In this chapter, you will learn about form letter reports, one of the standard report styles. By following the steps in this chapter, you can generate the report output shown in Figure 7-1.
Form letter reports contain database values embedded in boilerplate text (boilerplate text can be defined as any text that appears each time the report is run). It can be text generated by Oracle Reports, text you create, or text you import from a file.
A form letter report is useful for printing multiple copies of the same letter addressed to different people.
A form letter report is similar to a mailing label report, in that it is a simple report with a form letter layout style.
There are no special restrictions on data relationships for a form letter report.
A default form letter layout style is provided by Oracle Reports. It consists of the field names for the columns you have selected, prefixed by ampersands (
&). The ampersands indicate that they are hidden fields, and are contained within boilerplate and repeating frame objects. You then add the text of the letter to the layout. Oracle Reports prints one record (that is, one letter) per page.
Hidden fields, which are the default for a form letter layout, appear in the layout but not the output until referenced. You can do this in the Paper Layout view by typing its name, prefixed by an ampersand (
&). Oracle Reports treats the reference as a normal field.
In general, if you are embedding a field within boilerplate text (as in a form letter), it is best to hide the field and reference it where desired. The field values will then flow with the text. A field can appear in a report both where placed by default in the report layout and where referenced. Fields can also be referenced more than once in the same piece of boilerplate text.
As you build this example report, you will:
Use the Report Wizard to Create a Form Letter Report with a paper layout that includes one query to select all of the columns displayed in this report. Oracle Reports will create all other necessary objects, for example, groups and columns, by default
To see a sample form letter report, open the examples folder called
formletter, then open the Oracle Reports example report called
formletter.rdf. For details on how to open it, see "Accessing the Example Reports" in the Preface.