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Salesforce.com for dummies: Organizing reports

Get tips for organizing reports in Salesforce.com, including step-by-step instructions for naming, exporting and printing detailed reports.

Salesforce.com for Dummies
Chapter 15, Analyzing Data with Reports

Organizing reports in Salesforce.com is extremely important -- the more reports you create, the more difficult it becomes to keep track of them all. This chapter provides tips for organizing reports in Salesforce.com, including step-by-step instructions for naming, exporting and printing detailed reports.

Salesforce.com for Dummies, Ch. 15
Table of contents:

Printing and Exporting Reports

Ideally, with salesforce.com, you want to run your reports right out of the application, getting rid of that mad scramble of collecting, combining, and printing data before your next big meeting. However, sometimes you'll want to generate a report and then print it or export it to Excel. Maybe you need to run some complex spreadsheet calculations or you need to plug numbers into an existing macro template. Not a problem. Salesforce.com provides you with both of these capabilities with the click of a button.

Reprinted with permission from Wiley Publishing Inc. This excerpt from Salesforce.com for Dummies is written by Thomas Wong and published by Wiley Publishing Inc.

How many times have you found a page on the Internet and printed it only to find that the printed result wasn't what it looked like on-screen? With salesforce.com, you don't have that problem. If you develop a report in salesforce.com and you like the format it's in, the printable view lets you translate the on-screen format to the printed page.

To use printable view, click the Reports tab and follow these steps:

1. Click the link to a report to open it.

2. Click the Printable View button.

A new window opens, and you can open or save the file.

3. Follow the steps as desired.

When the file opens, the report appears in Excel and in a format that's optimized for printing.

Exporting to Excel

Salesforce.com wants to rid you of your old habit of manual spreadsheet reporting. When information in salesforce.com is current, running reports in real time gives you the most accurate glimpse into how your business is doing. But salesforce.com isn't trying to eliminate your need to ever use Excel. Quite the contrary: Report functionality in salesforce.com is optimized to work with and export to Excel.

To export a report, click the Reports tab and follow these steps:

1. Click the link to a report.

The report appears. You can bypass this step if you see an Export link next to a report title on the Reports home page.

2. Click the Export to Excel button.

A page appears to define your settings for exporting the file.

3. Complete the fields and click the Export button.

A window appears, prompting you to open or save the file.

4. Follow the steps as desired.

When the file opens, the report data appears in Excel.

5. Click Done to return to your salesforce.com report.

The report page reappears.

Some companies get nervous about certain users having the ability to export company data. If this is a concern and you have Enterprise Edition, you can take one precaution by using custom profiles to eliminate the ability of some users to export to Excel. See Chapter 17 for more details on creating custom profiles.

Organizing Your Reports

A word to the wise: Reports start multiplying like rabbits as you become addicted to reporting in salesforce.com. Do yourself a favor: Organize your reports from day one and lay out a process for maintaining and deleting reports.

Building folders with the Report Manager

Nothing is worse than seeing a kazillion reports under the Unfiled Public Reports folder. You start wasting a ridiculous amount of time just identifying which one is the report you want. If you have permission to manage public folders, avoid the headache and impress your peers by using the Report Manager.

With the Report Manager, administrators can create public report folders and control access to custom folders and their reports.

To use the Report Manager, click Reports tab and follow these steps:

1. Click the Report Manager button at the top of the page.

The Report Manager page appears.

2. Click the Create New Folder link next to the Folder menu.

A New Report Folder page appears.

3. Type a name for the folder in the Report Folder field.

For example, if you want a folder for operational reports, you might name it Sales Ops Reports.

4. Use the Public Folder Access drop-down list to determine read versus read/write privileges to the folder.

For example, if you select Read/Write, a user with access to the folder could save over the original report.

5. Use the two list boxes and the Add/Remove buttons to select reports in the Unfiled Public Reports folder and move them to the new folder.

6. Use the radio buttons to select who should have access to the folder.

As with other salesforce.com folder tools, your choices amount to all, none, and selective.

7. If you chose the Selective option in Step 6, use the two list boxes and Add/Remove buttons to highlight groups or roles and move them to the Shared To list box.

8. When you're done, click Save.

The Report Manager page reappears, and your folder is added to the Folder menu.

Maintaining your report library

Actually, what's worse than a kazillion reports under Unfiled Public Reports is a universe of reports, some of which are valuable, others of which are useless. Creating public report folders is a good first step, but you might want to apply some of these additional hints on a periodic basis:

  • Accurately name your reports. You and your users can't know what's behind a report link unless you name it clearly and precisely. And if you misname a report, you either look bad or mislead people.
  • Consider using report numbers within your report names. For instance, 1.1 Latin America Pipeline. By doing this, managers can refer to report numbers so that everyone's looking at the same report.
  • Delete unnecessary reports. If multiple people in your company have permission to manage public reports, you might want to survey them before accidentally deleting a report. Although you won't be deleting the data, you might eliminate a critical report that involved a lot of thought. At the same time, unnecessary or redundant reports just make it harder for everyone to find what they want.
  • Hide folders as necessary. If you're an administrator, you can do this globally with the Report Manager. If you're a user, you can use the green arrows on the Reports home page to hide folder's contents.
  • Update existing reports as needs arise. For example, if you created an Opportunity Product Report and used an advanced filter like Product Family Equals Software, make sure that you update the report if the product family name changes. Otherwise your reports will be off.
  • Use clear report questions. For example, you might use the Report Question field to summarize certain filters to your report.

Download Chapter 15, Analyzing Data with Reports

Read other excerpts and download more sample chapters from our CRM and call center bookshelf

This was last published in May 2008

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