Chained Reports combine multiple reports into a single multi-page document. They are a convenient way to bundle related reports into a format suitable for printing or sending to a mailing list.
For example, you could combine a report on total monthly sales over time, product sales for the month, and a report highlighting this month's top selling employee. And you could schedule it to be emailed regularly at the end of every month.
A benefit of Chained Reports is that, unless you want to use collation, they do not need to have anything in common. You could chain entirely disparate reports together without a problem.
Making a Chained Report
A Chained Report is basically a list of reports, and making a Chained Report is as simple as making a list.
To make a Chained Report:
Click the New Report icon and select Chained Report. Enter a name for the Chained Report and select a folder where it should live. It does not have to be in the same folder as the reports that it contains.
Caution: A report name cannot contain the following characters:
\ / : * ? " < > |
On the Reports page, add the reports to include in the Chained Report. Supported report types are Advanced Reports, Express Reports, Crosstab Reports, and ExpressViews.
The order of the reports in the list is the order they will appear in the output. Click the Up or Down arrows to move a report up or down in the list. Click the Delete icon to remove a report from the list.
Click the Save icon to save the Chained Report.
Note about export types
If one of the reports cannot export to a certain file type, then the Chained Report cannot export to that type. All of the reports must share at least one export type, or else the Chained Report will have no compatible type to run as. Supported types are PDF, Word (RTF), CSV, and Excel (XLS).
Reports with templates
Template reports can be added to a Chained Report. The Chained Report must be exported to the same file type as the template. Multiple templates of the same file type can be chained together, with the exception of Microsoft Word based templates.
Prompting filters and parameters
If one or more reports has prompting filters or parameters, then you can set rules for what should happen when the Chained Report is run.
To edit a report's prompting options:
On the Reports page, click the Report Options icon.
For each prompting filter and parameter, the following options are available:
All reports which contain this filter field or parameter will use the specified value. In the Data (Prompt Text or Value) field, enter the text to prompt the user for a value.
Only this report will use the specified value. In the Data (Prompt Text or Value) field, enter the text to prompt the user for a value.
The Chained Report will not prompt for a value for this filter or parameter. In the Data (Prompt Text or Value) field, enter the value to use.
Tip: Values for prompting filters and parameters cannot be set when scheduling a Chained Report. If a Chained Report is intended to be scheduled, use the Assign Value option to specify values.
Chained Report options
The Options page contains the following options:
Default Export Type
Select the file type to which the Chained Report will export by default. Available types are limited by report export restrictions, and by the Allowed Export Types option. HTML is not supported.
Uses the environment's default export type.
Allowed Export Types
Select which file types the Chained Report is allowed to export to. You must select at least one type.
No Data Qualified Action
If a report has no data, choose what to display:
Show the report without any data in it.
Show nothing, and move on to the next report.
Collate Reports on
Select whether to collate the Chained Report, and which data field to use. This option is disabled if the reports have no common data fields. See Collating reports.
Page break after each report
Select whether to start a new page after every report. This only affects PDF and RTF files.
Collation breaks up the reports in the Chained Report by a specified sort field, and then groups together the reports by each instance of the sort. Essentially, this turns a sort field into a common grouping for the reports, working in much the same way a group section would. This can allow you to use individual reports as pieces in a composite report.
Order of reports in a collated Chained Report
Report 1, filtered by group 1
Report 2, filtered by group 1
Report 1, filtered by group 2
Report 2, filtered by group 2
and so on.
Some common uses for Chained Report collation include:
Grouping disparate reports by order number, or employee number, or something else in common
Combining mostly identical reports, only with different filters or joins, into a composite report
Making a composite report with multiples of a feature which normal reports can only have one of, such as a detail section
Caution: Collation is recommended for advanced users only.