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Hacking Access
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Protect Intellectual Property

Author's note: Here's a hack that shows you how to put a watermark on your reports. By using a semitransparent graphic and setting a few properties, you can make sure your report displays and prints with an obvious "Confidential" message sprawled across the page.

Prevent misuse of confidential and copyrighted material by printing watermarks on reports.

If someone is bent on taking your intellectual property, you have no fool-proof way to prevent it. However, common sense dictates that we do our best to protect our assets. Often, putting some wording on the page or in the report header or footer saying the material is confidential serves this need. However, this method doesn't necessarily make the message stick out like a sore thumb.

An additional measure is to put watermarks on reports. A watermark sits right within the body of a report, page after page. It ends up underneath the actual text and is somewhat transparent; that way, it doesn't obscure the text, but it is evident enough to get the message across in a big way.

Figure 4-16 shows a report in which a watermark sits mixed in with the data. The word "Confidential" stretches diagonally from the lower left to the upper right. The text appears to sit on top of the watermark.

Figure 4-16. Using a watermark to get the message across

Making the Watermark

To create a watermark, you need to create a graphic that you will set to the Picture property on a report. You will need a graphics program to create a decent watermark. Several good graphics programs are available. I use an excellent, affordable program called Paint Shop Pro by Corel Corp. ( Whichever graphics program you use, it must be able to do the following:

Work with text as a graphic

You want to be able to stretch and orient the data.

Apply transparency settings

The final graphic should be in the ballpark of 75% transparent. It's best to determine the actual setting via trial and error.

Specify the size of the graphic

When creating the graphic, it's important to make it almost as large as the paper you are using. Whatever size you make the graphic is the size it appears on the report (based on a property setting described later in this hack).

Save the graphic as a .jpg, .bmp, and so on

You can use any file format that can be used when tapping the Picture property on the report.

Creating such a graphic is beyond the scope of this hack, but for your information, the graphic in Figure 4-16 is 70% transparent and was saved as a .jpg file. The graphic is about 4 x 7 inches. Figure 4-17 shows how the graphics file appears on its own.

Figure 4-17. The watermark as a graphics file

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