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Free-form style report


I have a project for a rich-text/free-form style reporting tool where Aspose may provide a solution and I’m interested to know whether you think it will fit my application.

The application yields a single presentation letter. I say “presentation letter” because it’s more of a free-form presentation than it is a row-based report. However, this isn’t something that can simply be solved by entering data in a rich-text format with something like Aspose.Word alone.

The “presentation letter” report requires three reporting components, all integrated on a single form to present what appears to the end-user like a several-page custom analysis and presentation. These required components


* Rich text mail-merge functionality

* Embedded Charts

* Row-Based Sub Report (short, could be done w/Excel)

The unique requirement of this report is in how those elements integrate with one another.

* The report utilizes branching logic at the fundamental, design level, where different combinations of data might create/remove/entirely alter objects within the report (not just data, but entire objects). For example, based on one situation there might only be one graph required, but in another, three graphs may be required. In one situation, several additional pages with rich text and charts may be added that otherwise wouldn’t have been included.

* The three elements (RTF, Charts, Sub-Reports) will scale in size and have to be able to flow/move around each other (to handle the above-mentioned branching and provide a consistent/integrated presentation. Mainly, the ability to essentially create mail-merge Word documents must also include the ability to insert integrated charts and sub-reports, all in-line/dynamically positioned within the text.

Do you believe these requirements are something that Aspose.Report (namely, Word,Chart & Excel) could handle? If so, do you have a suggestion as to whether you have an example of a report that integrates all three types of data (standard mail-merge text, integrated chart and integrated row-report/sub-report)? Or alternatively, do you offer paid consulting services to develop a quick sample that could point us in the right direction if we chose to develop this project in Aspose?


Thank you for your interest in Aspose components.

Aspose products are designed just for the purpose you describe here and in principle, I don’t see any problems fulfilling your requirements. However, when it comes down to details, some things might not be possible to do in a certain way and in this case it will depend on how flexible you are prepared to go about building your solution.

It is possible (and many our customers do this) to build a report with different combinations of sections in it. You can either create a single document with all the sections in it and then in your code conditionally remove sections that you don’t need. Alternatively, you can create a library of documents with different report sections and pull the required sections into one document as needed. This all is achieved using Sections and Section objects in Aspose.Word.

In Aspose.Word you can use mail merge in a way similar to MS Word, also you can use our “extended” mail merge with regions. Mail merge regions allow to designate a fragment in the document that will be repeated for each record in your data source, for example a row in a table and thus will cause the table to grow in the document. Use standard MS Word merge fields and our MailMerge object for mail merge operations.

DocumentBuilder is a class that allows to insert formatting and content into the document. You can use DocumentBuilder separately or during mail merge if needed. Apart from text and formatting, you can insert images, tables, fields, bookmarks and many other Word document elements.

It is surely possible to insert chart images (and any other images) into the document using DocumentBuilder or during mail merge. You can scale the image to any size in the document and you can specify floating or inline positioning. See DocumentBuilder.InsertImage for more info. Note that the chart image will be inserted just as a static image. I hope that’s what you are after.

At the moment there is no way to insert Excel spreadsheets into Word documents using Aspose.Word and Aspose.Excel although we do some research in this direction. If you already have an Excel spreadsheet embedded into a document, Aspose.Word will just preserve it and keep in the document unchanged. So if you are prepared to create subreports as Word tables and not as Excel objects, I think we can cover all your requirements immediately.

I suggest you see Aspose.Word online demos, about the Invoice in particular as it shows how a table (subreport) can be used and filled. There are code examples in the API documentation for most important classes and methods and there are code examples and relevant questions discussed in the Support Forums.

Certainly we provide consulting services and we can develop something custom for you if you wish so. We might need to check this with our sales team. In the meantime I encourage you to check our the resources I mentioned and ask any other questions you might have.