Product Labels in MS Dynamics AX

By using Docentric AX you can easily replace any SSRS report for printing labels with new layouts designed directly in MS Word. Because of that, a plethora of design and formatting techniques are at your disposal when you need to create and print label sheets.

Let’s take a look at a concrete example. We can generate and print product and shelf labels in the Retail module in MS Dynamics AX 2012 R2 and R3 using built-in SSRS reports.

Product and shelf labels usually contain a barcode, product name, number, price, etc. SSRS reports support barcodes through fonts with the limitation to 1-D barcode symbology. In Barcode setup (location: Company/Retail/Setup/Bar codes and labels -> Bar code setup) we need to relate a specific symbology with the particular font, and this information is afterwards used by SSRS reporting services to render barcodes in symbologies listed in the setup.

The built-in RetailLabel SSRS report offers two built-in Designs: RetailLabel.A4Landscape3X5_ItemReport and RetailLabel.A4Portrait3x5_ShelfReport. Nevertheless, we can add as many Designs as there are different label sheet layouts that we need in our project.

Each of these SSRS Report Designs can be replaced with a Docentric template. In a Docentric template we can design dynamic barcodes using vector graphics instead of fonts which is far more reliable approach. Moreover, 2-D symbologies such as QR Code, Aztec, etc. are at our disposal. And because Docentric AX designer is actually MS Word with a special Add-In, the design of label sheets becomes quite an easy task to do. Learn about label design in MS Word with Docentric AX designer >>

In this walkthrough we will demonstrate how to replace the existing RetailLabel.A4Landscape3X5_ItemReport SSRS Report Design with a Docentric template.

Let’s say that our goal is to print product labels on an A4 paper with the 3 x 6 label layout in the portrait paper orientation:

The following steps are to be taken:

  • Set up a Docentric report to replace the built-in SSRS Report Design for printing product labels
  • Generate the report data source needed to design a new overlay that is a Docentric template
  • Design the new overlay, i.e. a Docentric template for product labels
  • Assign the created and designed Docentric template to the Docentric report
  • Print the product labels in the same way as you would print the built-in SSRS report

Set up Docentric report

Open the Reports form located in Company/System administration/Setup/Docentric AX/Reporting submenu. Click the New SRS report button and select RetailLabel as SRS report name, and A4Landscape3X5_ItemReport as Report design name.

After the SSRS Report Design has been added, report gets automatically validated and marked as invalid since it has no template assigned yet.

In order to assign a template to the report, we have to create one first. For that, we need to generate the report data source. Usually we would do that using the Generate DS print destination but this report is special – it gets executed each time to Screen, without opening the report dialog form.

For such reports the Generate DS alongside report execution option is used. If this flag is set, the report DS will be generated using the settings specified in the Generate DS print destination settings form each time the report is executed to any other print destination, e.g. Screen. The Generate DS alongside report execution flag should be set only temporarily.

The prerequisite for the above described scenario is that the For Non Print Management reports use Docentric Preview option is turned on. This flag can be set up on the Docentric reporting parameters form located in Company/System administration/Setup/Docentric AX/Reporting submenu.

We wouldn’t have noticed any difference with the RetailLabel.A4Landscape3X5_ItemReport report execution unless we activated it by pressing the Activate button. By default, a newly registered Docentric SSRS report is not active.

Now, when the report is active, we can run the report to Screen and generate the report data source at the same time, because the Generate DS alongside report execution flag is set.

The RetailLabelA4Landscape3X5_ItemDsProv_R2 class, a custom Docentric Data source provider class for SSRS reports, should be used in AX 2012 R2. You can find it in Resources. The class adds the ItemBarCodeNum field to the report data source. This field contains the product barcode number, not the barcode number encoded string. In AX 2012 R3 the ItemBarCodeNum field already exists in the report DS.

Generate report data source

Navigate to Company/Retail/Periodic/Bar codes and labels and open the Print product labels menu item. The Product label printing form is open.

Click the Labels to print button to check if there are labels to print. About Printing product and shelf labels in the Retail module you can learn from the Microsoft TechNet article.

Click the Print labels button. Instead of the built-in RetailLabel.A4Landscape3X5_ItemReport executed to Screen, the corresponding Docentric template should be used for the report generation.

Since we haven’t yet designed a new Docentric template for the report, the report failed to generate, but the report data source (a DDSP file) is produced and saved to the file location previously set in the report setup.

Design template

Create a new Word document, turn it into a Docentric template and load the generated report DDSP (Docentric Data Source package). Design the template using Docentric AX designer. Finished template looks like the following.

Learn about label design in MS Word with Docentric AX designer >>

Assign template to report

Return to the Reports form located in Company/System administration/Setup/Docentric AX/Reporting submenu. Click the Add button in the Report templates tab page. The Report template form is open. Locate the created template and click the OK button.

Revalidate the report by clicking the Validate button in the main action pane of the report setup form. The report becomes valid.

Don’t forget to turn off the Generate DS alongside report execution option. This flag should be set only temporarily in order to get the report data source for designing Docentric templates in cases when the standard report dialog form for selecting the target print destination is not shown.

Print report

Navigate again to Company/Retail/Periodic/Bar codes and labels and open the Product label printing form. Click the Printed labels button.

The Label form is open. It shows all the already printed labels.

Then click the Reprint labels button.

The report is executed and printed to Screen using the corresponding Docentric template we have previously created and assigned to the report in the report setup.

Conclusion

In this article we have learned how to replace a built-in SSRS report with a custom layout by using Docentric AX. However, if you have a label scenario that is not covered by a built-in SSRS report, you can always use Docentric AX to support your scenario with the following two approaches:

  • Creating a custom dummy SSRS report without temporary tables and data provider, and then replacing it with a Docentric report. Learn more >>
  • Creating a Docentric Basic report. Basic reports have simplified infrastructure and are much faster to develop. Learn more >>

Resources

Download all resources (template, DDSP file and custom DSP class for AX 2012 R2) >>
See how to design labels in MS Word with Docentric AX designer >>
Learn more about Docentric AX designer >>

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