Design tips for reports and scorecards

1. Overview

A collection of design tips and brief how-tos for designing reports and scorecards in Dundas BI, which can also help for small multiples.

2. Auto create

You can quickly create a report or scorecard for a whole table from a data connector or metric set by dragging it from 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 drag individual columns, measures, or hierarchies directly to the body region (labeled B to its left) to auto-create a table-like layout in a similar way.

3. Positioning elements

3.1. Aligning

As you drag or resize an element, contextual guidelines (dotted lines) appear to help you align with other elements. When your element snaps into alignment with another, the line turns red and the relevant boundaries appear. 

Contextual guidelines for snapping to other elements
Contextual guidelines for snapping to other elements

When an element in a body region snaps into alignment with an element in the header region, the contextual guidelines will include magnet icons and the elements become bound to one another. Afterward, moving the element in the header region will also move the element in the body region. Moving the element in the body region will break the bond.

Tip
Headers that were added automatically to a header region when adding data are automatically bound to their body region counterpart.

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

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

3.2. Arrange multiple elements

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

Arrange options for multiple elements
Arrange options for multiple elements

You can use these options to quickly distribute, align, or resize the positioning for multiple elements.

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

3.3. Resize to region edge

Double-click the resize handle of an element to expand/contract the corresponding side or corner of the element to the outer edge or corner of the template cell containing that element.

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

Element is resized to the region edge
Element is resized to the region edge

3.4. Resize region to fit contents

Double-click the bottom resize handle of a region's template cell to resize it to fit its contents.

Double-click a cell resize handle to fit it to its contents
Double-click a cell resize handle to fit it to its contents

The cell will be resized up to eliminate any empty space below the contents of the cell.

Cell is resized to fit its contents from the bottom up
Cell is resized to fit its contents from the bottom up

3.5. Auto expand to fit

You have access to the same set of visualizations in reports, scorecards, and small multiples as you do in dashboards, but the table and data label visualizations have an additional option Auto Expand To Fit in the Main tab in the Properties window.

Select Auto Expand To Fit in Properties
Select Auto Expand To Fit in Properties

When enabled, if the rows of a table do not fit within the height that was set for it in edit mode, it will automatically expand as needed to fit the additional rows rather than show a scrollbar. A data label will similarly expand in height as needed to fit additional lines of text rather than cut it off if this option is enabled.

Tables expanded when viewing
Tables expanded when viewing

Content that was placed below this table or data label when editing will be pushed downward to fit the expanded content.

Note
Table visualizations in reports should normally have a small number of rows. For a table-like result that works together with features like page headers, footers, and repeating table headers, use the data labels and headers created automatically when adding data.

4. Customizing region cells

Template cells (or regions) in reports, scorecards, and small multiples have properties available 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 (or columns). Applies to body cells only.
  • Row 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

4.1. 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

4.2. Display separator lines

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

Click the Row 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 expand Stroke to 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

5. Report options

5.1. Placeholder labels

New reports are automatically populated with placeholder labels for the page number and number of pages, but you can drag these and other metadata labels from the Labels window.

Each view parameter is also listed here so that you can display its value as a label on the report.

Drag placeholder labels from the Labels window in a report
Drag placeholder labels from the Labels window in a report

After you drag a label from the Labels window you can customize the text and combine it with your own, or you can add your own label component and set its text to include one of the placeholders:

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 changed 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. 
View Parameter Labels [viewParameterScriptName] The current value of one of report's view parameters. The placeholder contains the Script Name set in the Parameters window.

5.2. Page breaks

Report regions have options for displaying each of its rows on a new page or to display the content after it a new page, also called a 'page break'. For example, you may want the report to skip to a new page each time an outer or parent grouping is displayed, such as for each subcategory of products.

Select any region other than a page header or footer, and go to the Properties window in the Layout tab to find properties Display On New Page and Display Following Content On New Page.

Display a region on a new page
Display a region on a new page

There is another property available to insert page breaks slightly differently depending on the behavior that you want.

After selecting a region, click Configure Group in the toolbar, or you can click the cube and magnifying glass icon next to one of the grouping hierarchy regions to select the group directly.

In the Properties window, go to the Layout tab to find the Page Break Between Items property.

Page break between repetitions
Page break between repetitions

This property is different because it only inserts page breaks between body rows within each grouping, and not before the first or after the last row.

5.3. Show headers on new pages

In large reports, the content of a group of rows may span more than a single page. You have the option of repeating the group headers on every page to help readers identify the columns.

Select a report region and click Configure Group, or click the cube and magnifying glass icon next to one of the grouping hierarchy regions to select it directly.

In the Properties window, go to the Layout tab and select Show Headers On New Pages.

Show headers on new pages
Show headers on new pages

5.4. Reset page numbering

The property Reset Page Numbering After is available on any template cell except page headers and page footers. 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 region is a page footer, it will instead display the original page numbers, and then be reset.)

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

Reset page number property
Reset page number property

6. Scorecard options

6.1. 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

Click Data Visualization in the toolbar to see the Recommended data visualizations you can add, in addition to all of the data visualizations available in other views such as dashboards.

The options found under Recommended include special versions of charts and gauges with predefined options that can work well when repeated in small sizes:

  • Sparkline is a line chart with both horizontal and vertical axes hidden to emphasize the historical trend of the data.
  • Data Bar is a bar chart that normally displays one horizontal bar per row, with both horizontal and vertical axes hidden.
  • Horizontal Plot is a version of a scatter plot along one axis, also called a strip plot, allowing you to see patterns in the distribution of points over time or by magnitude.
  • Bullet Graph is a best practice version of a gauge designed for comparing metrics against their targets and other contextual values.
  • Axis lets you display a single axis for charts or gauges separately in a header or footer.
  • Group Expander lets you interactively collapse or expand the rows in the group when viewing.

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.

8. Displaying group data

When dragging data directly onto a report, scorecard, or small multiple, a data label is normally created automatically to display that data, which you can then customize, remove, or re-visualize. This visualization initially displays data directly from the same group metric set used to produce the rows (or columns) of your view using the data you dragged onto the grouping hierarchy region. This can help with performance when viewing or exporting, especially when there are many data labels.

Data visualizations can also select data separately from the group, especially when they need to display multiple rows or data points within each individual visualization (e.g., a line chart that needs to connect multiple data points).

If a visualization currently displays the group metric set's data, the text Displaying group data is shown in their Data Analysis Panel and options are disabled unless you open the group's Data Analysis Panel directly. You can click Select data separately if you want to create a separate metric set for the visualization.

Create a new metric set for this visualization
Create a new metric set for this visualization

Note
If you are using any filters or view parameters, you should connect them to the new metric set.

Afterward, you can select more data or make other changes just for this visualization. New visualizations added using Data Visualization in the toolbar already start out with their own separate metric set.

If you want to make changes to the group metric set when your visualizations are displaying group data, you can open the group metric set's Data Analysis Panel by clicking the cube and magnifying glass icon next to the grouping hierarchies.

Accessing the group metric set
Accessing the group metric set

In the visualization's Data Analysis Panel, you can also click the hyperlink to the group metric set (e.g., Group 1 - Metric Set 1) as a shortcut to switch to its Data Analysis Panel.

Here you can add more data, filter or sort it, or access other metric set options such as measure formatting.

9. Convert a scorecard to a report or vice versa

You can create a report from an existing scorecard or vice versa by using the Save As option in the toolbar.

In the Save dialog, select the new Type. You can also optionally edit the Name and Location.

Save a scorecard as a report
Save a scorecard as a report

Reports and scorecards can produce similar results but you may decide that the other type is more appropriate. For example, only reports are designed to be formatted into pages according to a paper size with page headers and footers. Scorecards are usually viewed directly in the browser or added to a dashboard, and they can include optional sticky headers for scrolling.

Important
When you convert a report to a scorecard, the page header and footer and the report header and footer are removed.

10. 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:
Phone: 9am-6pm, ET, Mon-Fri
Email: 7am-6pm, ET, Mon-Fri