Friday Feature - Amazing Custom Reports

I know, I know. I went on and on about how great grids were in August, but after a month’s reprieve, I simply must start up again! This time I want to pay tribute to the custom report ability, especially since we have gotten such great customer feedback. Using a combination of search criteria and grid technology, lots of users are creating custom reports single-handedly. Let’s take a look at an example!

We all know that grids can filter, but it is really more efficient to begin the filtering process on the search page. So, let’s start with a search for inventoried fixed assets that are part of the computer group that are still active. This is a pretty generic, but ever so important, list. Here is a snapshot of the search criteria.

Now, I have a list of only those fixed assets in that group that are active. As soon as the list is displayed, I go to the grid and start defining my report. I pick my fields by right-mouse clicking on any column heading. Then I group by vendor name, dragging that column up to the header. (And, here’s a tip: After grouping, I remove that column from the list because I don’t want to see it twice – once in the heading and once on the list. I like very clean reports.) This is really starting to look like a professional report, but I want the columns in a different order, so I move them around by dragging the column to its new location, like making the cost the last column.

All of this takes me about two minutes. Yeah, I know what you are saying: I am not a new user, so I did it pretty quickly. I can tell you, though, I feel confident that even someone new to grids could do this in just a few minutes. Here is a peek at my grid definition.

And, of course, I save this (using the Layouts menu) because I know I am going to want to run this report regularly. Now, I am ready to “make” my report. I select Make Report from the Reports task and voilà! I can print it or save it to my hard drive. Check out how lovely this is.

And, remember I could have selected ANY columns of data. This is really powerful stuff.

So, let’s take a quick review of my steps.

  1. Enter search criteria.
  2. Click Grid as soon as list loads.
  3. Select your columns.
  4. Group your data.
  5. Move columns around.
  6. Make report.

We are talking about six steps and just a few minutes of your time for a custom report, just for you. Amazing!