Jet Reports Vs doing it yourself with SQL ODBC?

My company is looking at generating reports out of Navision 3.70 and have had a quote to implement Jet Reports.

I am coming in a bit green to Navision but have had experience with other reporting packages to Accountants and am questioning the reason behind having to purchase an item to get access to the underlying tables to write reports.

I would have thought that if our database is in SQL then I should be able to access the tables via a standard ODBC connection once I have had the appropriate SQL Rights allocated on the database. I could then use what ever reporting tool that I would like. Excel, Access, Crystal or any other.

Or are there other advantages to Jet reports? Does it give you simplified views of the tables so you don’t have to hunt arround trying to link weird tables to get basic reports.

Thanks in Advance


Hi Paul,

Differences i can think of between Jet Reports and ODBC…

  1. Jet Reports are more user friendly, as it shows you the tables as you see in Navision. If you were to use ODBC you will see the table names in SQL, including all special and internal tables used by Navision.

  2. If you use Jet reports, it will adhere all table permissions set in Navision, vs accessing in ODBC

  3. If you use Jet reports, you will flow fields as they were in Navision table, vs ODBC. If you use ODBC you need to create inner joins to transaction tables in Navision to compute flowfields that you can easily get in Jet Reports.

  4. I personally find that Jet reports are quite a challenge to install. Perhaps because I have a lot of Navision versions installed on my laptop, and they were conflict somewhere, so I should not see this as a problem to end-users.

  5. If you were to use ODBC you would need to know how to use SQL statements to perform Joins etc etc, vs Jetreport. In Jetreports, you only need to learn 2 custom excel functions, and you can manipulate these 2 functions.

Jordi has made some good points, and I would like to add with a few comments of my own.

Personally I never see there to be case to decide between JetReports and other reporting tools. JetReports does not replace other reporting tools such as the Navision built in report designer, Crystal Reports, SQL Reporting services, Automation to Excel etc.

In fact JetReports is different in that it integrates live with Navision. Since it uses C/FRONT, it is able to Use flow field technology directly, and allows a very simple integration to Drill down on reports, that is not so easy to do your self.

I recommend JetReports for companies that need to get add hock data from Navision, and deliver it to users that work with Navision, and want to link back to the source data. And need to make fast decisions based on what is happening in their business.

If one the other hand you are trying to create paper reports, then look at the other alternatives.

David & Jordi,

I think based on our needs we will go ahead with the Jet Reports because :

  • our reporting requirements seem to keep changing due to expansion and manager movements
  • the skill level of staff who need to create & modify the reports

Thank you again for such valuable and prompt advise.


Yes those are two things that JetReports is good for.