Formatting with styles
Styles support providing a consistent appearance to multiple report elements. Styles are dynamic. Changing a style applies the changes to all report elements using that style. Although you can set the appearance of each report element individually, this task can take a while, especially if you frequently change the appearance of multiple elements. Using the Copy Format and Paste Format commands speeds the process, but only up to a point. Each time you update the format of similar report elements, you change and copy the format of one element, and then select the other elements, one at a time, to paste the new format. When selecting elements, you must also take care to reformat only the intended items. BIRT Report Designer solves these problems by providing a style mechanism that is similar to HTML CSS and Microsoft Word styles.
A style is a named set of formatting characteristics that you can apply to a report element to change its appearance quickly. Applying a style applies an entire group of formats—font size, color, alignment, borders, and so on—in one step. For example, you want to format all column headings in a report as Arial, small, blue, and center-aligned. Instead of formatting each heading in four separate steps, apply a style to achieve the same result in a single step.
Using styles, you can:
*Create a consistent appearance for similar report elements.
*Update the appearance of a set of report elements by changing a single style.
When you first create a report, it does not contain any styles. The report displays elements with default formatting values. To use styles to format report elements, you must first create the styles. If you have designed web pages and use a CSS file that defines styles, you can reuse those styles in your reports.