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Chapter 6. Exploring Reports > Reports Versus Spreadsheets

Reports Versus Spreadsheets

Reports are about formatting data for output. You can output to any device connected to your computer, whether it be a standard device such as a screen or printer, or a more sophisticated device, such as a projector or Web server. Reports are also about flexibility. The same data can be viewed using several types of reports so that you can analyze the data from a variety of perspectives. Conversely, you also can use the same report for various data sources, such as different tables with the same structure or dynamic sources, such as queries and procedures. The record source property can be changed programmatically to accommodate a wide variety of data sources.

Reports share the same functionality as queries and forms in at least one respect: They are dynamic. This means that when the underlying data changes, the report molds itself to the new changes. In a sense, reports become living documents. In contrast to forms, they reflect but don’t affect changes to the underling data. Forms can do both. However, this does not mean that you cannot perform calculations, create conditional formatting on the fly, group and sort data, and perform a whole host of other operations. But these operations only affect the way the data is displayed. If you want to make permanent changes to the underlying data, make them in an input object such as a form or a table.


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