CR.NET 2005/2008 book is here!

I was a big fan of Brian’s Crystal Reports .NET 2003 book, as well as his CR XI book, so this is exciting news:

Find out about the new Crystal Reports Encyclopedia: .NET 2005/2008 book and more ebooks online at

I’m excited to announce that I just finished writing “Crystal Reports Encyclopedia: .NET 2005/2008”. It is being printed now and will be at on November 1st. You can pre-order it by clicking here:

With .NET 2005/2008 you can print from a variety of new data sources: arrays, LINQ, and any IEnuberable collection. You can also use SmartTasks to create new reports in minutes. Are you upgrading to Crystal Reports 2008? Create custom add-ins for the menu bar and build a User Function Library!

Many people have requested my books in ebook format. So I’ve done just that! I converted my books to a blog format so that members can have a one-on-one conversation with me about specific sections in the book. This has been very popular as many people ask for help about walking through the various tutorials in the book. Coming in a couple of weeks is a members-only forum where members get priority to have their questions answered. To find out more about the online ebooks, click here:

These are exciting new improvements for all Crystal Reports users and I look forward to adding more new features in the next couple of months.

-Brian Bischof

Multiple Excel Spreadsheets and Crystal Reports

From the mailbag, in response to Exporting to Excel in Crystal Reports .NET – Perfect Excel Exports

Hi, I was searching in the internet about how to solve a problem I have and found your name in an asp alliance article, I left a post there but I prefer to email you.
The problem is this:
Im developing a project with VS 2005 and Crystal Reports, I need to export two reports to Excel but not in just two different xls files but just one with different sheets, if you know how to help me please

Crystal Reports isn’t designed for this.  If you want to easily create Excel from data, you need to look into a product like Spreadsheet Gear, OfficeWriter or ActiveXLS.  I’ve used the free ExcelXmlWriter with great success.

Handling Large Data Sets in ASP.NET and Crystal Reports

I receive a lot of feedback from my ASP Alliance articles, usually comments.  I don’t typically answer via e-mail, since that doesn’t help the community.  Today I received the following message, and felt it was blog worthy.

Referring URL:
Dear Rechard,

I have always been using Datasets and they have given me consistent Results. In fact, I DO NOT USE Report Viewer but export CR Report to a PDF File and then give it to the user as a URL.

BUT, WHEN DATA IS VERY LARGE, THE DATASETS GIVE PROBLEMS such as out of Memory, server not available, Timeouts, hanging etc. I have asked this question to many forums as to how to handle large data sets in ASP.Net with CR.Net. But, nobody has given me any satisfying answer.

I really want to know as to how to solve this problem.

Will You please Help Me.

With Warm Regards,


Here’s the problem–the amount of memory which can be utilized by an ASP.NET web app is 2GB (3GB if you use the /3GB switch).  If your dataset exceeds 2GB on a Windows 2003 Server, you will get a Server Not Available error.  Less than but close to 2GB will cause a significant decrease in performance or warnings about memory.

The answer is simple–you need a smaller dataset!  A 2GB dataset is far too large, especially when you’re feeding it into Crystal Reports.  It sounds like you are dumping every bit of raw data into the report, and having the report process and present the data.  You really need to have your database queries doing more of the filtering and processing, then return a significantly smaller dataset.  In a web environment, it’s best if you only do presentation in your reports–leave the calculations and filtering to the database.

Free Chapters from Crystal Reports Encyclopedia

I received the following e-mail from today:

It’s been a long time since I sent out a newsletter because I’ve been busy writing a new book, “Crystal Reports XI Encyclopedia, Volume 1”.

I’m a few chapters from finishing and I’m making the chapters available online as I finish them. The first four chapters have been posted so far. You can download each chapter for free and read it before the book is in the bookstores.

I also want to thank everyone who has linked to my website and helped generate a lot more traffic. So I’m posting new articles as well.

Read tips and tricks for
* Formatting numbers as percentages
* Efficient use of global constants
* Getting rid of the red “X” icons on ASP.NET pages
* and much more!

If you’ve read my previous posts, you’ve seen me recommend his book almost endlessly.  If that’s any indication, then his newest book will be an invaluable Crystal Reports XI Reference.

Column Settings Not Working When Exporting From Crystal Reports To Excel

I received an e-mail in regards to my article Exporting to Excel in Crystal Reports .NET – Perfect Excel Exports:

I have crystal reports that are displayed in PDF or Excel format from an ASP.NET application. The reports are displaying, my only problem is in Excel, I keep getting fixed width columns when exporting the report. On my localhost it works (variable width columns, very esy to use), I move my product to the Windows 2003 server, and the export becomes fixed width (same size columns, very difficult to modify).

We are using Crystal Reports 9, VS.NET 2003, Windows 2003 Server, Windows XP (local box for developemnt).

My first thought was that this was a DLL problem, perhaps an outdated or incorrect one on the server.  As it turned out, the problem was with some registry entries not being created when the Crystal Reports was installed:

What happened is in the server, the registry entries for export from crystal reports did not exist. I copied the register entries for Crystal Reports – Export from my machine into the server registry and it fixed my problem (I don’t know if I would recommend that for novices, due to the problems that can occur from changing the registry). In short the server didn’t know what to do with the constant width column statement until I gave it a reference.

I don’t advocate poking around in the registry of a production server, especially if you’re not an experienced regsitry person.  Instead, I think an administrator uninstalling and reinstalling the Crystal Reports might have solved the problem.  Try that first, before poking around in the registry.

Free Crystal Reports XI book chapters now online

From the CR .NET Newsgroup:

Due to the popularity of my CR.NET Programming book being posted online for
free prior to its publication, I’m doing the same with my new book. You can
read chapters from “Crystal Reports XI Encyclopedia” online for free. I’m
posting chapters as I finish them and I currently have four chapters posted.
I’ll post the next four after I review them for errors. If you find the
chapters helpful, please link to them so that others may read them.

You can find the chapters listed on the home page of my website:


Brian Bischof


Now playing: ChicLe Freak

Business Objects Launches Crystal Xcelsius

Like I don’t have enough new things to play with already…

Crystal Xcelsius is the award-winning data visualization software that lets you display complex Excel spreadsheet data as interactive and visually stunning executive summaries, scorecards, forecast models, visual analytic models and more.

Simply import your spreadsheet into Crystal Xcelsius and connect the data to dozens of pre-designed components, including drill down charts, visual sliders, and alert-enabled gauges, all with the ease of “point-and-click”…no additional programming required.

Think “dashboard for dummies”.  Full story at, or cool one-screen view at