Ways to enhance reports in Business Central

by Admin Admin

For any software designed for business operations, it is critical to have a data visualization function. Reports in Dynamics 365 Business Central and other programs accomplish this task.

Built-in reports are one of the partner community solutions. They add capabilities to the underlying data or are used as resellers to tailor reports to individual requirements.

In the past, reports were only edited through code changes. Direct customization is not available in Business Central Online. And instead, you can add modifications yourself through an extension. This helps simplify software maintenance, upgrades, and deployment.

Without the ability to extend the baseline, partners had to make copies of the report to make any changes. These processes are time consuming, costly and generally labor intensive.

The first wave of release in 2021 will bring support for reporting extensions to Dynamics 365 Business Central first. Users can now enhance visual reports, document types and processing reports. Copying and branching will no longer be your problem because you can add extensions to the base set. As an add-on reseller, you are given access to all of the resulting datasets of the report.

Report extensions include two ways to customize:

  • event-based report substitution
  • expansion of the report to make additional changes

AL object for report extension

AL is a new programming language on which the new reporting extensions are based. It is used to manage data and execute individual blocks of an application. Using this type of object, you can extend the report in the following ways:

  • Modifying or adding a request page
  • Adding columns to data items
  • Add columns for fields from a source or linked table
  • Add an RDLC or Word layout

It is important to note that there is no layout extension support for existing layouts.

In the future, there will be support for labels, adding to query fields and triggers with calculation fields. You can use report extensions to make changes to reports.

Layouts right from report extensions

When an extension deploys to a customer environment, either as an If the extension is deployed to an environment (client, AppSource, PTE), then any report layouts in the extension are also made available in the environment. However, if you want to apply the layout to a specific report, you will need to add the install and update code to the extension. After that, you will be able to select a layout on the page for selecting available report layouts.

On the layout selection page, you can choose any layout from the report extensions.

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