Create Reports > Using Custom Reports
In some cases, you may be the only audience for custom reports you create from the Data Warehouse. Much of the time however, your reports are intended to provide information for other people. Here are a few basic tips to keep in mind when presenting data to others.Audience
- When preparing reports for others, thinking carefully about your audience can help ensure that your information is effective. Consider what level of detail your audience is interested in. Will they want summary tables or charts? Will they want to see the details? Will they want both?
- Consider what additional information your audience will need to put your report in context. Will they understand the terms or abbreviations you have used? Will they know the meaning of codes you may have included without the descriptions?
- It may also be helpful to consider what your audience will do with the information once they have it. Are they going to combine it with other data? Put it in a presentation? Make decisions? This may help you ensure that you've tailored your report to their needs.
Indicate the Source
- If you are creating reports using Business Objects, remember that the default color scheme of blue and white is usually not optimal for printing. Change the colors to black and white or a color scheme better suited to your report.
- When creating graphs, be sure to include a title and a legend with meaningful descriptions that are large enough to read.
- When using tables or graphs, make sure any text is large enough to be legible. If you are including tables or graphs in presentations, keep in mind that they may appear much smaller when projected than on screen. Also note that in many cases your audience will be interested in the summary or detailed data behind your charts, so you may want to include them on a separate slide or page, or in an appendix.
- For instructions on advanced formatting options using Business Objects, see the Get Help pages.
List the Parameters or Conditions
- Always include a note about where you obtained the information you are presenting. For custom reports you created against the Data Warehouse, be sure to note this as your source. Depending on your report, you may even want to be more specific.
- Be sure to include the date the report was last refreshed, and the time period that is covered by the report. For example, you may have run a report on July 25 covering the previous Fiscal Year.
- Be sure to list what parameters or conditions you used when creating your report. This is important because it determines which records are included.
- If you are excluding certain records (e.g. transactions, student, employees), be sure to indicate this. It is very easy to inadvertantly present misleading information if it is not clear exactly what is included and what isn't.
- It is also extremely important to remember that once information such as a report leaves your hands it may end up in front of someone you did not intend. As the person who obtained the data, you have an obligation to maintain the same security and access requirements as those controlling your own access to the data. Other important laws and University policies apply. See Report Developer Responsibilities for more information about policies regarding your responsibilities.
- Including information about the source and parameters of your report on the report itself can help avoid confusion or misinterpretation if your report ends up in front of someone without any other context.