The Print Operator

Accelerus Icon

The Print Operator is one of the two output operators available in the Analyser. It is the output operator used when you want to preview and/or printout the data being extracted by your analysis.

A newly-inserted Print operator is like a blank page, and the following are amongst the formatting decisions you must make:

Whether the data is to be grouped and by which fields.
Which fields are to appear in the various sections of the report.
The page setup settings, eg landscape or portrait, margins, what, if anything, should print out in the header and footer, etc.
The format of the various Printed Fields sections, eg should the fields print continuously on one line, or in a table format, etc.
The format of each field, ie the font type, size and alignment of each field.
Where line feeds and page breaks should be inserted.


RA PrintLabels





Enter a description of the functionality of the Print operator. This is what will appear in the Print operator box in the Steps pane.


The left side pane contains the available fields that may be selected and inserted into the report layout pane on the right.

The fields that are available will depend on the data coming into the Print operator from the upstream operators.


The top icon between the two panes inserts the currently highlighted field into the layout pane as the basis for grouping. Clicking it the first time will insert a Group 1 Header and Group 1 Footer section, based on the field selected which, in the example shown here, is the student code field.RA PrintAddGroupIcon

Clicking the Add Group icon again will add Group 2 Header and Footer sections, and so on.

The order you add the group fields is very important as this determines the ultimate sort mode of the output.

The Add field icon, the one below, inserts a field into the layout pane. Fields may be inserted in the Printed Fields section found in the layout pane – in the Group Headers, Group Footers, Detail Section, and the Sort Fields of the Detail Section.

The field will be inserted directly below the field or section currently highlighted in the layout pane.

As well as clicking the Add field icon, double clicking a field will insert it into the layout pane.


The layout pane is where you set up all of your print output requirements. This pane begins with just the Page Settings and Detail sections and you then add groupings, insert fields of data, add text fields and format the output.

Its main sections are:

Page Settings which, when clicked reveals Page Margin and Layout parameters, Page Header and Page Footer fields and formatting options.
Group Headers which have a Printed Fields section into which fields that print as a heading may be inserted or created.
Group Footers appear at the end of a group section. They also contain a Printed Fields section, although more often line and page break characters are inserted there, eg to add additional blank space between one set of data and the next.
Details Section is the inner most component of the layout pane where the fields of data being extracted are usually inserted, eg the results and fields to be printed about them.

It also has a Printed Fields section in which fields are inserted or created, as well as a Sort Fields section that determines the order in which all of the records being reported on in the Detail Section are printed.


A series of icons are available, allowing you control the format of the report, eg add text fields, insert line or page breaks, etc. The icons that appear will depend on the component in the layout pane that you have currently highlighted.


Underneath the layout pane, a panel may appear, depending on the component you have clicked in the layout pane. It contains parameters that apply to the highlighted component, with three types of settings being available.

Page Settings properties, which control the layout of the report, including its header and footer.
Field properties, when you have a field highlighted, in which its width, font and alignment may be selected.

In the case of created text fields, usually used as labels or column headings, you also type in the text to print.

Printed Fields settings, whereby each of the Printed Fields sections can have its own set up, most notably the layout format of the fields, ie whether they print:
In a tabular format across the page, with each column width determined by the field width, one record per row.
Continuously, with no regard for the field width, wrapping around to the next line if the fields cannot be fitted on the one line.
Across the page in equal sized columns, based on the number of columns you have inserted in the Columns across the page box.


minusGrouping your print out data

RA PrintGroupingGenerally, you will want to output your data in an orderly or grouped manner. For example, the data you are extracting may be the results for a set of students. It is most likely you will want the results belonging to the same student to be printed out together and not mixed in with other students. Also, you will most likely want the results for the same student to be further grouped together by class and not have results for different subjects intermingled.

This is not just a matter of sorting the results in some manner, but selecting the appropriate fields as group fields, so that the data which is common between all of the grouped records only prints once. It is not necessary to print out the student’s name for every result, for example, or the class and subject details for every result.

Instead, you would insert at least two groups into your layout: Group 1 could be St.Code, and Group 2 Cl.Code, for example, as shown here.

Alternatively, if you want the data to come out in subject order, with each student enrolled in each subject appearing within this, you would have Sb.Code for Group 1 and Group 2 would use St.Code.

Therefore, grouping is the process of defining a hierarchy for your data, putting data that has something in common together, and ensuring that the data is sorted by the selected field.


RA PrintAddGroupWhen setting up and working with groupings in the Print operator, note the following:

When you add a group, a Group Header and a Group Footer section will be added to the layout pane, with each of these having its own Printed Fields section.

As seen to the right, there is a Group 1 Header and Footer using the Ct.HG.Code field, each with a Printed Fields section. Fields have been inserted in the header's Printed Fields, but not in the footer's.

Each group added will automatically be added as the next available group.

For example, as shown here, we already have a Group 1 inserted and are about to add the next group, using the student code. Therefore, it will be assigned to Group 2 automatically.

The field chosen as the group field will be inserted automatically in the Printed Fields section of the Group Header, with a line break after it, as shown here, in the case of the Group 1 Header.
Everything between a Group Header and its Group Footer pertains to one instance of the group field. For example if the Home Group code is the Group 1 field then everything between the Group 1 Header and Group 1 Footer pertains to the one Home Group.

The fields in the Printed Fields section of the Group Header will only print once for each distinct instance of the field being used to group by, at the beginning of all the data for the record, eg for the one home group, one student or the one subject.

The Group Footer is only executed at the very end of the data pertaining to the group.

Often it will only include a line or page break, which is executed once everything between the Group Header and Footer has been printed. For example, as seen here, where we are grouping by Home Group code, a page break has been inserted in the Group 1 Footer, so that every home group starts on a new page. In other situations, you may want blank lines to print after each student’s data has printed, or to put extra lines between each subject, etc.

The default format of the Printed Fields sections in all Group Headers is Print continuous fields.
The default font of the fields in the Group Headers is Arial Bold, 10 point, while in the Group Footers it is just Arial, 10 point.
You may move a group up or down in the hierarchy of groups by clicking the appropriate one of the Move up or Move down icons. In order to do so, you must click on the Group Header to activate the Move icons at the bottom of the layout pane. All fields already inserted in the group's header or footer sections will be moved with the group.
A group that has been inserted may be deleted, if no longer required. Click the group's header and then click the Delete icon at the bottom of the layout pane.


RA PrintGroupStudentSelecting a field to group by means you are also selecting the sort mode for the Group. For example, if you have grouped by the Student code field, then the records will come out in student code order; if you group by gender and the females will print first, followed by males, and so forth.

Keep in mind that the data in most fields is not unique and the report will be inaccurate if you do not make sure that only data which should be grouped together is in fact grouped together.

For example, several students may have the same surname and if you group just by the Student family name field, then all the data for Mary Smith will be mixed in with John Smith.

Even grouping firstly by the Student family name and then using the Student given name field, say, is potentially dangerous, as this combination may not necessarily be unique either.

Therefore, it is recommended in these cases that you add a further grouping using a unique field, ie by Student code in the case of students.

Therefore, as shown here, Group 1 uses the student's family name and Group 2 the given name, and then the student code is the third group, so that within each surname and given name, each student is uniquely grouped.

Do not insert any fields in the Group 1 or Group 2 Headers, in this case, but just in the Group 3 Header, ie the one using the St.Code field, as seen here.



minusDetail Section

RA PrintDetailSectionThe Detail Section of the layout pane is always the innermost loop, the heart of the report layout, where the details for each distinct record are printed. It is made up of two sub-sections into which fields may be inserted:

Sort Fields

In Sort Fields you insert the fields by which you want the printed details to be sorted.

You may insert multiple fields in this section, one under the other, with the primary sort mode being the uppermost field, the secondary sort mode, the second field and so forth.

Each field inserted may be set to sort in ascending (A to Z) or descending (Z to A) mode. The Sort Order icon is used to toggle between ascending and descending order, as shown here, with the MarkSchemeCategory field soring in descending order and the AI.Code field in ascending.

Printed Fields

The Printed Fields sub-section is where you insert the fields to be printed out, in the order that you want them to print.

The Detail Section’s Printed Fields is executed once for every distinct record which meets your analysis criteria. For example, where results are being extracted and we have grouped by Student code and then by Subject code, the Detail Section’s Printed Fields will print once for every result extracted belonging to a single student, for a single subject.


minusPage Settings

RA PrintPageSettingsWhen you click the Page Settings heading, at the top of the layout pane in the Print operator, three property sections become available, allowing you to format your report pages. These settings apply to the whole report print out.

Click the arrow icon beside each section to reveal the available options.


This section allows you to change the left, right, top and bottom margins of all pages of the report. By default, these margins are set at 12 mm.

In addition, you may change the report from the default portrait setting to landscape by clicking the Landscape checkbox.


The Page Header and Page Footer sections allow you to specify the text to appear in the left, centre and right portions of both the header and footer of each page of the report.

You may set the font style and size separately for the header and footer, both of which are are set to Arial 10pt by default.

In addition, headers and footers may be set to bold, italic and/or underlined. Also, by clicking the down arrow at the bottom right of the Page Header and Page Footer sections, you may choose the colour of the header or footer text.


Five special codes are available for use in the Page Header and Page Footer sections' fields so that particular text prints automatically. To insert:

Page numbering


The print date


The print time


The name of the analysis


An ampersand (&)



minusPrinted Fields properties

RA PrintedFieldParametersYou may set the properties for each Printed Fields section of a report layout, with each such section being able to be formatted differently, as you wish.

Click the words Printed Fields in any Group Header, Group Footer or in the Detail Section to bring up properties that allow you to format the particular set of printed fields.


The three checkboxes allow you to:

Insert a page break before or after the particular Printed Fields section.

These checkboxes are not commonly used as it is more usual to insert a page break in a group footer. However, if you have chosen the print layout option Print fields in a table, a page break inserted by clicking the Insert page break icon will be ignored. This is not the case, however, if you check the Page break before or Page break after boxes.

Suppress the printing of the particular section totally, eg if you only want the header information and not the details to print.


RA PrintTableFormatFor each of the different Printed Fields sections, you may choose from one of three print layout formats, each of which has particular requirements. For example, the Group 1 Header fields may simply need to be printed in a continuous line, whereas a columnar format is required for the Detail Section.

Print fields in a table

This option takes all of the fields which have been inserted in the Printed Fields section, and using the field width set for each field, prints them across the page in tabular form, one line per record.

With this format, any line breaks or page breaks inserted in the Printed Fields section will be ignored.

This format would be used when there are only a few fields in the Printed Fields section, or all the fields are able to fit across the page.

It is the format that is assigned by default to the Printed Fields of the Detail Section, as shown here.

Print continuous fields

This option is the most compact of the three available. It prints the fields in the Printed Fields section continuously, one immediately after the other, on the same line, wrapping around to the next if they do not fit on the one line.

If you have ticked the Space between fields box, each printed field will be separated from the next by a single space.

This option, with the Space between fields checkbox ticked, is the default format for all Group Header and Group Footer Printed Fields sections.

In the sample print out shown to the right, all of the headings use this format.

The Print continuous fields option ignores the field width and the alignment settings of the individual fields in the particular Printed Fields section. Each field is printed strictly in accordance with the length of the text found in it, and the printed text is always left-justified.

Therefore this option is very compact and would be useful for archival purposes, in particular.

Line breaks may be inserted in this layout option so that, instead of it printing continuously, one record after the other, each begins on a new line.

Print continuous fields in columns

The last Print layout option will print the data across the page in equal-sized columns, based on the number of columns you have inserted in the Columns across the page box.

Generally, the number of columns across the page should be a multiple of the number of fields in the Printed Fields section. For example, if printing students’ non-comment results, using just the assessment item code and entered result for each, a multiple of two would be used.

An example of this format is shown below, where 10 columns are printing across the page, allowing five sets of assessment item codes and results to print per line.

The field width and alignment settings of any fields in the Printed Fields section will be ignored by this layout option. The columns will be automatically sized in order to fit equally across the page and will be printed left-justified within these columns.

If any data does not fit into the column, it will continue to be printed across columns until fully printed, with the next field beginning in the next available column.

Line and page breaks entered in this format will be inserted into the print out.

RA PrintContinuousColFormat



minusField properties

Each field that has been inserted or any text fields created in any of the Printed Fields sections of the report layout has its own set of properties:RA PrintFieldParameters

Font settings, including whether the text is to be bold, in italics, underlined or a particular colour.

In the case of inserted text fields, you enter the exact string of text you want to appear. However, with inserted database fields, you may not edit the Text data. It will simply display the field name to which it applies, eg St.Given, Sb.Code, etc.

The default settings for inserted fields are:

25mm width
Left alignment
Arial 10pt

Note that the field width and alignment settings only apply when the Layout option chosen for the particular Printed Fields section is Print fields in a table. Otherwise they will be ignored and, therefore, you do not need to change the default settings for such fields.


minusLayout pane toolbar

At the bottom of the layout pane in the Print operator is a toolbar containing several icons. The exact icons that appear will be relevant and available to the section of the layout pane that is currently highlighted.


RA PrintAddTextFieldAlthough the majority of fields inserted into the various sections of the Print operator's layout pane are database fields, selected from those available in the fields pane on the left of the operator, you may also insert user-defined text fields into a report layout. For example, if printing out a teacher’s name, you may wish to precede it with a label, eg Teacher:, or you may use text fields for column headings.

As shown here, the text   Home Room: has been added as a text field. Note that several blank spaces have been inserted before the word Home.

Inserted text fields may, in fact, simply contain a series of spaces, where you want to force some space between fields. Or you may insert a series of underline characters to separate fields or lines.

To insert a text field:

In the layout pane, click the Printed Field’s heading or the field directly above where you want to insert a text field.
Click the Add Text icon, as shown here.
In the field parameters section which will now be visible:
Enter the text you want to appear in the field, including any spaces.
Change the width of the field, if you require something other than the default 25mm.
Click the alignment required, ie left, centre or eight aligned.
Select the font settings required.

Note, however, that the field width and alignment entered for the text field will only be used if the Print layout option Print fields in a table has been chosen for the particular Printed Fields section.


RA PrintLineBreaksYou may insert line or page breaks in any Printed Fields section in the layout pane.

For example, as shown here, two new lines have been inserted in the Group 1 Header, so that there is blank spaced between the header text and the following data. In addition, a new line has been inserted in the Group 2 Footer so that there is a blank line between each subject. Each student's data starts on a new page, indicated by the page break inserted in the Group 1 Footer.

To insert either a of these breaks:

Move to the required position in a Printed Fields section, directly above where you want a break to be inserted.
Click the appropriate one of the Line Break or Page Break icons.

Note that line breaks and page breaks embedded within Printed Fields will be ignored for the layout option Print fields in a table.


RA PrintSortFieldsThe Sort Order icon only appears when a field in the Sort Fields section of the Detail Section is highlighted. Then, by clicking this icon, you may toggle between ascending (A to Z) or descending (Z to A) sort mode for the particular field. As shown here, the GradeTotal user defined field is sorting in descending order but the other fields are in ascending order.

Keep in mind the following when selecting your sort fields and mode when sorting based on results that the marking scheme of the assessment item must be taken into account.

If you are using an A to E scheme, sorting in ascending order will give you the best students at the top. On the other hand, if using a numeric scheme, you need to sort in descending order to print the best results first.
In the case of an A+ to E scheme, ie where plus and/or minus are allowed, or in any list scheme where a strict alphanumeric sort is not appropriate, the ResultOrdinal should be used to sort the results from highest to lowest, as seen below.

RA PrintSortOrdinal


RA PrintMoveUpFields that have been inserted in any Printed Fields section may be moved up or down within the section by clicking these icons. They may not be moved to another Printed Fields, eg from one group header to another or to the Detail Section.

The same icons may be used to move a group up or down in the hierarchy of groups. However, in order to do so, you must click the particular group's Group Header line, as shown here. The group and all of its fields, in both its Group Header and Group Footer, will be moved.


The Delete icon at the right side of the layout toolbar, allows the deletion of:

Any field inserted in a Printed Fields section, when the field is currently highlighted.
A field selected in the Sort Fields section of the Detail Section.
A group, but only when the Group Header line is highlighted.



minusPreviewing the output

Once an analysis that ends with a Print operator is successfully run, the output data appears in a Preview window. In the bottom left of the Preview window, the page number you are currently viewing is displayed, plus the total number of pages in the output, eg 2 / 4, as shown below.

RA PrintPreview

The icons at the top of the Preview window allow you to:

Send the output, or selected pages thereof, to a printer of your choice.
Zoom in or out
Select from four different page view options:
Page width
Whole page
Two pages
Click through the pages using Next and Previous
Go to a specific page in the output by entering the required page number and then clicking the Go to button.