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Learn the various Report Manager menu ribbon functions

When you use the Sage Intelligence Report Manager module, you will see an array of icons on the menu ribbon.  Here is a quick tip on their functionality.

Take note that icons will activate / deactivate based on your selection in the object window.  These icons are available on software using Sage Intelligence Core 7.3 and above.

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Learn how to use Column Variables for more descriptive headings in your cloud reports

Having descriptive headings in a report can make it easier to comprehend.  For example, having month names instead of period values for column titles can make it easier to determine the data a column refers to.  Sage Intelligence now makes this possible in a dynamic way through Column Variables.

This tip applies to: Sage Business Cloud Accounting

Three types of variables are provided, Amount Type, Period and Year.  Their use and function will be explained in the remainder of this tip.  To add these to a report, do the following:

1. Open the report for editing in the Online Design Screen or add a new report if you are creating one from scratch.

2. Select the column whose title you would like to edit or add a new one, and then select the Plus icon to the right of the Column Heading field in the Design Pane.

3. A dialogue box will be shown allowing you to select the variables you want to use. You can make any selection of variables.

4. After clicking OK, you’ll see place holders in the Column Heading field for the variables you selected. You’ll also notice that you can combine the variables with normal text.  If you want to add or edit text, place your mouse at the desired position in the field and type what you want.  I’m going to delete the additional text in my field.  Also note that you can delete variables from the field by placing your mouse at the start of them and pressing the Delete key.

5. You can now update any of the other columns in your report, or create new ones, adding the variables you want and setting the correct values for them. I’ve updated mine to include the Amount Type and Period for all my fields.  As the year will be displayed in my report heading, I’ve removed it.

My title in the Design Screen now appears as follows.

  • The Amount Type variable corresponds to the Amount Type field and displays the option selected there.
  • The Period variable corresponds to the period selector and displays the option selected there. When the report is run out, the period value is replaced by the month name of the month the period value refers to.  Also note that the Period variable doesn’t apply if the amount type is Opening Balance.
  • The Year variable corresponds to the Year field and will display the option entered there.

6. After running out the report you can see the column titles are display according to the variables that were selected, and in the case of periods, month names are shown instead of period values.

If you would prefer period values for your column headings instead of month names, you do have this option.  Check Show Period Number in Column Heading in either the properties of a report when designing/editing it or from the Parameters dialogue when running it.

By using Column Variables, you now have the power to make your column headings more meaningful in a dynamic way.

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Learn how to check your Containers in the Sage Intelligence Connector module

Being able to check if the components of a report are functioning as expected while working with them can help provide a smooth workflow and save time dealing with problems later in the report creation process.  Also, if you do come across errors in a report, being able to test its components easily allows for carefree troubleshooting.

In the Sage Intelligence Connector module, Containers define the datasets that you want for a report.  Once one has been added and the query for it written, two options are provided to check whether it’s working as desired.  These are Check/Test and Sample Data.

Check/Test

Check/Test runs the query of a Container against the database to see if it executes correctly.  To do this, select the Container you want to test and click Check/Test on the Home tab on the menu ribbon.  You can also right click on the Container and select Check/Test from the context menu.

If successful, you’ll receive a Success message.  This provides confirmation that the Container has no errors. It’s always good to run after making changes to a Container’s query or properties.

If the Container does have an error, then a Check Failed message will be shown with a description of the type of error to help with trouble shooting.

Sample Data

Running Sample Data for a Container will display a sample of the information returned by its query.  This is usually limited to the first 50 rows.  To do this, select the Container and click Sample Data on the Home tab on the menu ribbon.  You can also right click on the Container and select Sample Data from the context menu.

This is useful to check that the query is bringing back the desired information or to investigate the tables in your database to determine which ones to use in a report.

In addition to this, Check/Test and Sample Data can be executed against other objects in the Connector.  For example, Check/Test can be run against a Connection to make sure that it’s accessing the database correctly, and Sample Data can be run against individual Expressions of a Container to see what data they return.

To see if Check/Test or Sample Data applies to an object, select the object in the object window.  If either one applies, it will become active on the menu.

Making Check/Test and Sample Data a standard part of your report writing skill set can go a long way to ensuring trouble-free report writing, saving you time.

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Enhance your reporting with Sage Intelligence and Microsoft Power BI

Are you familiar with Microsoft Power BI?  Did you know that in addition to Excel, Power BI can be used with Sage Intelligence to provide attractive and interactive depictions of your data?  A key benefit of this is being able to keep track of key performance indicators while on the go.  If this appeals to you, then check out our webcast on starting out with Sage Intelligence and Power BI:

Getting Started with Sage Intelligence and Power BI

Furthermore, to get an idea of where the technology is heading and what’s possible, we have integrated Power BI with Sage Intelligence for Sage Business Cloud Accounting—with five dashboards to boast and more on their way.  Check them out here:

Interactive Dashboards with Sage Intelligence for Sage Business Cloud Accounting

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Learn how to use Title Variables in your Sage Intelligence reports

Having a meaningful title for a report can help make its intention clear.  For example, being able to add a date to a report name allows you to tell at a glance what information the report is referring to, and having this work dynamically is an obvious convenience.  Sage Intelligence has now made this possible using Title Variables.

This tip applies to: Sage Business Cloud Accounting

Two types of variables are provided, Company and Date.  Their use and function will be explained in the remainder of this tip.  To add these to a report do the following:

  1. Open the report for editing in the Online Design Screen or add a new report if you are creating one from scratch.
  2. Select the title for the report in the Design Screen and click the Add icon next to the Title field in the Design Pane.

  1. A dialogue box will be shown allowing you to select the variable you want to use. You can choose one or both.

  1. Click OK. You will now see two place holders shown for the variables in the Title field.

  1. The title in the Design Screen will be shown as follows.

  1. In addition to this you can place your cursor in the Title field, either before, in between, or after the variables and add any further descriptive text you would like.

  1. Next, set the filters for the report. This includes the Company, Year and Title Period.  Alternately you can wait to do this in the report filter dialogue box when you run the report from your My Reports page.  When the report is run out, the Company variable will display the company that is set in the report filters.  The title period isn’t required to run a report but needs to be set for the Date variable to show a value.  Here you have both static and dynamic options.  The date that is shown will be the last day of the month of the period that is selected.

An example of a run out report with the Company and Date variables included in the title is shown below.  This immediately adds further clarity to the information that will be presented in the report.

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Source: Sage Intelligence

Save time by using shortcut keys in Sage Intelligence

Shortcut keys are common in many software applications and can save you time by making common functions easy to perform.  Sage Intelligence is no different, and several shortcuts are provided in both the Report Manager and Connector.  They are as follows:

CTRL + R

In the Report Manager, selecting a report and pressing CTRL + R will run it out.  This is the same as selecting a report and pressing run on the menu ribbon.

CTRL + C

In the Report Manager and Connector, selecting an item in the object window and pressing CTRL + C will save a copy of it to your clipboard.  This is the same as selecting an object and pressing Copy on the menu ribbon.

CTRL + V

In the Report Manager and Connector, once an item has been copied, pressing CTRL + V will paste the copy into another selected object.  This is the same as using the Paste button on the menu ribbon.  As an example, in my Report Manager I have copied my Sales Details report.  I’ve then selected my Sales Reports folder and pressed CTRL + V.  The copied report has been added to the folder.  Take note that the object that you select to paste an item into must be of the same type as the object the item was copied from.

DEL

In the Report Manager and Connector, selecting an item in the object window and pressing the Delete key will attempt to remove it.  You will then be asked to confirm whether this is the action you want to take, and you can select either Yes or No.  This is the same as pressing the Delete button on the menu ribbon.

F2

In the Report Manager and Connector, selecting an object in the object window and pressing the F2 key will open the dialogue box that allows you to rename it.  You can then make changes to the name and press OK or Cancel the action.  This is the same as pressing the Rename button on the menu ribbon.

F5

In the Report Manager and Connector, use this key to refresh the items in the object window.  This is the same as pressing the Refresh button on the menu ribbon.

F12

In the Report Manager and Connector, this shortcut will start the process of adding a child object to the object selected in the object window.  As an example, in the Report Manager I have selected my Sales Reports folder.  Pressing F12 will kick off adding a new child to the object which in this case is a new report.  You can then complete the process.

Depending on how you like to work, knowing these few commands can make your workflow quicker and easier.

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How to keep your Report Manager tidy by hiding reports you don’t use

You may have reports that you don’t run out often, if at all.  A common example is the sub-reports of a union report, and you only ever run out the union report.  Having these additional reports in your Report Manager may be necessary but can clutter up your folders.  Fortunately, the Report Manager gives you the ability of hiding reports, helping to keep things neat and manageable.

If you have such a report, and would like to hide it, follow the below steps:

1. In the object window, select the report that you would like to hide.

2. Then under the Properties tab, check the Show Advanced checkbox.

3. Scroll down and then check the Report Hidden checkbox.

4. Next, click the Apply button to save the changes.

5. Now refresh your object window by double clicking on the Home object at the top of the pane.

6. Notice that the report is no longer listed in your list of available reports.

Although reports may be hidden, you still have the ability to view and work with them.  To show all hidden reports, do the following:

1. Select the Home object in Report Manager.

2. Then open the Tools tab on the menu ribbon and select Toggle Hidden Reports.

3. Now refresh your object window by double clicking on the Home object.

4. All hidden reports will be shown, and you’ll be able to work with them as with any other report.

Using the Report Hidden option provides an easy way to remove unnecessary reports from your Report Manager without actually deleting them, keeping things tidy and helping to improve your workflow.

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Learn how to edit standard reports in Sage Intelligence for your Sage Business Cloud solution

Sage Intelligence provides you with several standard reports that are displayed under the Standard Reports page as soon as you open the application.  They provide you with necessary, ready-to-use value right off the bat. To ensure that you always have an original instance of these reports, they cannot be edited or deleted in their original form.

Being able to use these as a basis for other reports you would like to create also saves you a huge amount of time, and Sage Intelligence allows you to do this. By placing your mouse over the ellipses near the top right corner of a report, the options for it are displayed. By selecting Copy, an editable version of the report is made and placed under the My Reports page.

Upon doing this, you’re given the opportunity to give the copy a new name, edit its description and select the specific folder you would like it placed in under My Reports.  Take note that when making a copy, you’ll need to give it a new name as two reports can’t have the same one.

I’ve made a copy of one of my Profit and Loss reports, specified a unique name for it and selected it to be placed in a Customer Reports folder.  After clicking Create, the copy is made. If I navigate to my Custom Reports folder under My Reports, you can see the report is there.

By displaying the options for it, you can see that you can edit the report’s name, description and the report itself.  Selecting Edit Report will open the report in the design screen, and you can make your changes.

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Save your entire report to PDF using macros and Sage Intelligence

Being able to save your reports to PDF provides a convenient way to view and share them. Sage Intelligence provides two common ways that you can do this. These include; distributing a report as a PDF using the Distribution Options in Excel once a report has run out, and using the Generate Output File field in the Report Manager to save a report as a PDF when it is run out. If you would like more information on these two methods, take a look at the tips that we’ve created below.

Report Distribution via Email

Here’s how to run a report out to PDF

The Distribution Options however require that each sheet in your report is distributed as a separate document, while the Generate Output File field only saves the current active sheet.  To be able to distribute all visible sheets in your report as a single PDF, follow these steps.

  1. Run out your report. I have run out a copy of my Financial Report Designer containing three financial layouts.
  2. To be able to work with macros, you’ll need to enable the Developer tab. Do this by selecting File, Options, Customize Ribbon, check Developer under Main Tabs and click OK.

  1. Next, select the Developer Tab, click Record Macro, give your macro a name and click OK.

  1. Now go to File, Save As, and save your workbook to a preferred location as a PDF file.
  2. Before clicking Save, click Options and select Entire workbook under Publish what.
  3. You can now click OK and click Save.

  1. Stop your macro by clicking Stop Recording on the Developer tab.

If you would like to view the code for it, you can do so by clicking Visual Basic on the Developer tab, opening Modules, and then selecting Module 1.

  1. Next save your workbook to your preferred location as a Macro Enabled file.

  1. Now go back to your Report Manager and save the workbook back to your report using Save Excel Template.
  2. When asked to specify a template name, make sure you change the file format to .xltm.

  1. Lastly, select your report and under the Run Macros field under the properties, enter the name you gave your macro and click Apply.

You can now run out your report and each time you do so, all visible sheets will be saved to a single PDF document in the location you specified.  Take note that depending on the extent of your layouts, you may want to adjust your workbook page settings before saving your workbook to your report to have them display optimally in your PDF.

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Learn how to quickly save your Excel management pack as a PDF

Do you have an Excel management pack with multiple worksheets and would like to save it as a PDF for convenient viewing and sharing? In this tip, I’m going to show you how easy this is to do.

You have three options for this, but before continuing, there are a few things to take note of:

  • First check that the print area includes your full report. Then;
    • Set your preferred orientation.
    • Set the report to fit to one page.
  • Next, hide any worksheets you do not want to share:

Scenario One

You have finalised your management pack and now you want to share this as a PDF version.  This is easily done with these few steps:

  1. Open the File menu and then click Share from the options.
  2. When the Share dialog box opens, click on PDF under the section Attach a copy instead.

  1. This then attaches a PDF version of your management pack to a draft email for you to complete and send.

Scenario Two:

You have finalised your management pack and now you want to save this as a PDF version.  Do the following:

Option A:

  1. Open the File menu and click Print from the options.
  2. Then select Microsoft Print to PDF for the Printer, and click Print.

Option B:

  1. Open the File menu, select Save As and then choose More options.

  1. Change the Save as type to PDF (*.pdf).
  2. Select the Options button and ensure Entire workbook is selected under Publish what.

  1. Click OK, and then the Save button once you have navigated to where you want to save the management pack.

Having your Excel management pack readily available in PDF makes it more convenient and easy to share.

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Source: Sage Intelligence