to be linked to:

Available options of macros in a drop down list

  • Click on the Create button

    • The Visual Basic editor will open.
  • Copy and paste the macro code as displayed on the next page to the Visual Basic editor.

  • Modify the macro with respect to the following points

    • strFolder

    • strQuery

  • Close the Visual Basic editor by pressing the X button.

  • Save the Word document to your system, choose a file type: Word Macro-Enabled Template (.dotm).

  • Place the file in the designated folder on the server.

  • Create the report in the Software Factory.

Macro code:

Dim strODCFile As String
Dim strConnection As String
Dim strQuery As String
' Use your folder name...
strFolder = C:\\your_folder\\Reports\\
' Use your .odc name...
strODCFile = strFolder & thinkwise.odc
' Build the connection string
' You may well need more here, but I am following
' your ADO connection string
strConnection = Environ(TSFTOWORD_CONN)
' Build the Query string
strQuery = SELECT \ FROM your_table where + Environ(TSFTOWORD_SQL)
' Open the data source
With ActiveDocument.MailMerge
'.MainDocumentType = wdNotAMergeDocument
.MainDocumentType = wdFormLetters
.OpenDataSource _
Name:=strODCFile, _
Connection:=strConnection, _
End With
ActiveWindow.Visible = False
Application.Quit (False)


SSRS stands for SQL Server Reporting Services. It is a (server-based) report generation system from Microsoft SQL Server. Reports drawn up with this system can present information from tables from one or more databases in an orderly fashion.


Because reports are stored in the database, you cannot use sub-reports as separate files. For a possible solution, see Add a Details Group (Report Builder and SSRS).

Reports are described in the Report Definition Language (RDL). This is a file format that is built up in XML. RDL reports can be made with the SQL Server Report Builder application.

There are two ways to deploy the RDL files:

  • Locally on the client computer.

  • Server-side on a server with SQL Server Reporting Services installed.

Depending on the environment in which the reports are generated, these can be exported in various formats.

SSRS (Local)

Local reports work in the same way as other report types, such as Crystal Reports. The report is generated on the basis of the RDL file that is specified for the report in the file specification field, for which use is made of the end application database connection. This means that the connection string that is specified as Datasource for any Data Sets is ignored in the RDL file.

Specify SSRS (local) file specification

SSRS (Server)

In this variant, the reports are generated on a report server. The relative path to the report on the server must be specified in the file specification field. The location of the report server has to be passed on to the GUI via the INI parameter ssrsreportserver.

The report server can run in native mode or SharePoint. Native mode is the default for this. These default models have been tested by Thinkwise (though those for SharePoint have not yet been tested) in the current release. For now, it is therefore expected that the report server be in native mode.

Reports that are generated on a report server use the connection string that is assigned for each Datasource to retrieve the Data Set. Ensure that the reports that are used in a test environment have the correct connection string when this is rolled out to the live environment.

Specify SSRS (Server) file specification

Oracle and DB2

Reports made with SSRS can also retrieve data from Oracle and DB2 databases, provided that the correct software is available for this on the system on which the report is generated.

For Oracle connections, the Oracle Client needs to be present on the system.


When using the Oracle Client together with the Microsoft SQL Server Report Builder, it is necessary to have the 32 bit version of the Oracle Client installed. The 64 bit version will unfortunately not work because the report Builder itself is a 32 bit application. Use can be made of the 64 bit Oracle Client for end applications.

Connections to DB2 databases are created in SSRS via OLE DB. The ADO.NET bindings, which can be installed via the IBM Client Access, are required for this.

Report Builder

The Microsoft SQL Server Report Builder software to develop reports can be downloaded from this page:

A report consists of the following basic components:

Built-in FieldsA number of pre-defined calculated fields, such as the current page number or the user that has called the report.
ParametersParameters within the report that can be used when retrieving a Data Set or the calculation of an expression.
Depending on the type of connection that is used, this is generated by the Report Builder or has to be added manually.
ImagesIllustrations that can be used within the report.
Data sourcesA Data source describes a connection to a database. A connection string can even be typed in or one can be built via a dialogue. Furthermore, for example, a login method can be selected to be used when setting up the connection.
Data SetsA Data Set contains the resulting set of a query or stored procedure on a Data source.
These can be used, for instance, to fill tables and graphs within the report.
When using a stored procedure, parameters are automatically added to the report for both SQL Server and Oracle and DB2 connections.
For a query within the Data Set itself, a parameter name with the correct prefix ("@"/":") can be indicated with SQL Server and Oracle connections. During the testing of the query, the Report Builder will automatically add these parameters to the report.
With DB2, use is made of an OLE DB connection. Therefore, the user has to mark parameters in the query with a question mark. This then has to be assigned to a parameter within the report on the Parameters screen of the Data Set.

Report settings

menu Processes > Reports > tab Settings

You can choose from the following settings for the Windows GUI. The Web GUI only supports the Action and Compress properties.

ActionThe default action for the report, e.g., print preview or export to PDF. The default value for this parameter is the value as specified in the model. An overview of possible values is available Report actions.Integer
File specificationThe report file to use. Set this value to open a different or user specified report.String
Printer nameThe printer name to use.String
Paper tray nameThe paper tray name to use.String
Number of copiesThe number of copies to be printed.Integer
Export locationThe location where the exported file is saved.String
CompressIndicates whether the exported file has to be compressed or not.Boolean
Open after exportIndicates whether the file has to be opened after export.Boolean

Example of report parameters

Report parameters

After creating a report, you can add parameters that define the input values. Parameters are in a specific sequence and linked to a domain for the data type and the control.

menu Processes > Reports > tab Report parameters

  1. Enter the model settings:

  2. Format the report parameters. The following fields are available:

    • Column type
    • Sequence no
    • Label width (px)
    • Field width (px)
    • Field height in positions
    • Field no of positions further
    • Field in next group
    • Field in next column
    • Field on next tab

menu Processes > Reports > tab Report parameters

An additional feature for reports is to link parameters to properties of the report (for instance the Action, File specification or Printer). By linking a report parameter to a report property, these properties can be used in defaults and layouts and also be placed on the right location in the correct group.

Linking a parameter to a report property

If a report does not have any property parameters, then all properties will be displayed at the top of the parameter dialog. For each property parameter modeled in the sf, the default parameter at the top is removed and the parameter is added as a normal parameter in the form. This way it can be manipulated with a default and/or layout procedure, but also a default value can be set for the parameter.

Default value for a report parameter

menu Processes > Reports > tab Default/Variants > tab Report parameters

In the field Default value type, you can select a Constant value or an Expression:

  • Default constant value - A fixed value that is filled when adding a record. With a change, this value is not filled.
  • Query - The expression used to determine the default value. The query cannot use values from the other report parameters.

For the following functions, the Software Factory will not generate a function but instead use the given Query as the default value. To use these functions as a default value query, you should specify them without select.

  • newid()
  • getdate()
  • getutcdate()
  • sysdatetime()
  • dbo.tsf_user()
  • dbo.tsf_original_login()

Report actions

menu Processes > Reports > tab Settings

The table below lists the available actions and their corresponding value. Note that not all actions are available for all report types. More information on the different export formats for Crystal Reports can be found here.

Print preview1
Export to PDF3
Export to RTF4
Export to XML5
Export to CSV6
Export to Excel12
Export to Word13
Export to TIFF14
Export to HTML15
Export to PNG16
Export to Excel - data only9
Export to Excel 20037
Export to Excel 2003 - data only8
Export to Word 200310
Export to Word 2003 - editable RTF11

Report look-ups

menu Processes > Reports > tab Report look-ups

A report reference defines the look-up table of a particular parameter.

The underlying column comparison (Report reference columns) is created automatically.

Copy a report

To make a copy of a report:

menu Processes > Reports > tab Settings

  1. Execute the Copy report copy task.

  2. Enter a name for the copy in the field To report.

  3. Select what you want to include in the copy:

    • Table reports - Include the links to one or more tables. See Table reports.
    • Functionality assignments - Include the functionality assignments. If you deselect this option, the copied report will not be assigned to any control procedure. Use this to create a bare object (the copied report). Then, create a new control procedure, and assign the copied report to it.

copy report Copy a report

Conditional layout

menu Processes > Reports > tab Conditional layout

Just as with columns, you can give report parameters a background color or a different font. You can use this to draw the user's attention to a specific report parameter. Since a report does not have a grid, this will only be applied to form parameters.

More information on conditional layouts can be found here.

Table reports

You can link a report to one or more tables. The report displays in the context menu for these tables.

menu Processes > Reports > tab Table reports > tab Form > tab Table report

  1. Add the Table and Report.
  2. To enable the table report when no records are present on the screen, select the checkbox Enable for empty subject.

The default for field Enable for empty subject is set in the menu Models > Model overview > tab Branches > tab Form.

  1. You can change the Display type to allow customization of how the report is presented.

    • Universal GUI - If there is enough space, the presentation will be according to the selected type. If not, the report will be shown in the overflow menu.

For example, Icon + text (> text > icon) means that the report is displayed as an icon with text. On a smaller screen with less space, it is displayed as text (the first fallback, > text). With even less space, it is displayed only as an icon (the second fallback, > icon). The overflow menu is always the last fallback type, except for the display type Hidden.

  • Windows GUI Web GUI - The following options are available:

    • Hidden - The report is not shown but can be started with a keyboard shortcut, a double-click task, or a process flow.
    • Overflow - The report is not shown in the button bar but is shown in the ribbon menu and context menu.
    • In all other cases, the report is shown in the button bar, the ribbon menu, and the context menu. On a smaller screen with less space, it is moved to the overflow menu.
  1. To control the performance, you can configure the Refresh behavior after specific actions:

    • None - the user interface will not refresh any data.
    • Row - the user interface will only refresh the current row.
    • Subject - the user interface will refresh the current subject, including lookups and details.
    • Document - the user interface will refresh the main subject, including all lookups and details.
  2. To change the subject's report order, you can change the Sequence no.

  3. After linking a report to a table, connect the table columns to report parameters on the tab Table report parameters. The active record's field value is passed on to the parameter as a default value.

Grouping reports

Reports within a table can be grouped together to display them logically. Both the groups and the reports within a group can be sorted sequentially. This works in the same way as grouping tasks.

Add a report to a menu

menu Processes > Reports > tab Menu

A report can be included in several menus. If a report is linked to a table, it appears in the ribbon and the context menu of this table. A report can also be included in the quick launch bar, a tree view or a tiles menu. In this way, you can print the report directly without having to open a window first.

Create a report variant

menu Processes > Reports > tab Variants

Using report variants, it is possible to design alternative user interface views of a report. A report variant can, for example, have a different icon and translation, default values and conditional layouts than the default. For more information on variants, see variants.

Printing a report

When the report is fully defined within the Software Factory, a preview can be viewed on the screen in the user interface.

In the Universal GUI, by default the report preview will open in a new browser tab.

Example of a report preview

Report shortcut

Optionally, you can select a keyboard shortcut which can be used to execute the report. Make sure that the screen does not contain multiple reports using the same shortcut. Also do not use a shortcut that is already used by the GUI, such as Ctrl + R. For more information, see Shortcuts (used by GUI's). Validations are in place to prevent you from selecting such shortcuts.

Await result

menu Processes > Reports > tab Settings

Reports can take a while to process. There are four options to give instructions about what to do with these reports.

  1. Yes - The user has to wait for the result and a progress indicator is shown.
  2. Yes (no progress indicator) - The user has to wait for the result (the GUI freezes and hourglass is shown).
  3. No - The action is executed in the background and the user can continue working.
  4. Optional - The user has to wait (option 1) but has the possibility to continue the action in the background (option 3).

The display parameter can be used to distinguish between multiple instances of a report in the async action dialog.

Load balancing reports


Indicium uses a plugin system for certain report types to spawn multiple workers. This can increase the request throughput at the cost of more RAM resources. For users, this means it reduces the time they have to wait for their report when the initial request to a plugin process is made.

The report types that this can be configured for are:

  • CrystalReports
  • DevExpress
  • SSRS:Local
  • SSRS:Server.

The use of this plugin can be enabled and configured in Indicium. Add the following settings to Indicium's appsettings.json configuration file:

Reporting:<ReportType>:**Enabled**The default is 'true'.
Set to 'false' to skip loading the dependency entirely.
Reporting:<ReportType>:**WorkerCount**The default is 1.
This setting controls how many plugin processes are spawned for that report type.
Reporting:<ReportType>:**Preload**The default for this setting is 'false' (wait until the first request for a report type is made before starting the process).
Set to 'true' to make Indicium spawn and warm up the plugin processes by exporting a dummy report during startup.
Note: the preload does not hit data sources contained in the report. So even with preload enabled, there are still some assemblies that may be loaded at the initial request.

Example configurations:

"Reporting": {
"CrystalReports": {
// Start and preload a single plugin worker process for Crystal Reports.
"Preload": true
"DevExpress": {
// Start and preload 3 plugin worker processes for DevExpress reports.
"Preload": true,
"WorkerCount": 3
"SSRS": {
// Disable SSRS local and server report types.
"Local": {
"Enabled": false
"Server": {
"Enabled": false

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