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This is beyond me. I've been searching forever.

I need some software - web-based is alright - that can produce simple PDF reports, and can be used by a client:

  • Easy interface (drag and drop would be swell)
  • No coding
  • No databases
  • No queries

Open up a template, fill out the input fields manually, export as PDF. It should essentially be MailChimp (referring to usability) for reports.

Does this not exist? I've already tried Pentaho and Jasper - they're too difficult.

The field reports my client is going to produce could be done in Microsoft Word with a few tables, but it wouldn't be user-friendly in the long run, when they make reports for each project.

  • After thinking it, i believe that your own suggestion to use Word for this should do it, especially since you don't want any databases involved and the client will fill the form with whatever information the want anyway. If you're going to use a database to save and retrieve the information, then i may suggest other tools, but with your scenario i think you've nailed it. – Miguel Garcia Dec 1 '14 at 15:49
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Since you didn't specify free I am going to suggest producing the templates with Adobe Acrobat and their forms creator, (there are free alternatives), this will allow you to produce forms, with user fillable fields and rules, that can then be printed, sent, saved, etc.

  • Thanks for your answer, but let me get this straight. I'm a designer. I need to create a reusable template for a client with fields like client, order number, photo view, and tables. I can create this in Adobe Acrobat, and then send my client the Adobe Acrobat template, which they can then open in their Adobe Acrobat, edit the fields and export as PDF to their customers? – Frederick Andersen Nov 29 '14 at 14:35
  • You can do templates in Adobe Forms Creator - if your client wishes to edit the forms rather than just filling in the forms they will also need to have Forms Creator, (unless they provide you with the additional information that they need on their custom forms), then send the PDF to the customers who can use Acrobat to fill in the forms and send them back, (they can also just send back the data), or print them out. The returned data can also be used to generate reports, etc. – Steve Barnes Nov 29 '14 at 15:31
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As a software developer (and therefore reports developer) I can tell you that report creation requires a lot of time and work. Excel is probably the most intuitive application for generating reports in a drag-and-drop fashion. (not really drag and drop, but very simple to use).

I would recommend a combination of Excel and CutePdf then install a PDF print driver - such as CutePdf (for free). So you simply print your reports and select cutePdf as printer and it will prompt you where to store your pdf file.

The remainder of the answer is related to programming (I know you don't want this option - but perhaps others will prefer it)

If you want to do things programatically : You can use the free Oxy Plot (http://oxyplot.org/)

They support PDF generation as well.

Simple to use out of the box, you can integrate it via Microsoft C# or VB.Net

  • How come it's not feasible? Something as simple as this - how can it not be accomplished easily? Thanks for your input. – Frederick Andersen Nov 29 '14 at 14:47
  • Apologies - I misread your title .. client-oriented (not object oriented). I will update my answer with more details. – z0mbi3 Nov 30 '14 at 15:39

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