One of the biggest frustrations for new Jet Report writers is the dreaded #VALUE error with the accompanying "Empty Filter not allowed"
On most days of the week, this problem can be attributed to cell reference errors, in particularly not properly using Absolute, Mixed and Relative references. Well I say, "NEVER AGAIN!"
Follow our best practices outlined in the video below to banish "Empty filter not allowed" errors to the nethers!
That's All Folks!
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In his article "Choosing the Right Chart for your Data," Brian Petersen (VP of Professional Services at Jet Reports) writes: "Data is the foundation of effective business. ... Being able to quickly read and analyze your data enables you ... to understand how a particular set or group of facts contributes to your overall success and steer your decisions proactively."
He then goes on to describe several common charts including:
For more seasoned analysts, the challenge is less about finding the right chart so much as laying out a dashboard that effectively communicates a broad scale of both summarized as well as detailed information. As we delve into optimizing dashboards, we move away from technical or domain expertise and transition toward questions of User Experience and User Interface.
For these projects, I'll leverage knowledge gleaned from Stephen Few's guide to dashboarding -- "Information Dashboard Design" which was heavily influenced by Edward Tufte's seminal work "The Visual Display of Quantitative Information".
Charts Jump off the Page with these 6 Tips
1) "Brevity is the soul of wit" -- Do not exceed 1 page.
Any CxO will describe the perfect dashboard as an interactive report where they can see all the important information on one page. Translation: Edit. Edit. Then edit again. Examine how much excessive detail or decoration you can pare away without supplying inadequate context.
Your final product shouldn't require scrolling, changing tabs, or (ideally) a legend.
2) How good is good? -- Provide enrichment and context through comparison.
3) Consider providing non-quantitative data
If you frame dashboards around improving a process or keeping 'two fingers on the pulse of the company'; in addition to measuring activity, it may make sense to provide non-numeric data.
4) Emphasize the important things.
By understand how the eye travels across the page, designers can highlight, prioritize and de-epmphasize. This is particularly important when planning the placement of auxiliary elements including filters, slicers, legends and labels.
5) Maximize the "Data-Ink Ratio"
6) Organize information to support interpretation and application
My favorite feature of Few's book was his analysis of sample dashboards, wherein he described, not only the flaws in various dashboards but also modeled various alternative ways of presenting the data. For dashboard developers this analysis would prove invaluable for sharpening our critical eye, but also provide inspiration for what dashboards can (or shouldn't) look like!
Bridge the Gap between Concept and Execution
For those of you using Pivot Tables or PowerBI to access data from a Jet Enterprise cube, it can be difficult pursue the optimum dashboard layout or chart because you're constrained by the limits of the pivot table or data model.
In a previous post: Better Dashboarding with Cube Functions, Onyx Reporting presents a tutorial for converting Pivot Tables into infinitely more manipulable Cube functions.
One Book to Rule them All
Content and images from this blog post were taken from Stephen Few's Information Dashboard Design (buy it on Amazon).
Check out our blog at www.onyxreporting.com/blog or sign up for our weekly newsletter: "The Data Dump".
If you need support knocking out a batch of reports or want to customize your Jet Reports cubes to include some new comparative measures, our services team is amoung the best in the business.
I was corresponding with a former colleague at Jet Reports US, Steve Little, and he shared this fantastic report. The general gist of the report is to Print Mailing labels on Avery 5160 paper for Christmas cards!
If you ask any Jet Reports consultant, they'll tell you, writing the report is never the problem. Formatting it for printing especially multipage printing is a pain!
Steve uses a classic technique described in summary below:
Count the number of qualifying records do display and identify how many records to fit per page.
Identify how many Pages to print, then replicate the report with NL("sheets")
On each page, use 'Excel Number Magic' to calculate which record to start on.
Then use a series of NL("nth") functions to show the 1st, 2nd, 5th, nth Record.
It's really quite clever!
If you're interested in honing your skills for the Jet Certification exams take a look at the use of:
NL("Filter") to create an Array of customers
note the use of the Filters= keyword to quickly select an array of Filter criteria
NP("Integers") to replicate numbers in the NL("Sheets") function.
note the use of named cell references
Steve was so excited about the report, he encouraged me to share it with my customers and fellow bloggers, so feel free to distribute it!
But, be advised, the report would be suitable for printing on one specific type of paper and label size.
I personally am too lazy to make a version for A4 and A5, so I thought, why not find a dynamic way where the user can identify how many rows they want in their report (as opposed to a fixed 30 records per page).
At the end of it all, it's really just the same report with some fancy Excel math and expanded replication regions which we learned from grouping reports -- NL("rows=6").
DISCLAIMER: I am not the originator of this report. Steve Little and his team at Jet Reports US originally developed this report. I'm blogging about it to provide a learning opportunity for up and coming consultants and report writers.
If you have any questions about the techniques used, please don't be a stranger. Email me at Jae@OnyxReporting.com
As per request of Joe Little, president of Jet Reports, I've created this new webinar to review using Jet Essentials NP Array functions with Excel Named Ranges.
If you have further questions, don't be a stranger! Shoot me an email.