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I am currently creating a Crystal report, but having difficulty on how to align certain columns. I have a Social Security, employee_name, Check Number and Amount.

I understand that the amounts should be right aligned so the decimals line up, but how should the Social Security column be aligned? I understand it is a 'Number' but it doesn't seem like a normal number that should be right aligned. I also am concerned about my Check Number column. This does have check numbers that are 10 characters long, but there is a chance my column can have "DIRDEP" for direct deposit. Should this be left align, or right aligned?

Any thoughts are appreciated.

    SOCIAL SEC      EMPLOYEE          CHECK      AMOUNT
    000000000     JOHN SMITH     0000001122      123.12
    000000000     JOE SMITH      0000001123      321.21
    000000000     JIM SMITH          DIRDEP      123.21

or

    SOCIAL SEC     EMPLOYEE       CHECK           AMOUNT
     000000000     JOHN SMITH     0000001122      123.12
     000000000     JOE SMITH      0000001123      321.21
     000000000     JIM SMITH      DIRDEP          123.21
  • This might be a better question for graphic design stack overflow. In the spirit of answering, though, I would say that you can left align SSN (and anything else that is always the same length). Columns where you need to compare #s of different lengths (ie. amount) should be right aligned. – SwankyLegg Apr 29 '14 at 15:11
  • Alright, so left align ssn, and right align check number. I just posted the question on the graphic design stack overflow, thank you for the heads up. I was just thinking, this question does deal with the User's experience, but it is more of a graphic design question. Thanks. – John Janssen Apr 29 '14 at 15:27
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Honestly, from a UX standard it is best to keep a default alignment for all the different aspects. So here you choose what alignment for the titles and what alignment for the body. From the data that you are setting up it looks that it would probably be best to keep all of the titles left aligned and the text left aligned since it seems to be long lines of information. This will make it so you can always tell where the text and area begins and as @SwankyLegg stated above help to compare lengths if needed. I would suggest right aligning the amounts that will use decimals however as it follows the standard. Here is a good read if you're interested further: Alignment Site

  • Thank you for the reference site. I have been working with reports for a while, and usually I go by what looks better, and I usually align the social left, but I wasn't sure if I was doing it right. Also with the Check column in this report, I never had to align a column with numbers and text. My initial thought was to align this column to the right. Thanks again. – John Janssen Apr 29 '14 at 15:38
  • @JohnJanssen Sure no problem, just helping out! :). If this answered your question please mark my post as the answer. Thanks again. – Nick_M Apr 29 '14 at 15:41

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