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Business managers love looking at comparative data, whether it's different areas over the same time period, or a year- over-year comparison of the same location, comparing data points can quickly give some powerful insights into the health of an organization and the overall trends. In this chapter, we're going to take many of the things that we've learned about queries and combine them together into a real-world project. We're going to construct a reporting tool that compares various data points and allows the end user to define the parameters for the report. Let's take a quick look at how the completed system will work. I'm going to go ahead and open up the Chapter 7 section of my custom navigation bar.
Let's go ahead and open up the frm_SalesByDivision-complete form. On the form, I've got areas for Geographical Division and Year and we have a comparison section as well. For the first one I'll select New England in 2008, and we'll compare that to New England in 2009. I'll click on the Preview Report button and Access will generate a report that has exactly the information that I'm looking for. New England in 2008 and 2009. We can see the different states within the region and we can make some comparison analysis between the two years.
So with a couple of mouse clicks, I'm able to get some very specific information and make some targeted observations about the performance of our business. But what's really going on here and how is this working? From the user's perspective, they enter information into a form, press the button, and get their report. But in Access, things happen a little bit differently. Once the user fills up the form, they request the report. At this point though the report only has information about how to format data, it doesn't know what data you're looking for. The report will ask the query for the information it needs.
At this point, the query doesn't even have everything it needs, so it goes and looks at the finished form. The user has supplied the information into the form and it plugs that data into the query. The query generates a record set and plugs that data into the report. The report now has something to format and it serves the final version back to the end user. So what appears to the end user to be a single action?press the button, get a report?is really a series of steps that is handled internally by Access. Over the next several movies, we'll build and hook all of these pieces together starting with the form.
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