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Strategies for Printing Customized Reports

Margaret Lourie, Suffolk University
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INNOPAC users can create customized reports by printing the INNOPAC report to file instead of paper or by using PC software to “reprocess” the data to produce the desired report. More detailed information is available from the INNOPAC Printing FAQ web site listed above.

Printing To File

Printing to a file instead of paper gives you better control over your printing. Any output from INNOPAC can be printed to file instead of paper.

There are two basic ways to get the print to a file on a PC:

  1. Redirect the print to a file on your PC. The recommended method for Windows users is to add the Windows “Generic/Text Only” printer, which will print to a file.
  2. FTS “e-mail” printer and “file save” printers.

“Reprocessing” Your Data

Once you have the file on your PC, you can manipulate the data and either print reports or use the content in data form.

Be sure to write down what you do as you go along, so you know what gave you the result you wanted. Keep experimenting until you get what you want. Work with a small sample until you get your process developed. Document everything you do. When you have a report worked out, write up instructions how to do it next time.

Some reports can be printed to file and require only minor formatting before sending to the printer. For example a report in columns can be put in a spreadsheet (e.g., statistical report) and a report in paragraph format can be left that way but formatted nicely before printing (e.g., new books list).

This technique has greatest application for reports created with “list some data” from a review file.

Print the INNOPAC report to file, then:

  1. Use a word processor to divide each record into fields by inserting a character that functions as a marker at the end of each field, and retain a hard return at the end of each record.
  2. Use a spreadsheet program to get the data into columns (you may be able to do this in MS Word using “convert text to table” instead).
  3. Use a word processor (tables and formatting) to make the result look nice.

There are eight steps to preparing a custom report. The process is illustrated by an example of producing a printed periodicals list.

  1. Decide what your final product should look like, what data should be in it, in what order, etc.
  2. Design the report you get from INNOPAC. Type of report, type of record, fields included, etc. Sort the records, select fields in order you want them; choose a subset if you want.
  3. Configure the print:
  4. Print the output to file (see above) to get the file to the PC.
  5. Make changes to the output file with a word processor. The goal is to insert a character to be a field delimiter between fields in a record and to retain a hard return at the end of each record.
  6. Create columns with spreadsheet. If too many errors, analyze cause of errors and start over in word processing with revised search and replace strategies. If few errors, manually fix; save as spreadsheet file.
  7. “Desktop publish” with word processor. Spreadsheet file will open as a table. Format columns, fonts, borders, etc; add page numbers, headers, footers, etc.
  8. When satisfied with the result, send final version to printer.

Submitted by: Margaret Lourie, Suffolk University

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