The reporting engine of Microsoft Access is very powerful and has a wealth of features. Many types of reports are available in Access 2003:
Reports containing graphics and charts
Reports containing forms
Reports containing labels
Reports including any combination of the preceding
A Detail report supplies an entry for each record included in the report. As you can see in Figure 12.1, there's an entry for each order in the Orders table during the specified period (1998 through 2000). The report's detail is grouped by country and within country by salesperson and gives subtotals by salesperson and country. The bottom of the report has grand totals for all records included in the report. The report is based on a Parameter query that limits the data displayed on the report based on criteria supplied by the user at runtime.
A Summary report provides summary data for all the records included in the report. In Figure 12.2, only total sales by quarter and year are displayed in the report. The underlying detail records that comprise the summary data aren't displayed in the report. The report is based on a query that summarizes the net sales by OrderID. The report itself contains no controls in its Detail section. All controls are placed in report group headers and footers that are grouped on the quarter and year of the ship date. Because no controls are found in the report's Detail section, Access prints summary information only.
Although the statement "A picture paints a thousand words" is a cliché, it's also quite true: Research has proved that a person retains data much better when it's displayed as pictures rather than numbers. Fortunately, Access makes including graphics and charts in reports quite easy. As shown in Figure 12.3, you can design a report to combine both numbers and charts. The report in Figure 12.3 shows the sales by product, both as numbers and as a bar chart. The main report is grouped by product category and contains a subreport based on a query that summarizes sales by CategoryID, CategoryName, and ProductName for a specific date range. The chart totals product sales by product name, displaying the information graphically. You can include photographs, clip art, hand-drawn graphics, charts, and more within the reports you create.
Users often need reports that look like printed forms. The Access Report Builder, with its many graphical tools, allows you to quickly produce reports that emulate the most elegant data-entry forms. For example, the report shown in Figure 12.4 produces an invoice for a customer. This report is based on a query that draws information from the Customers, Orders, Order Details, Products, Employees, and Shippers tables. The report's Filter property (covered in Hour 2) is filled in, limiting the data that appears on the report to the last six records in the Orders table. Using graphics, color, fonts, shading, and other special effects gives the report a professional look.
Creating labels such as mailing labels in Access 2003 is easy when you use the Label Wizard. Labels are simply a special type of report with a page setup that indicates the number of labels across the page and the size of each label. An example of a mailing label report created by using the Label Wizard is shown in Figure 12.5. This report is based on the Customers table but could just as easily be based on a query that limits what mailing labels are produced.