Base: field decoration (colour, border, …) in reports?

LO 26 and LO 27

Layout for fields (or labels) in the report generator only offers background colour. Under certain circumstances, such as printing on a pure B/W printer, colour filling is inappropriate (risk of hiding the relevant information, even with dithering). In such a case, a border is enough to draw attention without obscuring data.

If I insert a rectangular shape (same size, transparent content to keep only the outline, its “border”) and send it behind the field, a nasty interaction between the field and the shape occurs: field vertical alignment is no longer honoured, its reverts to Top.

I then tried to tweak the generated Writer document, but it looks like the cell in the “translated” table can’t be individually selected and background or borders are applied to the table (i.e. header or detail area) as a whole.

How can I request a border around a field (and, if possible, vary its attributes like thickness and colour)?


As you have seen Report Builder has a great deal of limitations. There have been almost no improvements in it for many, many years. This is why I typically use Jaspersoft studio for reports. However, as mentioned in a previous answer, it is Java based and does require a JDBC connection to Base for Use. This, I believe, is not acceptable to you.

I have no answer for you regarding border width and color as it just doesn’t exist. Shapes (or worse - horizontal & vertical lines) can be used for a field border:

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For color background on fields, the selection becomes available when the property Background Transparent is changed to No:

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And finally, as you may already know, you can set the background colors using Conditional Formatting:

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Saw your update just after posting. You are correct about the Top situation. Probably only alternative is using horizontal/vertical lines. Only did a quick mock up and even a sloppy result is a pain:

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I hope this helps you.

Yep, it’s really a pain to get something looking good. The key point is lack of improvement. I naively thought it would inherit from Draw. There are at least definitely 2 modules lagging behind: Report Generator (I cannot judge for Base as a whole and Math.

I close the question as no better clue can be expected. Thanks a lot for your help.

Note: I don’t mark your answer as “accepted” since it is rather a hopeless situation.

If this is not compliant with AskLO etiquette, don’t hesitate to scorn at me and I’ll check it. Also, there is no adequate reason in the closing menu (this is not the right answer).

@ajlittoz There will be no scorn or complaint from me. In this particular case it is not a matter of a right or wrong answer but the unfortunate truth. While Report Generator lags, Base is not far behind.

What I really appreciate is that you at least responded to my answer. So many get an answer and never state that their problem was solved or not. Sorry I could not bring you better news.

Youu’re very kind. It was rather selfish from me: the only way to keep AskLO useful is to acknowledge efforts made by altruistic people who try to help perfect unknown ones and not discourage them. Once again, thank you for the time devoted to my questions during the past few days.