TOPAZ Reporter is a very powerful ad hoc reporting tool that can be used to construct a very wide range of report types covering almost all the data captured by Elements. So, how do you use it?
#1 Get Training
The first requirement is to get training! TOPAZ Reporter is quite easy to use for very simple listing reports, but to get the full benefit and to use the many advanced features it has to offer, you will need training. If you have extensive experience with tools like Crystal Reports, then you may be able to get by with a little less training.
#2 Design Your Reports
The second requirement is to design your reports! Map them out on paper, cross reference the data with the Reporter schema, and make sure that you understand the tables and the joins that you will be working with. Then, start slowly!
Build a basic report with minimal data and work up from there. For anything but the most basic report, you’ll be adding groupings, footers, and functions, so get the basic data on the report first to make sure that the joins and filters are correct. You’ll often see duplicate rows on first pass reports due to things like multiple protocol versions in the database.
#3 Test Your Reports
At this point, it’s important to test the report. Compare the data on the report with the data in Elements and make sure that you are seeing the expected data. Sometimes you may have to temporarily add additional data to the report in order to troubleshoot the joins, filters, and other aspects when you are validating your report content.
#4 Make it Fancy
Add beautification and graphics only after the report data is correct. In most cases you need to have the report groupings, filters, and functions in place in order to create charts, for example, so leave these until the end.
#5 Set a Schedule
Finally, add in any run time filters, logos, and, if desired, set up the schedule to run the report automatically. If you sign up for Reporter training from TOPAZ, we’ll share a set of report templates with you. These are useful as illustrations of some specific techniques. If you are interested in training, or would like help from TOPAZ in building your reports, contact us here.