Did you know that you can change and reformat old IBM i reports without changing the underlying programming that created those reports?
With modern report re-formatting packages such as DRVTech’s ReportFlex software used in conjunction with our SpoolFlex package, you can easily modify standard text SCS spooled files to make them easier to convert to other formats, prepare them for graphical printing, or rearrange and hide report data for better usage, all without reprogramming the underlying code that creates these spooled files.
How it’s done and why it’s needed
Because many SCS spooled files contain older printer codes, they can be difficult to print to non-native IBM i hardware and software print servers. These same codes also make it hard to convert spooled files into universal file formats such as PDF or Excel, and some files won’t convert at all. It can also be difficult to apply form overlays to SCS spooled files due to the same limitations.
A good IBM i spooled file re-formatting package allows you to perform these functions and more without reprogramming the underlying code that produced your spooled files.
Here are nine ways a report re-formatter package benefits your organization by improving your spooled file output.
- It prepares spooled files to work better with form overlays. A report re-formatter preps SCS data to merge with digitized forms and print completed forms such as invoices and purchase orders on laser printers, without using pre-printed forms or custom hardware.
- It trims 132-character spooled file printouts to 80-character output. This allows you to more easily print older wide-format reports on laser printers, where 80-column output has more impact
- It converts SCS formatting instructions to ASCII-based print servers. Some SCS printouts contain older printing commands that are not understandable by Windows-based or ASCII printers and print servers. These commands can either garble your printed output or cause an external print server to completely ignore SCS formatting commands. Report re-formatting software allows you to convert incompatible SCS formatting instructions to print on non-SCS devices.
- It converts SCS formatting instructions to better translate spooled file output to universal formats, such as Excel or PDF. As with printing to external devices, this allows SCS data to be correctly translated for conversion to different user formats.
- It modernizes report heading and text – Report re-formatting software can change column headings to replace old terms or to provide additional information on a report, such as changing an organization name after a merger or acquisition by another organization.
- It rearranges individual pieces of spooled file column data to different locations – Rearrangement allows you to group related information together, such that readers can view connected information side-by-side. It also helps when digital form data needs to be arranged differently from your source SCS spooled file, for printing or other distribution.
- It inserts additional spaces into spooled file layouts to change positions on a printed or digitized page – Inserting extra spaces can help you line up header or column data for merging with a digital form, so that the spooled file data appears in the proper location on the merged form. Detail or total lines can also be moved up or down within a spooled file for proper conversion or better presentation.
- It combines multiple-detail spooled file lines into one line for output into a single Excel spreadsheet row – Some spooled files data is printed on two or more report lines. Using a report re-formatter, SCS multi-line data such as order line information, can be combined into single row in an exported Excel spreadsheet, making it easier for users to sort your data.
- It secures sensitive data for wider report distribution – Re-formatting software can mask sensitive data to make it non-readable when printed or distributed to other users. This makes reports with sensitive information safer for wider distribution.
Hard-to-read to easy-to-read
Each of these report re-formatting features can help you take old but valuable spooled file reports and revitalize them, increasing their value to your users. The best part is that report re-formatting software allows you to make these changes without involving your programming staff. Common re-formatting tasks such as these can be assigned to an administrator or a departmental user. It doesn’t take expensive programming time to modify SCS output for wider distribution or better presentation.
Ready to learn more about DRVTech’s Report Re-Formatting Capabilities?