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What Is Crystal Reports

Updated: Apr 12, 2023

Crystal Reports is a powerful business intelligence application that unlocks the value of data from multiple sources. From Oracle and SQL Server databases to Excel spreadsheets - no stone goes unturned in Crystal's comprehensive reporting capabilities. The software comes with an intuitive report designer, a high-performance engine, plus a viewer for output previewing - all integrated seamlessly into existing development environments and programming languages, such as C#, Java, and Visual Basic. Crystal Reports can be used to create a wide range of report types, including summary reports, cross-tab reports, and subreports.


The Best Features Of Crystal Reports include:


Pixel-Perfect Documents

Achieve flawless accuracy and visual consistency with perfectly formatted documents and forms.


Flexible data connectivity:

Crystal Reports can connect to a wide range of data sources, including relational databases, OLAP data sources, and XML files. It also supports direct data access and the creation of custom data connectors.


Crystal Reports can connect to a wide range of data sources, including:

Relational databases:

Crystal Reports can connect to various relational databases such as Microsoft SQL Server, Oracle, MySQL, and IBM DB2.


OLAP data sources:

Crystal Reports can connect to online analytical processing (OLAP) data sources such as Microsoft SQL Server Analysis Services and SAP BusinessObjects BI.


XML files:

Crystal Reports can connect to and retrieve data from XML files.


Custom data connectors:

Crystal Reports allows the creation of custom data connectors to connect to data sources not natively supported.


Web services:

Crystal Reports can connect to and retrieve data from web services such as SOAP and REST.


Excel files:

Crystal Reports can connect to and retrieve data from Excel files.


Flat files:

Crystal Reports can connect to and retrieve data from flat files such as CSV, comma-delimited, and tab-delimited files.


ODBC:

(Open Database Connectivity) and OLEDB (Object Linking and Embedding, Database) data sources: Crystal Reports can connect to a wide range of data sources via ODBC and OLEDB, including other databases and data sources not natively supported.


Comprehensive report design:

Crystal Reports provides a wide range of design options, including a variety of report templates, a drag-and-drop report design interface, and a wide range of formatting options.



Advanced-Data Visualization:

Crystal Reports provides a wide range of charting options and data visualization tools, such as bar charts, pie charts, and line graphs, to help users better understand their data.



Scheduled Reporting With Crystal Server

Crystal Reports can be scheduled to automatically run and deliver reports to specific users or groups at specified intervals with the Crystal Server. You can get more info here from SAP


Crystal Reports Server is a server-based solution for creating, managing, and delivering reports and business intelligence (BI) content. It is built on the Crystal Reports engine, and it allows organizations to create, view, and distribute reports over the web or via email.


Overall, Crystal Reports Server is an ideal solution for organizations that need to create, manage, and distribute large numbers of reports, and want to provide their users with a centralized location for accessing those reports.


Business intelligence capabilities:

Crystal Reports provides advanced business intelligence functionality, such as data grouping and sorting, cross-tabulation, and sub-reporting.


Integration:

Crystal Reports can be integrated with a wide range of programming languages and development environments, such as C#, Java, and Visual Basic.


Report distribution:

Crystal Reports can be exported to a wide range of file formats, including PDF, Excel, and HTML, for distribution and sharing.



Advanced Security Options:

Crystal Reports provides advanced security options, such as user-level security and the ability to password-protect reports, to ensure that sensitive data is protected.

Crystal Reports and Power BI are both business intelligence (BI) tools used for creating and analyzing reports, but they have some key differences:


Crystal Reports Vs.Power BI - Purpose:

Crystal Reports is primarily used for creating and generating reports from a wide range of data sources, while Power BI is focused on providing a self-service BI solution for data visualization and exploration.


Data Connectivity:

Crystal Reports can connect to a wide range of data sources such as relational databases, OLAP data sources, and XML files. Power BI can also connect to various data sources including cloud services, databases, and Excel files.


Report Design:

Crystal Reports provides a wide range of design options, including a variety of report templates, a drag-and-drop report design interface, and a wide range of formatting options. Power BI is more focused on providing interactive data visualization options, and it has a more modern UI and user-friendly drag-and-drop interface, also Power BI allow you to create interactive and shareable dashboards.


Data Analysis:

Crystal Reports provides advanced business intelligence functionality, such as data grouping and sorting, cross-tabulation, and sub-reporting. Power BI has more advanced data analysis options, including machine learning and natural language processing.


Integration:

Crystal Reports can be integrated with a wide range of programming languages and development environments, such as C#, Java, and Visual Basic. Power BI can be integrated with other Microsoft products, such as Excel and SharePoint, as well as other platforms like PowerApps and Azure.


Crystal Reports Vs.Power BI - Pricing

Crystal Reports and Power BI are two different business intelligence tools that have different pricing models.

Crystal Reports is a standalone software that requires a one-time purchase of a perpetual license, starting at around ~$300 The pricing of Crystal Reports depends on the version of the software and the number of users. Crystal Reports Server is also available as an add-on to the Crystal Reports software, starting around ~$800 which allows for scheduling, distribution, and management of reports.

On the other hand, Power BI is a cloud-based solution that is offered as a part of the Microsoft Power Platform, which includes other tools such as Power Apps and Power Automate. Power BI is available in two different pricing models:



Power BI Free:

This is a free version that allows users to create and share reports with a limited number of data refreshes and data volume.


Power BI Pro: - $9.95

This is a paid version that allows users to create and share reports with more data refreshes and data volume, as well as collaborate with other users, and schedule data refreshes. The pricing for Power BI Pro is based on a monthly or annual subscription.


Power BI Premium: - $19.95

This is a more advanced version of Power BI Pro with more features, such as dedicated cloud resources, and the ability to share and collaborate with external users. Power BI premium is based on a monthly or annual subscription and is offered in two types: P1 and P2.


In summary, Crystal Reports is a one-time purchase software while Power BI is a cloud-based subscription-based software with different pricing options. Power BI has more features and is more flexible, but Crystal Reports may be more cost-effective for small businesses with limited needs.


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