This guide will cover the basic steps required for creating a new report with the Business Intelligence & Analytics tool. These options should also be helpful for editing a report that is already in your account.
There are four preliminary steps to creating a report from scratch:
After clicking "Open Business Intelligence & Analytics" from the Company --> Reports page, click “Create a New Report”:
This will take you to an empty report, in “Preview Mode”. Next, you will be prompted to select a data source for your report. Check the box next to “Time Data” (which is currently the only option).
Next, click “Design” in the left hand sidebar.
Your new report will include one blank report part by default. Locate your blank report part in the “report body” section, and choose whether you want to make a chart or a grid.
Whether you are building a report from scratch or starting with a template, it’s time to start choosing the data you want to report on.
Note: As a Best Practice, we strongly suggest creating date range filters as your first step when creating reports, so that you’re pulling back only the data relevant to your report.
Now you’re ready to start configuring your report to show the data you want. The basic mechanism for selecting data for use in your report is to drag-and-drop fields.
Additionally, you can use the "+" icon next to the column or separator boxes to select multiple fields at a time.
As fields are added to your report, you will probably want to re-name the data. For example: If I drag the data “PersonFullName” into my x axis, I can re-name that column “Person" by doing the following:
- When you drag a field into your report designer, the “Field Properties” menu at the far right of your screen will open
- In the field labeled “Field Name Alias,” enter the name you want to show on your report
Note that a report preview will start to load as soon as you have provided enough data for the system to understand the basic shape of the report you are trying to create. The preview you are shown will give you a sense of the data only - it is not the “whole report” onscreen at once.
How you organize your data will vary based on the kind of grid or chart you select:
- Some kinds of reports, like vertical tables, will ask you for two things: your X axis, and your Y axis
- Other reports (such as pivot tables) will ask you for three things: your X axis, your Y axis, and the “value” that those two fields share
- For all types of reports, you have the option to use “Separators,” which aggregate your report so that you can see “separate” tables for specific data (example: I want to aggregate my data by who did the work)
- You can treat all your “separated” data as one master table, add grand totals, and export
- You can also decide to add a page break after separators- this is a great option if you want to do bulk printing, as it will allow you to distribute individual “separated” tables as you see fit.
If you are starting with a template, or need to make changes to a report you already created, you will need to use the header menu.
This blue menu is hidden by default. To expose it, hover over the top of the report part to reveal its blue header, and the options it contains.
This header is where you will go to take actions like:
- Entering “Configuration mode” (where you add and edit data and formatting)
- Moving to Full Screen mode (useful for getting as much design space as possible)
- Copying a Report Part (useful of you want to make an exact copy so you can make small adjustments and see both parts of your report side-by-side)
- Deleting a report part
- Choosing the number of records you want your report part to display onscreen
In a "grid" report, you can apply secondary and tertiary sort.
- Your sorting priority will go from left to right
- If you click the column header for column A, and then click the column header for column B, column B will be treated as a secondary sort to Column
- Click the column header to sort ASCENDING, click it a second time to sort DESCENDING and click it a third time to remove the sort altogether
You have options for styling and formatting in the “Properties” menus to the far right of your screen. This is where you go to customize HOW the data in your report appears, and to add polish to your reports. These options are available only in Design mode.
Using the Field Properties menu at the right hand side of the report Designer, you can style data fields in the report designer in a variety of ways, including:
- Creating a field name alias (a name that field should go by rather than what we have assigned it, for example, TimeEntryHours becomes simple “Total Hours”)
- Formatting data and subtotals/grand totals
- Creating custom color and text settings so that important data jumps out at you from your reports
- And more...
Using the Report Part Properties menu at the right hand side of the report Designer, you can style your chart or grid in a variety of ways, including:
- Adjusting color, placement, and font of text (headers, legends, etc)
- 'Choosing Style of Chart or Grid
- Defining groupings
- Defining formatting for Separators
- Choosing display formats for data
- Adding Thresholds and Regression (i.e., trend) lines to charts
- Adding Subtotals and Grand totals to grid style reports
- Styling Chart Labels & Legends Customizing Headers
- Linking to Subreports
- And more...