Report Builder - Best Practice

Using the Report Builder you should be able to generate between 30% and 100% of most of your reports. The final report is still an automated report template, meaning you can add and/or change the raw data and just ‘Refresh’ the report.

The Report Builder can generate an large number of tables and populate many slides in one process, so we want to avoid generating the tables wrong. This makes it essential to set the all defaults for both the report, the variables and the tables correct from the start. This will often be a process of trial and error. OfficeReports supports this trial and error approach by giving you the possibility to create a checkpoint every time you have made corrections to the basic settings.

Trial and Error

  1. Try to set all the correct general default settings, default setting for the variables, and default table layout.
  2. Create a Checkpoint
  3. Make some ‘Slide definitions’ or import slide specifications
  4. If you are not importing slide specifications, export your current definitions so you can import these definitions next time you give it a try.
  5. Select a few different slides of different slide types and using different banner variables, and click ‘Create/Update Selected Tables’. It saves time just selecting some of the slides instead of generating them all.
  6. Check if all these tables are correct. Do they containing means and totals, is the significance test ok, is the sorting ok, is the number of decimals shown correct etc.. Note the things that are wrong, so you know which default settings you have to change.
  7. Revert to the previous checkpoint
  8. Change the default settings
  9. Create a new checkpoint.
  10. Continue from point 3 again.


The first goal is to get a checkpoint which just contains the correct default settings, but not yet any tables. These tables can easily be generated very fast as soon as all the default settings are correct. To keep the checkpoint ‘clean’, we do not want it to contain tables yet!

When the generated tables look fine, click ‘Open and Refresh the presentation’ in the Report Builder menu. Check if some of the slide definitions must be changed. A chart might e.g. be too complex to have the Report Builder do the linking, in which case you want to remove the check in ‘Link’ for the specific table. In case you need to make changes to the slide definitions, export the slide specifications after you have made the changes. Then revert to the checkpoint and import the specifications again.

NOTE: The 'trial and error' process might take some time, but nothing compared to doing the work done by the Report Builder manually!