Thursday, February 17, 2011

Report Views and PDFs

A few months ago, I had a moment of panic while preparing for a district data team meeting. I had created several (many) report views in the EDW to share with the team, only to find at the last minute that I couldn’t then easily convert them to PDFs. Perhaps you’ve discovered this yourself! Here’s a brief summary of what I’ve learned since: 

  • In the EDW, the default format for reports is HTML. That is the format you typically see when you run a report. If you then save that report as a report view, it is not easy to later convert to PDF (not easy, but it is possible, see more below).
  • The benefits of HTML include “roll-overs” (i.e. information that displays when your cursor hovers over a data point on a graph) and the ability to change the filters from within the report on some EDW reports (e.g. the growth reports).  These benefits disappear in a PDF, but you gain the ability to print the report and save outside of the EDW.   
  •  If you prefer to have a report view in PDF, you should first convert the report to PDF and then save as report view.
  • For an existing report views, you can change the format by re-running the report to whatever output you wish by clicking on the “run with option” arrow to the right of the date (in the report list) and selecting PDF. You may need to re-enter the prompt values. 
  • When scheduling a report to run in the background or at a later time, you can set the output to PDF. 
  • If you almost always, or always want the report format to be PDF, you can change the default under “My Preferences” in the top right corner under the little person icon so that reports always run as PDF. 
  • In the future, you will be able to select either HTML or PDF more easily, as well as view a sample of the report before running it. For a sneak peek at these features, take a look at Public Folders > ESE MCAS Reports > Beta > MCAS 600-Level Reports and see what happens when you select a report.
The updated EDW Basics (2-page overview) includes notes about converting to PDF before creating a report view.