The Home area contains common functions such as starting and stopping the reporting system, license management and the list of active reports.
7.1. System Start & Stop
The scheduled report creation is started and stopped by clicking the buttons “Start Reporting System” and “Stop Reporting System”. If the reporting system is stopped, the application window can be closed by clicking the icon on the window frame. In this state, PLC Reports will not automatically be re-launched after rebooting the computer. However, if the reporting system is started, the closing of the application window is blocked. It can only be minimized into the system tray by clicking the Icon on the window frame. When minimized, PLC Reports stays fully functional and creates reports on scheduled times. The application window can be restored by clicking the application icon located in the system tray. If PLC Reports is started, it will automatically be re-launched after the computer reboots. The status display shows the actual state of the system – running or stopped.
7.1.1. Starting the Reporting System
Click the button “Start Reporting System” to start the automatically scheduled reporting. All listed reports will be loaded, validated and started sequentially. If an error occurs while loading or validating a report, the start-up will be aborted and an appropriate error message will be displayed.
7.1.2. Stopping the Reporting System
Click the button “Stop Reporting System” to stop the automatically scheduled reporting. All active reports will be stopped.
If the reporting system is started, PLC Reports will automatically be re-launched and re-activated after the computer reboots.
7.2. License und Activation
By clicking the button “License Management” the dialog window for managing activations and licenses opens. You can find details about licenses and activation in the installation chapter.
7.3. Report List
The section „Report List“ shows all active reports. If the reporting system is started, all reports contained in the list will be executed according to their schedule. Reports can be sorted alphabetically by clicking the respective column header. They can also be filtered by entering one or multiple filter criteria.
7.3.1. Adding Report Files
Click the button “Add Report” and a dialog will open in order to select the report file. Valid file formats are *.xlsx, *.xlsm and *.xls. Select the desired report file and click “Open”. The report will be added to the list and is now available in the reporting system.
The report list contains only links to the report files; it does not store the file itself. Therefore, do not move, delete or rename any report file while it is contained in the report list. Otherwise PLC Reports will not be able to find the file.
7.3.2. Supported File Formats
Report files must be in Excel format. The following files are supported:
- Excel workbooks (*.xlsx)
- Excel macro-enabled workbooks (*.xlsm)
- Excel 97-2003 workbooks (*.xls)
7.3.3. Removing Report Files
7.3.4. Starting a Report Manually
Reports contained in the list of reports can be started manually by clicking the button “Execute Report”. This way reports can be created at any time regardless of the schedule defined by the report. The manual start can also be used for testing purposes.
7.3.5. Start-Parameter-Set for Manual Report Start
When manually starting a report, it might be necessary to proceed different from scheduled start. For this purpose, start-parameters, which define the instruction number to start with, can be used. Start-Parameter-Sets can be defined in the report settings. Chapter “Report Settings” gives further details. Right beside the button “Execute Report”, a drop down list for selecting the start-parameter-set is located. Select the desired parameter-set first, and then click on “Execute Report” to start the report with the selected parameters.
7.3.6. Deactivating Single Reports while the Reporting System is Running
To change a report definition while the reporting system is running, each single report contained in the list of reports can be stopped separately. If the list of reports contains other report files, their operation status will not be changed and will continue operating according to their schedule. To stop a single report, click on the button “Deactivate” in the corresponding row and the selected report will be stopped. The report definition can now be modified or the report file can be replaced by a modified version. Use the Windows Explorer for any file-copy actions.
7.3.7. Activating Single Reports while the Reporting System is Running
After editing or replacing a report definition, the modified version can be restarted by clicking the button „Activate“ in the corresponding row of the report list. PLC Reports validates the report before starting it. Make sure that you reactivate only reports which are carefully tested before.
7.3.8. Starting a Report by Command-Line or by another Program
If the reporting system is running, each report contained in the report list can also be started by means of the windows command line or through another application. To do this, the application “PLCReports.exe” located in the program files directory needs to be called with two parameters:
- The complete path and filename of the report
- The index of the instruction to start
Assuming that the installation folder of PLC Reports is “C:\Program Files\PLC Reports” and the following report starts at instruction 10: „C:\Users\Public\Documents\PLC Reports\Report Templates\Report1.xlsx”. The command line call would be: C:\Program Files\PLC Reports\PLCReports.exe “C:\Users\Public\Documents\PLC Reports\Report Templates\Report1.xlsx” 10
7.3.9. Report Execution Counter
The column “Counter” shows how many times a report has been executed since the reporting system has been started. Both manual and scheduled report starts are counted.