Ironside Tech Tip: Writing a Printable Report

Typeset letters printable report concept

Difficulty: Easy

Required Ingredients: Report Studio, List Object, PDF Viewer


A report that you expected to be viewed exclusively in HTML will need to be printed. In order to do this, you switch the output to PDF to create a printable report and find that the columns span across multiple pages, making the report more difficult to understand.

You’ll need to make some minor modifications in order for the printable report to remain effective.

Sales Report HTML

printable report unformatted

In the steps below, we begin by defining the PDF page orientation and size to resolve this problem and then take additional measures to further optimize the output.

Step 1: Launch Report Studio, select the GO Sales (query) package with a list report template when prompted. Then drag in the data items shown in the screenshots. Running the report in PDF should look similar to the screenshots above.

Step 2: Close the viewer and click the File dropdown, then click PDF Page Setup.

PDF Page Setup

Step 3: Switch the Orientation from Portrait to Landscape and click OK.

Page Orientation

The PDF output will now look similar to what is shown below. Although the landscape view can hold more columns, the columns in this particular report still spill over to the next page.

printable report initial PDF output

Step 4: In order to resolve this, select the (entire) list, then scroll down to the General section in the Properties pane and double-click Pagination. Then deselect Allow horizontal pagination and click OK.

Horizontal Pagination


Step 5: Run the printable report in PDF. Notice how all the columns remain perfectly readable.

printable report full columns

Note: The Paper Size setting in the PDF Page Setup is often used to eliminate orphan columns by selecting a larger than standard size and then making use of the Fit to Page feature most printer clients offer. Although this works, it has a tendency to shrink content to a much greater degree.

printable report fit to page

Step 7 (optional): If the primary delivery method for the report will be in print, consider changing the default run option from HTML to PDF through Cognos Connection.

Set properties

Click the Set properties icon next to the report in question, then switch to the Report tab at the top of this new page.

Switch report tab

Once on the Report tab, enable the Override the default values option and then change the format to PDF.

Report options set to PDF

Note: If the orientation was not changed in Report Studio, it can also be changed through the PDF options link above.

Click OK to return to the report folder. Notice how the icon has changed to reflect the new run behavior.