Displaying content across multiple columns
Grid and table columns enable you to align report elements easily and neatly. Often, however, you need to display text or data across multiple columns to enhance the report’s appearance. For example, compare the layout of the reports in Figure 8‑49 and Figure 8‑50.
Figure 8‑49 Report data displayed within five columns
Figure 8‑50 Report data spans multiple columns
In the first report, data appears in a five-column table. The first column of the table contains the sales total, customer name, customer total, and order number. The order details occupy the rest of the columns. To fit five columns, each column is fairly narrow. Some of the content in the first column wraps onto two lines. If you increase the width of the first column, the second column moves too far to the right. Figure 8‑51 shows the design for the first report.
In the second report, the sales total, customer name, and customer total span multiple columns, so that the text appears on one line. The second column starts farther to the left, eliminating extra space on the left of the detailed content.
Figure 8‑51 Report design without column spanning
Figure 8‑52 shows the design for the second report.
Figure 8‑52 Report design that uses column spanning
To display table or grid content across multiple columns, merge the cells.
How to merge table or grid cells
1 Select the cells to merge by using Shift-click. A border appears around the selected cells, as shown in Figure 8‑53.
Figure 6-18 Cells selected for mergingFigure 6-18 Cells selected for merging
Figure 8‑53 Cells selected for merging
2 Right-click within the border, then choose Merge Cells from the context menu. The cells merge into one, as shown in Figure 8‑54.
Figure 6-19 Merged cellsFigure 6-19 Merged cells
Figure 8‑54 Merged cells