Best Practices

banner art

The following best practices are intended to guide you to produce reports that are easier to write, adhere to established standards, and execute with improved efficiency.

Modify an Existing Report

Check if there is an existing report in Microsoft CRM that is close to the design that you are looking for. Download and modify the existing report instead of creating a new one. Doing so will save development time and reduce report writing errors.

Writing Stored Procedures

Adding custom stored procedures to the Microsoft CRM database is not supported. However, you can create a separate database and write stored procedures to that database.

Use Microsoft CRM Formats for Currency, Number, Date & Time

The FilteredOrganization view contains information about currency format, date and time format, number format, negative number, starting day of the week, and other formats. Microsoft CRM provides the fn_GetFormatStrings() database function to obtain the date, time, number, and currency formats from the FilteredOrganization view.

Use these resources to correctly format data values in your reports.

Use Embedded Images in a Report

The easiest way to use images with Reporting Services is to put the images into a database. If the images are not in a database, you can use embedded images in .png, .gif, or .jpg formats in a report. The image files used by Microsoft CRM image files are located in the C:/Inetpub/wwwroot/_imgs/ico folder on a default Microsoft CRM installation.

Set the Page Size

Reporting Services does not provide explicit page orientation, such as portrait and landscape modes, or preset page sizes. Standard Microsoft CRM reports were designed for 8.25 x 11 (portrait) or 11 x 8.25 (landscape) page sizes, which work for both US letter and A4 paper.

Limit Text Length and Number of Items In Charts

Microsoft CRM reports use only a few of the possible chart types from Reporting Services.

If you use the donut chart, limiting label length and number of items is recommended to get the chart contents to display properly. When Reporting Services renders donut charts with long labels, the chart itself becomes too small to be usable.

Define Truncation if Needed

Text wrapping is the default behavior for a text box report item in Reporting Services. This means that, unless indicated otherwise, all text will wrap at the defined width of any text area and then grow vertically. If truncation is specified, a textbox will truncate text at the width of the textbox within the specified padding (default is 2pt left and right.) Any maximum length truncation beyond this will require custom coding.

The default Microsoft CRM reports are set up with tool tips to show static text or values from data fields when the user hovers the mouse pointer over the report item. If you use truncation, consider setting the ToolTip property to the field value so the full text will appear when the user hovers over the truncated text.

Back up Your Reports

Make backup copies of your reports and store them on a computer other than the reporting server.

© 2007 Microsoft Corporation. All rights reserved.