Answer: The ability to print reports to a text file allows the company to save paper and look professional by delivering digital reports via email to clients. There are quite a few benefits to first printing to a text file, including viewing lengthy reports before committing them to paper. In addition, for reports where only a portion of the information is needed, the company can sort through the data and copy & paste only the required information.
NOTE: If the company also needs to print invoices, purchase orders, and various other non-report data to a text file, please follow the steps in Article #131 How to Print an Invoice or any Other Document to a Text File? as the steps in that article cover the broader category of printing any Solid Business Central™ document to a text file.
Configure a System to Print to Text File:
- In Solid Business Central™, navigate to [System / Configure / Workstation].
- If these steps are being performed on the Server PC, the computer that Solid Route Accounting™ – Enterprise Edition was first installed onto, then a screen will show allowing the user to set which cost center and workstation to adjust these settings for. If this setup is for this Server PC, then leave CC as 999 and workstation as 01, and use [CTRL+END] to continue.
- All five available printer types will be displayed in the top half of the following 'Workstation Configuration' screen. The printer type that controls the printing of reports and customer statements is printer type '2. 8.5 x 11', so this is the printer that needs to be modified.
- For the '2. 8.5 x 11' printer, set the 'Ch?' field to 'Y' for yes. What this field does is that whenever a print job is ready to be sent to the '8.5 x 11' printer, Solid Business Central™ will present a window that allows the user to choose which printer they actually want to use to print. From this list, the bottom-most option of 'To File' can be used to send this print job to a .TXT text document. When all is set, use [CTRL+END] to save this new setting, and the print-to-text file configuration is now complete.
To Print to a Text File:
- Find a report to print in Solid Business Central™, such as [Datafile / Supplier / Report / List].
- When ready to print, the window should show, 'Choose Printer', with the default printer type of '8.5 x 11' already highlighted. From this menu, choose the bottom-most option of 'To File' by highlighting and selecting it with the [Enter] key.
- The 'Export to File' menu will then show. To begin the saving process, select the top option of 'Set File Name'. This will allow for the file name to be set and specify where on the office computer the file is to be saved.
- The green box in the top left is a navigation pane, which opens by default into the 'C:\Si' folder on the computer (or wherever the Solid Route Accounting™ business system was installed to). Go up through the directories, double-click on [...]', or double-click on a folder name to enter that folder. Folder names are enclosed in square braces '[ ]'.
- In the blue bar with white text near the bottom, the file name is by default set to this report type's default name, such as 'GMMAIN.TXT'. This can be changed to any other name that may be more appropriate. However, the important thing is that no matter what this report file is called, it must end in .TXT to make it a legitimate text document.
- Once the location and file name is set, use '[Save]' to accept these settings and return to the 'Export to File' screen.
NOTE: If a report of this same name already exists in the chosen directory, Solid Business Central™ will notify the user that this file "already exists, overwrite it?" If the old report that shares this name is no longer needed, select 'Yes' to overwrite it and continue. Otherwise, select 'No' and change the file name to save it.
- Back on the 'Export to File' menu the report can be created by selecting 'Run Operation' now that the file name and location have been set.
NOTE: The file is created very quickly, and as such, there may not be any visual cue to the user that the file has indeed been created. The only way to verify this is to look at the file itself or select 'Run Operation' once again, which should ask if you want to overwrite the existing file if it worked the first time.
- The report can also be viewed on-screen by selecting 'View Results', or copied to a removable storage device by selecting 'Copy to Disk'. Use 'Quit' when finished to complete the process.
- To view the newly created text file, navigate on the office computer to the folder that the report was saved to, which, if left as the 'Si' folder, can usually be found at: [START / My Computer / Local Disc (C:) / Si].
- Once inside the folder, find the (file name).TXT Text Document.
NOTE: If this computer has been set to 'hide known file extensions', this file will show only its '(file name)' and will not display the .TXT ending.
- Open this (file name).TXT document, and the report should now be displayed.
One last note to consider with using print-to-text file is that if another report of the same (file name).TXT is printed, the contents of the current (file name).TXT will be replaced with the new content. Therefore, if a report needs to be saved for sending to a client or any other reason, then while viewing the text file in Microsoft Notepad, or a similar text editor, use [File / Save As] to save this text file elsewhere on the computer, as any desired file name. Once saved as a text file, it can then be attached to an email for sending, copied onto a disk or CD, or printed to a printer directly from the text file.