Wednesday, June 14, 2006


Reporting Best Practices: 10 Things Every Report Should Have

Every report should have a footer containing the following:
  1. The name of the report. Give each report a unique identifier in addition to its name e.g. “Cost Summary By Month, By Area” could be “CS-MA1” This is especially useful in applications with a large number of similar reports.
  2. The date and time the data in the report was generated (or the time period represented by the data) and where appropriate, the execution time taken to generate it.
  3. The date and time the report was printed.
  4. Who printed it.
  5. “Page x of N” Just using “Page x” is not sufficient.
  6. If the report is filtered in any way (date range etc), it should include details of the filter parameters in the footer. If there are a large number of filters, it should include a report header page that describes the parameters and the values filtered on.
  7. Alternating shaded lines for the data detail sections (like the old computer printer paper)
  8. Don’t print empty reports. Alert the user that the report is empty (perhaps offer to filter with a different set of parameters).
  9. If printed as paper copy, a URL to the ‘live’ report (reporting services, or aspx page) and a contact email in case problems are found with the report.
  10. Where similar reports exist in different applications, the system name.


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