I am trying to figure out how to manipulate a crosstab in jaspersoft. Can I alter the crosstab in the designeror should I always go through the properties. If I change the crosstab in the designer the columns/rows get completly messed up.
Here's what I recommend. Via the Outline view, select the column header or row header you want to adjust, and then once the row or column is highlighted on the design editor, you can drag the size to meet your needs. It comes with practice, and I'll admit it's not intuitive. Reordering row groups, or adding/removing a measure is definitely a pain, at times I've had to recreate the crosstab from scratch.
Best advice I can give is to get your columns, rows, and measures in place via the wizard, and get them how you want them before you do any extensive formatting or manipulation on those objects.