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Introduction to Custom Reports in NIRS

By Jeremy Bailey,2014-04-01 08:07
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Introduction to Custom Reports in NIRS

    Introduction to Custom Reports in NIRS

    The Custom Reports option allows NIRS users to create, save, and run reports (queries) using the NIRS database. Unlike Standard Reports which are accessible to all Centers, Custom Reports that you create are specific to your Center and are not viewable or accessible by other Centers. Clicking on the Custom Reports link on any Reports page brings the user to the Main

    Administration page. From this page, you may run, add, edit, or copy reports. Below are the options available on the Main Administration page:

    Query Administration

    The majority of options used in initiating and running Custom Reports are found in the Query Administration section of the page.

    Action (dropdown menu): The options are Browse, Download, Labels, and Merge. Once a Custom Report has been created, the report’s identified action will be used as the default action. If an action other than the default is needed, then just change it in the drop-down list and then click "Go."

    ; Browse: Displays all of the fields from the query in a table on the screen.

    ; Download: Saves all fields from the query into a delimited text file for use in other

    applications.

    ; Labels: Saves the query data in a mailing label format. Note that the standard name and

    address fields need to be included in the query, otherwise you will receive a message

    saying that NIRS cannot find a field.

    ; Merge: Generates a general merge document which can be used for form letters.

    Go (button): Click this button to execute or run an identified Custom Report.

Add (button): Add a new query to the system.

Edit (button): Edit an existing query in the system.

    Copy (button): Copy an existing query in the system to modify and save with a new title.

Delete (button): Delete an existing query from the system.

    All saved Custom Reports are displayed under Query Administration. For each Custom Report, the following information is displayed: Category (if used), Title, Date added or last used, Login name of the person who added or last ran it, and the Number of records it last returned. The list of Custom Reports is sortable by any of these fields by clicking on the appropriate column heading(s).

For tips on how to create, edit, and use Custom Reports, see page 3.

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    Parameters

    Parameters may be set for cases when a Custom Report references certain criteria that may change frequently. In these cases, the criteria value (such as a fiscal year) can be stored as a parameter, then when the needed value changes, it can be edited here without needing to edit the Custom Report itself.

In addition to using fiscal year, you might use a date range as a parameter. To create a date

    range parameter, you need to do establish two separate parameters: {{date1}} and {{date2}}.

Note: If a parameter is used in any Custom Report, NIRS will not allow the parameter’s

    deletiona message will display indicating which Custom Reports are using it. Those reports would have to be modified to remove the parameter before the parameter could be deleted.

    Merge Administration

The two merge output options are to merge data from a Custom Report with form letters or

    labels.

Add (button): Create a new form letter or label.

Edit (button): Select an existing form letter or label.

    Copy (button): Copy an existing form letter or label in the system to modify and save with a new title.

Preview (button): Preview the form letter or label.

Delete (button): Delete an existing form letter or label from the system.

For tips on how to create and use form letters and labels, see pages 5-6.

    Other Criteria

    To temporarily add one or more criteria to an existing Custom Report, you can set the criteria here and then run the Custom Report. Note that once the report is run using the “other criteria,”

    it will return to its previous settings. The selection requirement will further restrict the records in the output. For a list of possible values in a field, select the field in the list on the left under When… and then click the corresponding ? button on the right.

    Reference

    As you plan your queries, it may help to visualize the overall database setup by having a diagram of how the tables are linked together. Click on Table Diagram to display some of the table data

    behind the query setup.

Introduction to Custom Reports in NIRS March 2006 Page 2 of 6

    Tips on Creating and Using Custom Reports

Creating and Editing Custom Reports

    You may create/edit Custom Reports using any of the fields in relevant dataset (Trainees, Projects, Activities, Products, and Goals). Use the following fields to determine the report criteria and organization:

Title: The name of the Custom Report.

    Default: Create each Custom Report with an action: Browse, Download, Labels, or Merge. This creates a default action for this Custom Report; if an action other than the default is needed, simply change it in the Main Administration page using the dropdown menu and click “Go.”

    ; Browse: Displays all of the fields from the query in a table on the screen.

    ; Download: Saves all fields from the query into a delimited text file for use in other

    applications.

    ; Labels: Saves the query data in a mailing label format. Note: the standard name and

    address fields need to be included in the query otherwise, you will receive a message

    saying that NIRS cannot find a field.

    ; Merge: Generates a general merge document which can be used for form letters.

    Category: You may create your own categories under which Custom Reports may be organized.

    Hide Border in Browse: In some cases, it may be helpful for the Custom Report to display in the browse window without a table border. Checking this box will turn the border off.

    Hide Detail: If your Custom Report utilizes the “group and subtotal” function (as described under Sort and Group By below), checking this box will cause the Custom Report to display only the subtotal (s) without displaying all the detail rows of the report.

    Distinct: In some cases, you may create a report that displays multiple year records with identical names (trainees with multiple year records, multi-year projects, or products disseminated over multiple years). Checking this box will cause the Custom Report to display such “distinct” (i.e., identically named) records only once in the report.

    Full Memos: Each dataset within NIRS has “Memo” fields that can be incorporated into a Custom Report. Because there may be substantial content within Memo fields, the default format in the browse window is to display such fields in a scrolling text box. Check this box to display Memo fields at their full length. Current Memo fields are:

GOALS Description (M) PROJECT Project Description (M)

    GOALS Notes (M) ACTIVITY Brief Description (M)

    OBJECTIVE Description (M) ACTIVITY Staff Involvement (M)

    PRODUCT Description & Special Features (M) SURVEY Professional Achievement (M) SURVEY LEND Positively Influenced Areas Exp (M) SURVEY Leadership Activity (M) SURVEY LEND Recommend Explanation (M)

    Introduction to Custom Reports in NIRS March 2006 Page 3 of 6

    Notes: Any miscellaneous notes to record with the query. This may include notes on when to run the report, it meaning, etc. The notes will display on the Custom Report’s set up screen but

    will not display in the Custom Report itself.

    Selected Fields: A list of all the fields in the relevant dataset from which you may select is displayed. The list is displayed using a standardized format: the name of the dataset is displayed in CAPS, then the name of the field, and finally the type of field is displayed in parenthesis; for example: TRAINEE First Name (T). The field types are: Text (T), Number (N), List (L), Date (D), and Memo (M). Fields marked with an * are the ID numbers automatically generated by NIRS.

    ; To select a field for inclusion in a Custom Report, either (a) click once on the item and

    then click on the "Include" button or (b) double-click on the item. To select multiple

    fields at once, hold down the Control key while single clicking on items, then click

    "Include" button.

    ; To remove a field or fields that were already selected for inclusion, use the same process

    on the selected fields (displayed on the right), then click the “Remove” button.

    ; To change the order in which fields with appear, click a field and then click the up or

    down arrow buttons displayed to the right of the list of fields.

    Selection Criteria: Once the fields to be included in the Custom Report have been selected, you may select the criteria for inclusion or exclusion of records in the Custom Report.

    ; First select the field under When…

    ; Then select the inclusion/exclusion criteria under Is (e.g, blank, not blank, equal to, not

    equal to, greater than, etc.).

    ; Finally, for a list of possible values in a field, click on the ? button.*

    ; Clicking on any of the displayed values will make that value appear under The

    Following.

    ; Alternatively, you can simply type in a value in the text box under “The Following.”

    *When you select a Date (D) field under “When…, clicking on the ? button brings up a

    dialog window with different options for calculating a date or dates in relation to the date the

    Custom Report is run. For example, the query might include or exclude any records in a

    particular number of days/weeks/months or years in the past or future.

    Sort and Group By: You may control the order of the records in the Custom Report by selecting certain fields using the same processes described in “Selected Fields” above.

    ; To sort in descending order, click the "Descending" option, and then include the field.

    ; To sort in ascending order, click the "Ascending" option, and then include the field.

    ; To group and subtotal records, use the dropdown menu to provide the appropriate number

    in the “Group and subtotal on the first X fields” box.

Custom Report Viewing

    When viewing the results of a Custom Report, the browse window offers a few helpful features: Introduction to Custom Reports in NIRS March 2006 Page 4 of 6

    Highlight: As you scroll up and down the Custom Report window, the cursor will highlight a row as it passes over it. To freeze the highlight on the row so make it visible as you scroll right and left, click the record. As you scroll up, down, left, or right, only this row will be highlighted. To unfreeze, click anywhere again.

Sorting: Any of the column headers may be clicked on to cause the report’s data to be re-sorted

    by that column. Note that blank fields always sort to the top of the list.

    Paging: To reduce the load time of the webpage, the records are broken down into smaller chunks that are browseable using the First, Back, Next, and Last buttons at the top. To change the number of records displayed in a continuous report on the screen, edit the number in the "Show" box and click the Refresh button.

    Tips on Creating and Using Merge Administration

The two merge output options for the results of a Custom Report are to merge data from a

    Custom Report with form letters or labels.

Creating/Editing Form Letters or Labels

In the Merge Editing page, provide a title for the letter or label. For either format, the Message

    Body field contains (a) the text you supply and (b) links to the fields in a Custom Report.

    To insert database fields into the message body, double click on a field name in the list to the right. This will automatically insert the selected field name(s) at the top of the message body; each field name can be “cut and pasted” into the appropriate position within the message.

    Note: The Merge Editing page defaults to a plain text Message Body that does not support bold, underline, or other HTML formatting. Click on the Change to HTML Editor button to get the

    Message Body to support those functions.

Merging

    Click on the radio dial of the Custom Report from which you want merge, then click on the radio dial displaying next to the form letter or label you want to merge to, select “Merge” or “Labels” from the Action dropdown menu (if necessary), then click the “Go” button under Query Administration.

Special Syntax

    The curly braces {{ }} around any text indicates to NIRS that the text is a field name.

    To include the current date in the form of "month day, year" type in {{today}}.

    To indicate that a line is to be skipped if it is empty (such as a blank address line), surround the line with square brackets. Example: [{{address2}}]

    Introduction to Custom Reports in NIRS March 2006 Page 5 of 6

Special Notes on Labels

    The Avery number for standard mailing labels is Avery 5160. If you want to use an Avery format other than 5160 (for shipping labels, file folder labels, name tags, etc), type a standard Avery number into the field at the bottom of the Merge Editing page. If there are newer Avery numbers that are not recognized by the system, let AUCD know so that we can update the list.

    The label function can also be used to create name badges or any other format for which you have an Avery number. For example, to create name badges, setup a merge format with only the name fields listed. Then select the radio button next to this merge format when running the labels.

Special Notes on Form Letters

    The merged query of form letters will appear in a browser window. Before printing, use the browser toolbar (file, page setup) to make necessary format changes, such as appropriate margin settings for your letterhead. Note that the default setting may include a header and/or footer, which should be deleted from the page setup dialogue box prior to printing.

    SAMPLE FORM LETTER TO TRAINEES

    {{today}}

    {{first}} {{last}}

    {{homeaddress1}}

    [{{homeaddress2}}]

    {{homecity}} {{homestate}} {{homezip}}

    Dear {{first}},

    As a graduate of the NAME Program at the CENTER NAME at the UNIVERSITY

    NAME, I hope that you will help us continue to improve the program by taking

    a moment to complete an online survey to help us learn more about the

    experiences students have had since completing our program.

    This survey should take no more than 5-10 minutes to complete, and your

    responses will be treated confidentially. Please login in and complete the

    survey before DATE.

    To complete the survey, go to http://UseAppropriateSurveyURL. Select

    "ST-CENTER NAME" from the dropdown menu and use the following login

    code: {{TraineeID}}. After completing the survey, click on the "submit"

    button to electronically submit your responses.

    Please contact me directly at PHONE or EMAIL if you have any questions, and

    thank you again for completing this survey.

    Sincerely,

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