How to use core Formats in a 3rd party report dictionary

David Meego - Click for blog homepageThis is a reposting of an article I originally wrote on my Developing for Dynamics GP blog.

This posting discusses how to use Customization Maintenance packages to enable Microsoft Dynamics GP core formats for use in the Report Writer with a 3rd party report dictionary.

When using the Microsoft Dynamics GP Report Writer to modify reports or create new reports, formats can be used to control how data on the reports is displayed. When working with reports in the Microsoft Dynamics GP product dictionary, there are over 200 formats available in Dynamics.dic and it is normally possible to find one that is suitable to re-use.

When working with reports in other product dictionaries, the available formats will only include new formats created for that product. While it is possible to create a new format, the problem is that formats are not included in packages and so the format would need to be recreated when transferring the report using packages.  This is discussed further in KB 851092 (see link below).

The solution is to use the formats in the core Microsoft Dynamics GP dictionary, which are available for use by the Report Writer for all product dictionaries even when they cannot be selected via the the user interface.

Example: The POA Setup List report is being modified in the Purchase Order Enhancements dictionary in Report Writer. The user would like to add the Globals Company Name field into the Report Footer (RF) section and format with ALIGN_CENTER which is in the Microsoft Dynamics GP dictionary and not accessible from the Purchase Order Enhancements dictionary.

NOTE: The technique below directly modifies the contents of a customization package with Notepad.  This technique is not supported by Microsoft Dynamics GP support.

To work around this limitation, the package files created by Customization Maintenance can be used:

  1. Make a backup copy of the POE2277R.DIC (the reports dictionary that Purchase Order Enhancements uses).
  2. In Purchase Order Enhancements in Report Writer, open the report to be modified. In this example, the report being used is POA Setup List.
  3. From the Toolbox layout tab, select Globals from the drop down list.
  4. Drag the Company Name field into the middle of the Report Footer (RF) Section.
  5. Double click (or single click and press Ctrl-F) to open the Report Field Options window.
  6. Click on the Format lookup button and select any format available (select UPPERCASE for this example).  We would like ALIGN_CENTER, but it is not available for selection from products other than Microsoft Dynamics GP.
  7. Close the layout window, save the changes, and then exit Report Writer back to Microsoft Dynamics GP.
  8. Go to Microsoft Dynamics GP | Tools | Customize | Customization Maintenance and select this report from the list.
  9. Export it to a package file.
  10. Open the package file up in Notepad.
  11. Do a search for UPPERCASE (or whatever format you used). Find it and you will see it selected as the format for the field.  Change the name to ALIGN_CENTER (or whatever format you want).
  12. Exit Notepad and save the changes.
  13. Back in the Customization Maintenance window, click Import to import a package, select the one just modified and then overwrite your existing report.
  14. Go back to Report Writer and you should see the field is now using the format that we want and the field displays correctly.

For more information on related topics, please see the following Knowledge Base (KB) Articles.

How to use Customization Maintenance packages to enable Great Plains Report Writer functions from a 3rd party report dictionary (KB 862665)

Formats Not Exported to .Package Files (KB 851092)


This article was originally posted on the Developing for Dynamics GP Blog and has been reposted on

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