3 Replies Latest reply on Aug 15, 2013 9:17 AM by philmodjunk

    Looking for best Report Option: Help With Sub-Summaries

    James_L

      Title

      Looking for best Report Option: Help With Sub-Summaries

      Post

           My parent table is called "Abstracts."   It links through a join table to multiple records called "COB Records." 

           In a report of Abstract Table (which includes several other child tables that are playing nicely), I'm running into this problem:

           Sometimes a calculated field in the COB child table called "signatories" is absolutely huge.  One record contains twenty records, another just one.

           If I present the child records from COB as a portal, I cannot resize the containers.   I've mastered using portals with large numbers of records and shrinking the portals themselves, but the "signatories" field must be huge to accomodate the bigger lists, resulting in lots of white space for the smaller lists. 

           If I were to use a sub-summary, I should be able to shrink the field to size, right?  If so, that would solve my problem.  But using a sub-summary report is creating huge headaches as well.  I get unexpected results, such as a single record returned or records that are not related to the Abstract parent table record I want to report on.  I feel like an idiot, but even using the wizard doesn't present the data as I need to present it: theoretically I should be able to sort by "Abstract" record, and see a nice list of "COB" records below it, but that's definitely not happening.

           Any help on the best method here would be appreciated. 

        • 1. Re: Looking for best Report Option: Help With Sub-Summaries
          philmodjunk

               Sub Summaries for your records from COB would only work for a layout based on the COB table. This may be a workable option, but doesn't appear to be what you have set up here. Whether that works or not depends on your relationships and whether any of your other portals also need to resize fields within the portal row.

          • 2. Re: Looking for best Report Option: Help With Sub-Summaries
            James_L

                 Still not sure if I can resize that field and its containing areas: that doesn't seem to be working very well: still lots of white space.   That's my most urgent problem.

                 Thanks for the reply, Phil:

                 Just figured out the limitation of it needing to be based on the COB table.... and you're right, that's not really what I want to do here.  That's a little disappointing, as I have related data from other tables I need in this report, and this will screw that up considerably.

                 As of now, I might have to base the report on the COB table and not the Abstract table, which truly is a headache.  I can probably do a cheat or two to make it work; I can script around it to build pdf's with different report-layouts as different pages.  Not elegant: I really needed this to be one presentation.  

                 What would be helpful in future versions is: 

                 (1)  Improving the ability of fields to shrink or expand in a report based on the amount of data in the fields, including in portals; presumably this means thinking in terms of the data-size being part of the layout, not merely in terms of the container-size.

                 and 

                 (2) Improving the intelligence of reports so that child tables can be more easily manipulated into parent table reports.  I have a hard time seeing why that's not part of the build: it seems like Filemaker Pro really wants users to concentrate on one presentation-task per report-layout, not on a robust breakdown of multiple data-sets.

                 Disappointing.

            • 3. Re: Looking for best Report Option: Help With Sub-Summaries
              philmodjunk

                   If the field is inside a portal row, it cannot be resized. Container fields can be set to slide up and resize enclosing part like any other field if they are not in the portal row, but you have to go to the Inspector's data tab and change a default alignment setting for vertical alignment from center to top alignment or they won't slide up.

                   

                        Just figured out the limitation of it needing to be based on the COB table.... and you're right, that's not really what I want to do here.  That's a little disappointing, as I have related data from other tables I need in this report, and this will screw that up considerably.

                   Actually, depending on your relationships, this can be made to work quite well. If you have a setup such as this:

                   [OtherTables]>----abstracts-----<COB

                   Then you can base the layout on COB, put data from abstracts into sub summary layout parts or the header or summary parts and still use portals for the other tables. But this assumes that you don't need to slide fields inside the portal rows for any of those portals to other tables.

                   As far as suggsting future changes, you are welcome to post those requests: http://www.filemaker.com/company/contact/feature_request.html