I have been asked numerous times “if it is possible to generate PDF(Adobe Acrobat) and/or email documents from CounterPoint”. There are a several ways to accomplish this. You should be aware that each of these may involve challenges in your specific environment. The Operating System you are using (Windows or Unix/Linux) is a large determinant of which is the best way to accomplish the creation efficiently.
The key to creating this type of output is using the reporting tools supplied with your CounterPoint Product, or with a third party reporting product that works with CounterPoint. The two CounterPoint Products, Version 7 and SQL need slightly different approaches. Although CounterPoint Version 7 (V7) works with Windows platforms, it is normally used with Linux or UNIX (*NIX). CounterPoint SQL (CPSQL) is a Windows based product.. Read on for some details about getting this working on your system.
With V7 and *NIX, this may be more difficult to accomplish. There are three approaches that are commonly used. The first is to try your report generator in the preview mode. Check your output options for document formats. You may find PDF, CSV, Email, HTML, and others. A second technique is to add a printer driver that is a PDF generator. You then pick this as the printer for your reports and a PDF is created. The third technique is to print a report to disk and post-process it to create a PDF. Post-processing can be accomplished with a tool you install on your system, or by submitting your document to an online “pay-per-use” service. There are several products and services available. Try to chose something that is supported or has a good, active user forum for help.
Once the report is on your disk, in the format you want in *NIX, it is a simple matter to use the sendmail system to email it to your destination. Sendmail is part of all *NIX systems. With a graphic desktop, such as KDE, you will find an email client similar to Windows, From the text interface (command line), you can use the “mail” command in a format like: mail <user address> -s <subject> < <document name> . For example: mail firstname.lastname@example.org -s “4th Quarter Results” < /reports/Q4-2009.
With CPSQL and Windows, it may be easier to accomplish these tasks. The techniques are the same as described above. The tools are more plentiful. On a CPSQL system you will find the Crystal Report Writer as a tool. It’s preview modes include PDF, CSV, HTML, and others. CSV will allow you to use some of the Microsoft Office Product for additional formatting before creating a PDF or emailing.
For creating a PDF printer device, there is a nice product from Foxit Software called the PDF Creator http://www.foxitsoftware.com/pdf/creator/. Install this Free tool and print to the Printer it creates, you will get high quality PDF documents. If you want to customize the PDFs, get their PDF editor. It is reasonably priced. If you have Adobe Acrobat, or other products from Adobe that include the Distiller, you already have a PDF printer device to use. Note, this is not the Free Acrobat Reader but part of the Adobe commercial product line.
If you need to post-process the reporting output printed to disk to convert the documents to the PDF format, you can use Adobe’s Acrobat’s “pay for use” service, or. find. a “freeware” or “shareware” product with reasonable support, as described above..Remember that you get what you pay for and the money spent is what pays for the support of these products. Foxit Software is a source for these types of tools as well.
If you print to disk, another use can be that reports can be imported into other applications and printed many times without having to regenerate the report every time you need it.
In a mixed Operating System environment (*NIX Server and Windows Workstations) a few more steps maybe required for the end result. The techniques are the same. You may need to copy files from the server or have a file-sharing system like SAMBA setup to make this easy. SAMBA is normally part of *NIX.
Emailing with windows is simply a matter of using the attachment feature of your email client, for example Outlook.,
These techniques can also be used to email invoices and receipts for your On-line Web stores. Note that, if you are using the CounterPoint CPOnline module this is done for you. You may want to look into CPOnline for your operations.
If you have any questions about setting up emailing or creating PDF documents from either CounterPoint Version 7 or CPSQL V8, please call the CCS Support Department at 800-672-4806 or email me to discuss the most efficient way to accomplish these time and paper saving capabilities of the CounterPoint Products.
If you are not as familiar with your Report Writer as you need to be remember that we offer classes in these topics.
Thanks for Reading