Salesforce CRM System has recently released the Winter ’11 update and with it comes a new way to build reports. The new Report Builder interface is available to system administrators and any users that have the “Report Builder” permission. This is a great step forward as you now have everything on one screen and you can see a preview of the results as you build the report.
The Report Builder interface consists of three panes: Fields, Filters, and Preview. To optimize screen space, the report builder compresses the page header to hide the tabs. To view your tabs, simply select Save, Close, or Run Report to exit the Report Builder interface. You can change the size of these three panes just by grabbing the border and dragging. Click on the small arrow in the center of the borders to hide the panes completely.
The Fields pane holds all accessible fields from the selected report type organized by the sections on your page layout for ease of access. It has its own search box to instantly narrow down the selection and there are buttons to show only text, number, date, or all fields. If you are building a summary or matrix report (chosen in the Format drop down list in the preview header), the Add Formula function is right at the top of the pane. You can drag and drop these fields anywhere in the preview pane to sort your columns or just double click a field to add it to the far right. Drag the folder to add all fields in that folder at once. The Salesforce CRM system is becoming more “drag & drop” with each release!
The Filters pane allows you to set the view, time frame, and custom filters all in one place. Any changes made are automatically applied to the preview pane to show you real time changes. No more back and forth!
The Preview pane allows you to reorder and remove columns, formulas, summary fields and groupings. You add a chart, change the display options and format here as well. Just drag your fields to the left or top sections to create your groupings (using a summary or matrix format). Select the drop down arrow next to a column name (field) and select “Summarize this field” if it is a number field. The preview only shows a limited amount of records so you will have to run the report to see all records.
There are some chart considerations that you should be aware of:
* You cannot have more than 250 groups or 4000 values in a chart. If you receive an error that there are too many groupings or values to plot, adjust the filters to reduce the number. In combination charts, all groups and values count against the total
* Decimal place precision on charts is not customizable. Currency and numeric values round to two decimal places. Percentage values round to one decimal place.
* Negative values are displayed on all line charts and non-stacked bar and column charts. Negative values on pie, donut, funnel, and stacked charts are not displayed.
* Groupings containing negative values are displayed in the legend, and negative values are reflected in the calculation of all summary values, including the total for donut charts.
* When creating charts, don’t group by a field on a child object then sum by a field on the parent object. If you do this with a donut chart, the total shown may not match the sum of the wedges.
All in all, I believe that this new Report Builder will make creating reports easier and faster. Unless you have been using this in your Developer Edition, I recommend using the “Video Tutorial” or “Help for this Page” links at the top right of the Report Builder page for a quick video of the new interface.
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