If ever I am asked about the report writer in QlikView I repeat what I was told on my initial training course – QlikView is not a report writing tool. That said – QlikView Reports can sometimes fill a need.
The Best Report Tool?
The power and the beauty of QlikView lies in it’s associative engine and zero wait analytics capabilities. It is in this that I think QlikView stands head and shoulders above other tools. It is not entirely the case with the Report Writer though.
If you like spooling sheets of paper from your printers or sending hefty PDF attachments then it may be that you need to be looking for another tool. If on the other hand you are already using the associative power of QlikView but need a hard copy of what you see on screen with better print resolution than a straight page print gives you, or you want to see all the rows from your table (not just what you can see without scrolling) then read on.
QlikView Report Overview
The basic premise of QlikView Reports is that you drag objects from your desktop app onto a page. To do this select Reports and then Edit Reports and follow the dialogues to add a report and edit it. Position the window to one side of the screen so that you can drag objects from your app onto the report page. Once saved and exited you can access your report from the Reports menu, at which point you will be presented with a standard print dialogue. If your document is saved to Access Point, then the report can be called from there also.
This quick video shows the basics of creating reports.
More Advanced Features
There are also plenty of other features within QlikView Reports beyond what is shown in the video.
For example you can create a ‘band’ over a data item at both Report and Page level. This means at a report level you can generate a set of pages for each Office (for example) and then have each page loop around another field, such as the Supplier. Each report can have many pages added to it, and if you wanted each page could therefore have a different band on it.
Also useful is the multi-sheet setting on a page. This should be checked if you want to include a table which will run over multiple pages. Be careful placing tables in your report with a massive number of rows – on a single sheet page the text will print tiny and on a multi-sheet page lots of pages will be created – perhaps more than you expect.
You will also find most of the options you would expect to find in a report writer – such as headers and footers and the ability to go from portrait to landscape layout. The way you place images in to headers and footers is a bit quirky and you will need a high-res version of any images as screen formatted images will print very small. A bit of trial and error may be required here.
One of the limitations of the tool is that at the point you print you can only have one set of selections in force (instead of different selections on each page – unless you use Set Analysis) and any Cycle groups will be in the state they are in on screen when you print. This typically means you have to create clones of your on screen charts specifically for printing. This approach does have the advantage though that you can adjust font sizes and settings (such as Show Sort Indicator and Show Selection Indicator) specifically for output to a page. What I tend to do is create a Reports sheet in my app and on here have all text, charts and tables I want to include on Reports. This sheet can then be hidden from users with a Calculation Condition. Objects on this sheet can all be minimised as they will still appear normal on the page.
Once you start creating reports you will soon discover some of the frustrations with it. Alignment and sizing is trickier than on screen. Legends can mysteriously appear in a different place to where they do on the on screen counterpart of a chart (and even between print preview and printed page). Also, objects can appear with different relative sizes to on the screen (a simple trick to resolving this is to multi select objects before dragging them to a report page). Despite the limitations there is usually a way of achieving the desired results.
QlikView’s Reports are almost certainly the most maligned aspect of the product. However, it may be the best route to get from your existing dashboard to something that prints reasonably well or is exported to a PDF.
We strongly recommend the use of a third party product like NPrinting for producing static output, but if your requirements are not too challenging you may find that the QlikView Report editor will fill your need.