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Salesforce.com for Dummies: Ch. 15, Analyzing Data with Reports

In Chapter 15, "Analyzing Data with Reports" get advice on how to define, create, print, analyze, export and organize your reports using Salesforce.com.

Building a report from scratch 

And unlike other applications where the business users often have to spend precious time relying on more technical people to build their custom reports, you can do this all by yourself in minutes.

Thomas Wong, Salesforce.com for Dummies

You don't have to be a technical guru to create a report in salesforce.com. Just make sure you can articulate a question that you're trying to answer, and then salesforce.com's Report Wizard will guide you through the steps for creating a custom report that will help you answer the question. Anyone who can view the Reports tab can create a custom report. Whether you can make it public or just private depends on permissions.

To create a report from scratch, click the Reports tab and follow these steps:

1. Click the Create New Custom Report button.

The Report Wizard page appears.

2. Select the data type you want to report on, and then click Next.

You do this by first selecting the basic type of data from the drop-down list and then being more specific in the dependent list box. When you click Next, Step 1 of the wizard appears.

3. Select the radio button for the type of report that you want. You have three options:

  • Tabular Reports provide the most basic way to look at your data in a tabular format.
  • Summary Reports allow you to view your data with subtotals and other summary information.
  • Matrix Reports enable you to create reports in grids against both horizontal and vertical categories. This type of report is particularly helpful for comparing related totals, especially if you're trying to summarize large amounts of data. For example, the standard report called Sales to Date versus Last Month (located in the Opportunity and Forecast Reports folder) is a matrix report that summarizes new sales by month vertically and also by close date horizontally.

4. When you're done, select the Select Columns option from the Jump to Step drop-down list in the top-right corner, and then click Next.

The Select the Report Columns page appears. 

The report type that you select dictates how many of the seven possible Report Wizard steps you see and the order that they're presented in the wizard. For example, if you selected the Matrix Report radio button in Step 3 of this list, the next step out of seven is Select Groupings. But if you select the Tabular Reports radio button, the next step is Select Columns, and you have only five steps. And at any time, you can use the Jump to Step drop-down list to skip around the wizard.

5. Select the check boxes for the columns that you want in your report.

Depending on the data type you chose, the Select the Report Columns page displays standard and then custom fields divided into sections, as shown in the example in Figure 15-4.

6. When you're done, select the Select Columns to Total option from the Jump to Step drop-down list.

A wizard page appears with the columns that can be totaled (such as currencies, amounts, and percentages) based on the columns you selected in Step 5 of this list.

7. Select check boxes for columns that you want summarized and how you want them summarized.

Salesforce.com provides you options for summing, averaging, and choosing highest or lowest values. For example, on an activity report, you could use averaging to measure the average duration of an activity, as shown in the example in Figure 15-5.

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