After many years of consulting and supporting Microsoft Dynamics GP, many customers still rely heavily on their Dynamics GP modified reports but do not understand their importance and how best to deploy and manage them.
The Dynamics GP community has long debated the best method for deploying and managing reports dictionary files. Years ago, GP experts recommended local customization dictionaries offering the best performance and stability. Over time, with many improved versions of GP and the overall increased stability of networks, experts agree that the shared reports dictionary is the preferred method. In fact, with most organizations opting for using terminal servers or virtual machines, the shared method is a reality for most GP users. The benefits of having a shared reports dictionary include consistency for all users as everyone is sharing the same dictionaries, easy management of modifications to one master dictionary, and centralization of backups. Below are some tips for managing your reports dictionary:
- Backup early and often. Make sure to schedule nightly backups of shared dictionary files. It is imperative that you run regularly scheduled backups, preferably nightly, of the shared directory in the event that the reports dictionary becomes damaged or corrupted.
- Windows permissions are important. Make sure all GP users have Read/Write access to the shared folder where the dictionary is located. Users who do not have the appropriate permissions will encounter errors when attempting to run reports.
- Beware of the rogue power user. Make sure to restrict GP user security access to the Report Writer module. Report Writer is easily corrupted and not always user-friendly. Sometimes the damage can be as simple as removing a field you think you don’t need only to find that it is used in a calculation or some other way on the report.
- Do not modify reports while other users are in the system. Attempting to modify reports while the system is in use will almost surely cause corruption to the reports dictionary. To modify your reports, export them to a package file and do your modifications in a test environment. Once thoroughly tested, you can import the package file back into the shared dictionary when users are out of the system.
- All roads lead to the Reports Dictionary. Make sure to handle the reports dictionary with extreme care as it wields a lot of power in GP. A damaged or corrupted reports dictionary can be the root cause of many table errors, performance issues, and login/system crash errors. There have even been cases where a damaged reports dictionary has caused damage to the out-of-the-box SmartLists. If you are experiencing any of these issues in Dynamics GP, one of your first lines of defense is to get all users out of GP and to rename the reports.dic file. Then log back into the system, and test whatever process you were running. If the problem disappears, you will know the issue lies with the Reports Dictionary, and in that case, you will want to proceed to Item 6.
- Try restoring a backup of the reports.dic file prior to when the trouble began, OR rebuild the dictionary. See this KB article for steps to rebuild the dictionary.
- Always have plan B. In the event that you do not have a backup of your reports dictionary, or if the backup is also corrupted, OR if rebuilding the dictionary does not correct the problem, you should be familiar with other reporting options that are available in GP. Below is a list of some additional reporting options that may be more reliable and provide the same or better information:
- SmartList Reports – Out of the box and custom
- Management Reporter Trial Balance Reports
- SSRS Reporting
- Excel Refreshable Reports
- Word Templates – Out of the box
RSM offers access to Certified Microsoft Professionals, help desk and phone support, knowledge and experience with third-party products and dedicated account management. Learn more about who we are, and contact our professionals at email@example.com or by phone at 855.437.7202.
By: Nancy Hogan