Documentation

Customizing reports

Every report that ships with AbleOrganizer is built to be customized. In general, this means you have the ability to control some or all of the following characteristics of each report.

  • The specific widgets used in the layout of each report.
  • The colors used to display charts and graphs, specific to each feature.
  • The presence of legends, labels, tick marks and the like used in charts and graphs.
  • The specific fields that appear in the report.
  • The relationships with other data that exist within reports.
  • The actions users can take on a set of contact records.
  • The number of records returned by default within each report.
  • The way data is exported from each report, and the formats it is available in.

The platform makes use of views and panels for controlling the content and layout of reports. Each of these modules are part of the underlying content management system, and there is extensive documentation available online for how to work with them. This article does not seek to provide a comprehensive discussion of either module; rather, this is a practical overview of how they are used to manage reports.

How to edit reports

In AbleOrganizer, there are really 3 prototypes used to build reports:

  • Those that create lists of records 
  • Those that create visualizations of data
  • Those that fuse records and visualizations together 

The options available for editing a report depend on how it was built. When you are logged in to AbleOrganizer and viewing a report, the platform offers inline tools for editing reports. Simply hover over a report and a set of gears will appear in the upper right-hand corner of the page. By clicking on these gears, the platform will display a set of links that give you options for editing the report. The links will generally say 'Edit Panel' or 'Edit View.'

In some cases (especially with complex data visualizations), you will see gears in the upper right-hand corner for each widget used in the report by hovering over the widget. When this happens, you can edit the specific widget as well as the overall report. 

Customizing the layout of a report

You can control the placement of elements within a report. For instance, the donor details report provides a number of widgets that display information about donations, and you might want to change the placement of the widgets in the report. You can see an example of the report in the following screenshot. 

Typical AbleOrganizer report
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To change the placement of elements in the report, click on the gears in the upper righthand corner of the page. This will take you to a panel editing screen, which will look something like the following screenshot.

Panel editing screen
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Each one of the widgets used in the report is represented as a box in the middle of the page. You can drag each of these boxes around in order to control the placement of the form elements. For this example, we are going to move the 30-day history chart to the right, and the donations by source over to the left simply by dragging the boxes to the appropriate location. We end up with a report that now includes these widgets in their new layout, as seen in the following screenshot.

Donation report - location of widgets changed
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Controlling settings, colors, legends and labels

Most graphs used in widgets in AbleOrganizer include settings allowing you to customize the colors, legends, labels and other elements used in the reports. Some widgets also include settings that allow you to control the range, the number of records returned, and other basic settings specific to the widget.

Each feature that ships with AbleOrganizer includes a report settings page, allowing you to control the general appearance of reports for that specific feature. You can find an example of how to do this in the documentation for each feature.

When you change the settings associated with a specific graph, it no longer uses the general settings for the feature. From that point forward, it uses the settings you have entered for that widget. You can change settings for each specific widget by clicking on the gears to edit the report, and going to the report editing interface. From here, you can access settings for each widget, as seen in the following screenshot.

Editing widget settings within a report
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You can access the menu for editing the settings of a widget by clicking on the gear in the upper right-hand column for each widget. This will provide you with a list of options for working with the widget, which include the ability to remove the widget, add CSS to the widget, cache the widget, and even remove the widget entirely from the report. In order to change the settings for the widget itself, click on the settings link. This will bring up a settings page, similar to the one seen in the following screenshot.

Widget configuration screen
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You will notice the following items that can be edited within the settings for this widget.

  • The title, which can be changed to something more to your liking.
  • The number of days. This is a setting specific to the 30-day overview widget. You can change the range of dates used to for this graph.
  • A box that can force legends to display.
  • A box allowing you to enter a specific height for the widget.
  • A box allowing you to enter a line color for the widget. Line colors are always entered in rgba() format.
  • A ton of other graphical display settings, corresponding to others used in the feature.

Click the button labelled 'Finish' when you are done editing the settings for the widget. This will return you to the report editing screen, where you can save your work and look and your new customized report.

Controlling the fields that appear in a report

Most reports that present lists of records in AbleOrganizer are built using views. Views provides you with a web-based interface for adding fields, filters, actions and other information to a report. You can use this interface to add fields to a report, control the order in which they appear, and control the appearance of each field through simple settings pages.

For instance, in the donation details report, let's say we wanted to add a field for the e-mail address for donors. The report, by default, looks similar to the one presented in the screenshot below.

Donation details report
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Hover over the report, and a set of gears will appear presenting links to edit the report. This will take you to the views interface, which will look similar to the screenshot appearing below.

Using views to edit the list of fields appearing in a report
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While this interface may look complex, it's really not. You have a list of fields that appear in the report off to the right, under the heading FIELDS. This list of fields includes the ones that are visible to users in the report, and ones that are not. You can add a new field by clicking the add link to the right of the FIELDS header. Doing so will bring up a list of all fields available for use in this report. Click on the field for e-mail address, as seen in the screenshot below.

Adding a new field with views
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When you click the link to apply the field, you will be taken to a field settings screen for each field you have selected. This screen will allow you to control the basic settings associated with the field. It includes controls for how the field will appear, what to do when there is no data for the field, and other settings. The field settings screen will look similar to the one that appears in the following screenshot.

Editing the settings of a field within views
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When you hit the button labelled 'Apply', you will be returned to the editing screen for your report, with the new field added to the bottom of the list of fields. Also, you may want to remember that this screen for editing the field settings can be accessed for any field simply by clicking on the field name once it has been added to a report.

From here, you can adjust the placement of the field by clicking the link for 'Rearrange' that appears to the right of the FIELDS heading in the interface (this link appears in the drop down next to the link to add a new field.) You will see a list of fields that can be rearranged, similar to the ones displayed in the screenshot below (the field for our e-mail address is highlighted in yellow.)

Rearranging fields in a report
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Once you have done this, the new field has been added to the report. See the results in the following screenshot.

Donor report with the new e-mail field added
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Adding relationships and doing other interesting things with reports

The report editing interface provides tools that allow you to do more than add fields to reports. This is a powerful tool for displaying information in your website that can be used to control the following elements of a list of information:

  • The number of records returned
  • The way information is displayed
  • Headers, footers, and other elements.
  • The actions associated with a report (via Views Bulk Operations)
  • The format in which results are returned (such as a web page, an Excel spreadsheet, etc)
  • Aggregate data

... and a whole lot more. This article does not seek to provide a comprehensive discussion of what you can do with views, but the example reports that ship with AbleOrganizer include various examples of how to carry out the functions described above, and there is a ton of online documentation available for how to work with views. Explore.

When you are working with a report that displays records, there will be times you need to display complex sets of information. For instance, you may be interested in knowing whether a contact has a user account, a list of volunteer activities for an entire organization, or what content has been created by donors within your site. Displaying complex data sets is an advanced feature of the platform supported through relationships within views.

To understand relationships, it helps to understand how data is stored in AbleOrganizer. There are a number of distinct but interrelated entities within the platform, which includes the following items.

  • Contacts
  • Activities, which are related to contact via the participants field
  • Relationships, which are related to multiple contacts
  • Users, which are related to contacts through CRM Core
  • Content, which is related to users via the author field
  • Comments, which are related to content

Each entity on this list contains it's own fields used to display information. It's relatively easy to create a new view that pulls information about a single entity. When you need to get related information, you need to use a relationship.

In the report editing interface (views), you have access to a lot of tools that control how information will be accessed and presented. To add a relationship to a view, start by finding the RELATIONSHIPS header that appears in the right-hand column of the interface. You may need to expand the Advanced tab to see RELATIONSHIPS, as seen in the following screenshot.

Once you have done this, the new field has been added to the report. See the results in the following screenshot.

Relationships in views
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The RELATIONSHIPS header appears to the right of the interface, and there is a link for adding a relationship to a view next to the title. When you click that link, a screen will appear that allows you to add relationships to a view. This looks similar to the screen for adding fields. When adding relationships, something important to understand is that each entity is related as described in the list above. If you want to create a list of contacts with information about donation activity attached, remember that donations are an activity and they are related to contacts via the participants field.

Once you add a relationship to a view, the fields you can add to a report will change. You will now see a list of fields for the original entity as well as the related entity. Each one is available to be used in your report.