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How to Modify Reports

Many of the reports in OnTime software can be customized significantly to suit your needs. This video explains the basics of report modification.

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In this video, we're going to talk about customizing reports within OnTime. Generating reports is fundamental in business software these days. The need to see useful representations of your data is a need now more than ever. Customizing your report will help you get your data just right, the way your business needs to see it.

OnTime contains many different reports and many of those can be customized. This includes reports such as the User Time and Activity, invoices, shipping labels, waybills, and bills of lading. We'll discuss how customizations are made, and then demonstrate that.

First of all, how are these customizations made? OnTime allows for on-the-fly modification of report templates. There's a built-in report designer that gives you advanced control over your reports. You can reset those reports to allow you to go back to the original. The key is, when you're previewing a report, to look for the Modify button in order to modify that particular report. Once customizations are made, they can be manually transferred to another computer or even to the Customer Web Portal. Let's see how this done.

I'm going to start up my copy of OnTime Management Suite and, for this demonstration we're going to customize an invoice. So, I'll go over to the Billing area, go to my list of Invoices, right-click and choose Preview to preview an existing invoice. When I look at this preview, I see some things that I would like to change: I would like to add a logo to my invoice, change the font, add some text, and change some of the information that is shown. For instance, I would like the delivery signature placed on the invoice with the rest of the information. How would we do this?

Remember earlier we said that we wanted to look for the Modify button near the top of the preview. Here it is, at the top. Any time that you see this Modify button, that's your cue that this particular report can be adjusted. If you don't see the Modify button, that report is not available for modification.

Click Modify and that is going to launch the Report Designer. This will show me the design of this report that I can change. I'll see my invoice and the first thing that I wanted to do was add a logo. I'd like my logo to be up in the upper-left hand corner, next to my address. To do that, I'm going to select this text box that has my business name in it and re-size it to make room for my logo. On the left hand side, I'll go to my Toolbox and drag over a picture box. This allows me to place an image anywhere on my report. I'll re-size it to make it approximately what I want. To add an image inside of this box, I'll click the smart tag in the corner. That will pop up some frequently used fields for the picture box. The first field is the image. iI'll click the button to the right and select my image. I'll otice right away that the image is a little too big to fit into this box and I'd like to scale the image down. I'll go back to my smart tag, go to the sizing option, and choose Zoom Image: that will preserve the aspect ratio of the image and fit it into that box, no matter what size I have it at. I will position and fine-tune the size of the box. Now I have my logo.

Next, I want to make some changes to the font. This box here has my return address. I'd like that to be in bold. What I'll do is select the text box and choose the smart tag. It doesn't look as though I have an option for actually changing the format of the text, so I will go to my Property Grid in the lower-right corner. I'll click Font and we'll make this bold and make it a different type of font, as well. Now I have changed my font.

I'd also like to add a little bit of text, maybe my slogan. What I'll do is, again, make a little bit of room. I'd like to put my slogan right here, next to my logo. I'll go to the Toolbox, pick a label control, drag it onto the report, re-size it, and double-click the mouse inside of the box to start typing. I'll type in a slogan and save that. I'd like to change the font on that, as well. So, I'll go to the Property Grid, make a change font and size, and make that centered. I'll set the alignment to centered. Now I have my slogan, as well.

The final thing I wanted to do was add my delivery signature directly on the invoice, so my customers can see who signed for the package. To do that, I'll scroll down to the main area where the details of each delivery are given. I'd like to put my signature here. I'll go to the upper-right hand corner to my Field List. This has a selection of data fields that are available to be put onto my report. One of these is DeliverySignature. There should also be one here for CollectionSignature. I'll drag this field onto my report. Again, I'm going to re-size it to be approximately what I'd like. I will set the sizing, again, to be Zoom Image, so that it fits inside the box.

Note that in the upper-right hand corner of many of these boxes, you see a little, orange cylinder. That's your clue that that particular label or box is bound to a data field in the invoice. That means that even though you see nothing in the box or these names with brackets around them, they are going to be replaced when we run the report.

That should do it. We have our signature box, font change, and slogan added. Let's close the report designer. It will ask if we'd like to save these changes. If I hit Yes, any invoice that I use in the future will use this template that I've created. I don't have to worry about completing this process every time because it will just use this until I change it again in the future. So, we'll say Yes. The Report Designer will close. Notice that we are back at the preview that we were at earlier, except this time, we're using our new and improved layout for the invoice. We see our logo, font change, slogan. If we scroll down here, we also see the signature that was collected on this particular order. This is a very easy, intuitive way to make any sort of change to one of your reports.

The question comes up, "I've made this change to the report on my computer. How would I get this customization onto one of my colleague's computers so that when they print an invoice, they will be using this same template?" To do that, we need to transfer a backup of our templates to their computer. I'll show you how to do that. Go to the Data tab at the top of OnTime Management Suite and choose Data File Management. Once we're there, we're going to click on the Reports tab, and choose the option to Backup report templates. When I do this, it's going to ask me to save a file, so let's call this "MyBackup" and save it to the desktop. Click Save and it tells me that it's been completed. I'll close this and look at my desktop so that you can see what was created. It's created a single file called MyBackup. What I now need to do is transfer this file to my colleague's computer. I can email it, transfer it over the network, whatever the case is. Once I get it to his computer, the colleague can, on his side, go to the Data tab, go to Data File Management, go to Reports, and choose Restore report templates. He'll then choose that file that we sent over, click open, and that will restore all of the customizations, including the logo, to his computer. Now every time he does an invoice, it will be that same template we created earlier.

Another thing that might be handy is to move these reports to the OnTime Customer Web Portal so that our customers can get customized reports there. The reports that we currently support for doing that are the Waybill, the Shipping Label, and the Bill of Lading. To do that, make the changes to your reports, which is easiest done through the Tracking view. Once you've made those customizations, you can go to General Options, Customer Web Portal. At the bottom of those settings, you'll notice that we can click the link to Upload current. That means whatever we currently have the Shipping Label, Waybill, Bill of Lading set at, it will transfer those template settings to the Customer Web Portal so that our customers get that rendition of those particular reports.

Through any of this process, if we determine that we've made a mistake or we don't like any of these modifications and would like the report to go back to default, you can do that by clicking the Reset option. For the Customer Web Portal, click the Reset button on any of those three and it will go back to the default. On any of the other reports, for instance the invoice that we looked at earlier, go to the Preview and, instead of clikcing Modify, we can click Reset. It will tell use that this is going to remove customizations. Say Yes. Once that's been done, I'll close and re-open the preview to see that the invoice is back as it was in the beginning. Use the Reset option to get yourself out of any trouble by resetting the report back to the default.

To re-cap the benefits of these customized reports: it helps to meet the personal needs of your business; it helps to meet the demands and needs of your customers, who want the reports to look a certain way; and, as you saw, it's relatively easy to make most adjustments without needing to hire a professional. In conclusion, remember that reports can be modified by generating a preview and looking for the Modify button. Explore that Report Designer and feel free to make changes. If you ever get stuck, remember to use the Reset button to get put the report back to the way it was in the beginning.

Thanks for your time and your attention. We very much appreciate your support of OnTime delivery software and look forward to helping your logistics business succeed.

Thank you, thank you! Love you guys!

Justin Bergener | Medstar Cabulance, Inc.