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This chapter is from the book

Determining how the report will be viewed

When designing a report, you need to consider and test the environment in which the report will be viewed because the environment affects how a report appears and prints.

You should always design for the final delivery environment. This approach includes choosing the right fonts and colors, selecting the appropriate page size, fine-tuning the size of report fields and the amount of space between them, and so on.

Consider the following questions:

  • Which is more important, viewing online or printing the report?

    Recognize that there are differences between online and printed reports; decide which is more important, and design for that output. For example, printed reports can vary in appearance depending upon the printer producing the output. If a report will primarily be viewed online, you can add interactive viewing features, such as hyperlinks or a dynamic table of contents.

  • Will the report be viewed in HTML, a PDF file, or one of the other supported file formats?

    The appearance of the report differs depending on the file format. Pagination, for example, is a key difference between HTML and page-based file formats, such as PDF and Microsoft Word document (.doc). A report in PDF format, for example, appears on multiple pages of a fixed size. An HTML report, on the other hand, can appear on multiple pages or in one scrollable page, depending on what you specify.

  • If distributing an HTML report, what browsers are you supporting?

    Different browsers can display results differently because they interpret HTML or CSS tags differently. If there are particular browsers that you must support, test the report in those browsers.

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