Design tips for reports and scorecards

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1. Overview

A collection of design tips and brief how-tos for designing reports and scorecards in Dundas BI.

2. Auto create

You can quickly create a report for a whole table by dragging a table or sheet from a data connector in the Explore window onto the grouping drop area (labeled drop data here to repeat...)

Drag a table to the grouping area
Drag a table to the grouping area

Dundas BI automatically populates the grouping, and creates header and data label pairs for the columns in the table.

Alternatively, you can add measures, hierarchies, or columns individually onto your scorecard to auto-create a table in a similar way.

3. Include metadata

Reports come pre-populated with placeholder labels for the page number and the number of pages. You can add other metadata labels via the Labels window.

Add metadata labels via the Labels window in a report
Add metadata labels via the Labels window in a report

The Labels window comes with the following built-in placeholder labels:

Label NamePlaceholderDisplayed Text
Page Number [PageNumber] The number of the current page. 
Total Pages [TotalPages] The total number of pages in the report. 
Page N of M Page [PageNumber] of [TotalPages] The number of the current page out of the total number of pages in the report. 
Current Date [CurrentDate] The date when the report was generated. 
Current Time [CurrentTime] The time when the report was generated. 
Current Date and Time [CurrentDate][CurrentTime] The date and time when the report was generated. 
Report Name [ReportName] The name of the report. 
Revision Number [RevisionNumber] The revision number of the report. This number will be change every time the report is checked in, and will be set to -1 while the report is checked out.
Report Path [ReportPath] The full path of the report, including the project, folders, and name of the report.
Creator [Creator] The name of the user who created the report.
Creation Date [CreationDate] The date the report was created. 

Drag a placeholder label from the Labels window to the canvas to create a label component with the appropriate placeholder. You can format the resulting component and the placeholder via the Properties window.

3.1. View parameter labels

Any view parameters on the report will be listed in the Labels window.

Drag a view parameter label from the Labels window to the canvas to create a label component that will show the token caption or the value used.

4. Align controls

As you drag or resize a control in a report or scorecard cell, contextual guidelines (dotted lines) appear to help you align the control with other controls. When your control snaps into alignment with another control, the line turns red and the boundaries of the relevant control appear. 

Contextual guidelines for snapping to other controls
Contextual guidelines for snapping to other controls

When a control in the body region snaps into alignment with a control in the header region, the contextual guidelines will include magnet icons and the two controls become bound to one another. After binding two controls in this way, moving the control in the header region will also move the control in the body region. Moving the control in the body region will break the bond. 

Tip
Controls in the header region that were generated automatically, for example when dropping a measure in the body region, are automatically bound to their body region counterpart.

If you want to temporarily disable snapping to other controls, press and hold down the ALT key while dragging or resizing your control.

If snap-to-grid is enabled, your control will also be snapped to the grid while dragging or resizing. If you want to turn snap-to-grid off, go to the status bar and click the grid & magnet icon with the description Disable snap grid.

4.1. Arrange multiple controls

When multiple controls are selected, you can adjust their alignment using the Arrange option on the toolbar.

Arrange options for multiple controls
Arrange options for multiple controls

You can use these options to quickly Distribute, Align, and Size multiple controls.

Note
The options Match Width and Match Height will match the last-selected control, which will be indicated by bold borders.

5. Appearance properties for cells

Report and scorecard cells have a few properties related to appearance and sizing.

Click within a body cell, for example, and it will be highlighted with a dashed, red border. Then go to Properties to set any of the following:

  • Background - The background brush for the cell.
  • Background Palette - Backgrounds to apply in sequence to the repeating rows. Applies to body cells only.
  • Separator Lines - Display a separator line between each row or every Nth row. For body cells only.
  • Height - Set the precise height of the cell in pixels.

Tip
If it's difficult to click the cell itself, select something inside it and choose Select Template Cell in the toolbar, or click the labeled area left of the cell (e.g., B).

Properties for a scorecard body
Properties for a scorecard body

5.1. Alternating row colors

Use the Background Palette property to display alternating row colors.

With the body cell selected, go to Properties and click Look. Click the plus sign button for the palette twice, for example, if you want the rows to alternate between two colors.

Set up the background palette colors
Set up the background palette colors

Switch to View mode to see the alternating backgrounds.

View a scorecard with alternating rows
View a scorecard with alternating rows

5.2. Display separator lines

With the body cell selected, go to Properties and click Look.

Click the Separator Lines plus sign and select the new item (e.g., 1px Black).

Add a separator line
Add a separator line

Set the Interval to 3, for example, to separate every three rows. You can change the Color and Width.

Configure appearance of separator lines
Configure appearance of separator lines

Switch to View mode to see the separator lines.

Separator lines between every 3 rows
Separator lines between every 3 rows

6. Display on a new page

For report cells, you have the option of displaying the content on a new page, or displaying the content that comes after on a new page (similar to a page break). This applies only when exporting to PDF.

Select the report cell (for example, the group header) and go to its Layout Properties to set the Display On New Page and Display Following Content On New Page options.

Display report title on a new page
Display report title on a new page

7. Show headers on new pages

In large reports, the content of a group may span more than a single page. You have the option of repeating the group headers on every page. This applies only when exporting to PDF.

Select any cell in the group.

From the toolbar, click Configure Group and select Show Headers On New Pages.

Show headers on new pages
Show headers on new pages

8. Sticky headers

If you want the header to always remain visible while scrolling through the rows, select the header cell, and in the Properties window enable the Sticky option.

Enable the header's Sticky property
Enable the header's Sticky property

You may also want to set up a Background in the Look tab, or make other considerations for when other content has been scrolled below the header.

When viewing, the header always remains visible when any of its rows below are still visible. This is also called a 'frozen' header.

Viewing a report or scorecard with a sticky header
Viewing a report or scorecard with a sticky header

When using nested groups, you can make multiple headers sticky, and each header will remain visible when its rows are visible.

Viewing a report or scorecard with sticky headers
Viewing a report or scorecard with sticky headers

9. Reset page numbering

When exporting a report to PDF (and optionally then for printing), a property called Reset Page Numbering After is available on any template cell except page headers and page footers, initially unchecked. If enabled, it causes the effective page number to return to 1, and separates the pages that follow into a separate group with its own total page count.

(If the next item directly after this template is a page footer, it will instead display the original page numbers, and then be reset.)

Click to select a template cell, then find the option in the Properties window in the Layout tab.

Reset page number property
Reset page number property

Click Data Visualization in the toolbar to see the Recommended data visualizations you can add. These represent typical choices for a scorecard or report, and they have been configured with appropriate default properties/settings:

  • Sparkline is a line chart with both horizontal and vertical axes hidden.
  • Data Bar is a bar chart set to show horizontally, with both horizontal and vertical axes hidden.
  • Bullet Graph is a linear gauge designed displayed against a bar with markers and ranges.
  • Axis lets you display an axis for charts separately in a header or footer.
  • Group Expander lets you collapse or expand the rows in the group.

Tip
When you connect the Axis visualization to a chart with a categorical axis displaying hierarchy values, it will display the unique names by default. To display the captions from a metric set, simply drag the hierarchy onto the Axis visualization.

Add a recommended data visualization to a scorecard
Add a recommended data visualization to a scorecard

The options above that directly visualize data will also be available later in the Re-Visualize menu of an existing visualization.

11. Resize control within a cell

Double-click the resize handle of a control within a scorecard or report cell to expand/contract the corresponding side (or corner) of the control to the cell edge (or corner).

Double-click a resize handle to expand that side to the cell edge
Double-click a resize handle to expand that side to the cell edge

Control is resized to the cell edge
Control is resized to the cell edge

12. Resize cell to fit contents

Double-click the bottom resize handle of a scorecard or report cell to resize the cell to fit its contents.

Double-click a cell resize handle to fit contents of cell
Double-click a cell resize handle to fit contents of cell

Body cell is resized to fit its contents from bottom up
Body cell is resized to fit its contents from bottom up

13. See also

Dundas Data Visualization, Inc.
500-250 Ferrand Drive
Toronto, ON, Canada
M3C 3G8

North America: 1.800.463.1492
International: 1.416.467.5100

Dundas Support Hours: 7am-6pm, ET, Mon-Fri