Run and Print Reports

A report gathers information based on a specified set of criteria. It organises and presents the information in an easy-to-read format that you can print or save as a file. There are many reports that you can access throughout the application. The reports typically provide information related to the context of the page you're on. For example, the Customer page includes reports for the top 10 customers, sales statistics, and more.

Batch jobs and XMLports do more or less the same as reports, but are used more for processing or exporting data. For example, the Create Reminders batch job creates reminder documents for customers with overdue payments.

Note

This topic refers mainly to "report", but similar information applies to batch jobs and XMLports.

Get started

You find reports in the Reports tab on selected pages, or you can use search Lightbulb that opens the Tell Me feature. to find reports by name.

When you open a report, batch job, or XMLport, you're typically presented with a request page where you set various options and filters that determine what to include in the report. The following sections explain how to use the request page to build, preview, and print a report.

Using default values - predefined settings

Most request pages include the Use default values from field. This field lets you select predefined settings for the report, which automatically set options and filters for the report. Select an entry from the drop-down list, and you'll see the options and filters on the request page change accordingly.

The entry called Last used options and filters is always available. This entry sets the report to use options and filters that were used the last time you ran the report.

The Use default values from field provides a fast and reliable way to consistently generate reports that contain the correct data. After you select an entry, you can change any of the options and filters before previewing or printing the report. The changes that you make won't be saved to the predefined settings entry you selected, but they'll be saved to the Last used options and filters entry.

Note

The predefined settings are typically set up and managed by an administrator. If you want to learn more, see Manage Saved Settings for Reports and Batch Jobs.

Specifying the data to include in a report

Use the fields under Options and Filters to change limit the information you want in the report. You set filters in a report in more or less the same way as you set filters on lists. For more information, see Filtering.

Caution

The Filter list by section on a request page provides a generic filtering capability for reports. These filters are optional.

Some reports will ignore any such filters, meaning that no matter what filter is set in the Filter list by section, the output of the report is the same. It's not possible to provide a list of which fields are ignored in which reports, so you will have to experiment with the filters when using them.

Example: When you use the Create Reminders batch job, a filter for the Customer Ledger Entries field of Last Issued Reminder Level will be ignored because filters are fixed for that batch job.

Previewing a report

Previewing a report lets you see what the report will look like before you print it. The preview isn't based on the printer selected in the Printer field on the request page. It's controlled by the browser. After previewing, you can then go back to the request page and make changes to options and filters as needed.

To preview a report, choose the Preview or Preview & Close button on the report request page. The button that displays depends on the report, so some reports have Preview button, while others have a Preview & Close button. Both buttons will open a preview of the report. The difference is that Preview keeps the request page open, so you can go back to it, make changes, preview again, or print. With Preview & Close, the request page closes, so you'll have to open the report again to make changes or print.

Note

If you're using Business Central 2020 release wave 1 or earlier, there's only a Preview button, which closes the request page on preview, like described for Preview & Close.

Work with the Preview

In the preview, use the menu bar on the report preview to:

  • Move through pages

  • Zoom in and out

  • Resize to fit the page

  • Select text

    You can copy text from a report, and then paste it somewhere else, like a page in Business Central or Microsoft Word. Using a mouse, for example, you press and hold where you want to start. Then move the mouse to select one or more words, sentences, or paragraphs. Press the right mouse button and select Copy. Then, paste the selected text where you want it.

  • Pan the document

    You can move the visible area of the report in any direction so you can view other areas or the report. Panning is helpful when you've zoomed in to see details. Using your mouse, for example, press and hold the mouse button anywhere in the report preview, and then move your mouse.

  • Download to a PDF file on your computer or network.

  • Print

Saving a report to a file

You can save a report to a PDF document, Microsoft Word document, Microsoft Excel worksheet, or XML document by choosing the Send to button, and then making your selection.

Tip

The Microsoft Excel Document (data only) and XML Document options are mostly for advanced purposes. You'd typically use these options for doing detailed data analysis. For more information, see Analysing Report Data with Excel and XML.

You can also use the Microsoft Excel Document (data only) to create new Excel layouts for a given report. For more information, see Work with Excel Layouts.

Scheduling a report to run later

You can schedule or batch job a report to run at a specific date and time. Scheduled reports and batch jobs are entered in the job queue and processed at the scheduled time, similar to other jobs. You choose the Schedule option after you choose the Send to button, and then you enter information such as printer, and time and date. The report is then added to the job queue and will be run at the specified time. When the report is processed, the item will be removed from the job queue. For more information, see Use Job Queues to Schedule Tasks.

When you schedule a report to run, you can specify that it must run every Thursday by setting the Next Run Date Formula field to D4, for example. For more information, see Use Date Formulas.

You can choose to save the report to a file (like Excel, Word, or PDF), print it, or only generate the report. If you choose to save the report to a file, then the processed report is sent to the Report Inbox area on your Role Centre, where you can view it.

Printing a report

To print a report, choose the Print button on the request page or on the menu bar of the Preview page.

When a report is using an Excel layout, you won't see Printer field, Print button or Preview button. Instead, there's a Download button. To print, select Download, then open the downloaded file in Excel and print from there.

Printer

The Printer field on the request page shows the name of printer that the report will be sent to. To change a printer, just select the printer from the list.

Note

(Handled by the browser) indicates there's no designated printer for the report. In this case, the browser will handle the printout and display a standard experience, where you can choose a local printer connected to your device. (Handled by the browser) isn't available in the Business Central mobile app or app for Microsoft Teams.

Tip

The printer that's selected for you by default is set up on the Printer Selections page. For information about changing the default printer, see To select which printers print which reports.

Printing reports in Thai

Specifically for the Thai version of Business Central, the Print button can't print reports correctly because of limitations in the service that generates the printable PDF file. Instead, you can open the report in Word and then save the report as a printable PDF.

Or, you can ask your administrator to create a Word report layout for your most used reports. For more information, see Managing Report and Document Layouts.

Switching the report layout

A report layout controls what is shown on a report, how it's arranged, and how it's styled. If you want to switch to a different layout, see Set the Layout Used by a Report. Or, if you want to customise your own report layout, see Get Started Creating Layouts.

Advanced options

The fields under Advanced set limitations on the generated report to control printer resources. You typically won't have to change these settings, unless you have a large report. If a report exceeds these limitations when you try to preview or print, a message appears telling you which limitation was exceeded. You can then change the settings to suit your report. Each field, however, has a maximum value that you should be aware of:

Field Maximum value
Maximum rendering time 12:00:00
Maximum rows 1000000
Maximum documents 500

Note

The maximum values may be different for Business Central on-premises, and an administrator can change them. For more information, see Configuring Business Central Server - Reports. For an overview of reports limitations Business Central online, see Operational Limits.

See also

Set Up Printers
Work with Calendar Dates and Times
Managing Report and Document Layouts
Work with Business Central