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George Jensen on Reporting, Business Intelligence, Crystal Reports, Visual Analyzer, and more.

Working with Null or Empty Characters in Crystal

This is the start of a series of post working with the many functions used in the Formula Workshop of Business Objects Crystal Reports.  These functions are often used while reporting out of Sage SalesLogix database.  Today I thought I would start out with a Null values.

What is a "Null" character? www.iwebtool.com defines a null character as:

A null character is a character with all its bits set to zero. Therefore, it has a numeric value of zero and can be used to represent the end of a string of characters, such as a word or phrase. This helps programmers determine the length of strings. In practical applications, such as database and spreadsheet programs, null characters are used as fillers for spaces.

Put simply and in reference to Crystal Reporting, it is when nothing is displaying in your report field. 

Most of the time this occurs when records, such as an Account record, is created in a table. 

For example, the Insert New Account/Contact screen collects the data your company has chosen to be required for the creating of an Account in your system. 

 

The data fields that are not populated or not included on that screen are populated with a Null value.  We can look at the raw data in SQL to see all of the null values that are sitting in the database fields as place holders.

One other thing to look for are records were a value was added but then removed.  These empty fields are basically the same thing as Null Characters but they are called out separately in formulas.

In my example today I will use the Account Division field. 

When dealing with Null or Empty values in Crystal's Formula Workshop, this is the Syntax I often use where I want to call out records where the condition exists :

IsNull({ACCOUNT.DIVISION}) or {ACCOUNT.DIVISION} = ""

I also use this to help me suppress records from a group or the detail sections of my reports.  In those times where a value is needed then you could use this formula in a Custom Formula field

If IsNull({ACCOUNT.DIVISION}) or {ACCOUNT.DIVISION} = "" then "Unknown" else {ACCOUNT.DIVISION}

Now if I want to go the opposite way where I am only looking for records where there is data in the field I often just use the following:

{ACCOUNT.DIVISION}>""

Some times you absolutely need to use the "is not null" and that is written.

Not(IsNull({ACCOUNT.DIVISION}) )

With this you would get the empty values in your list.

Well there it is, the first of many to come. I look forward to learning and writing more about functions in Crystal Reporting.

Hey, do not forget all of those free download of reports.  These are great way of getting a good start on whatever report you are working on.

Take care - Geo

 

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About George Jensen

   George Jensen is a Senior Developer for Customer FX Corporation.


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