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Onboard with Reports & Dashboards



Every business has questions and Salesforce data has the answers. When you get asked to build a report, the request typically comes in the form of a Question. The questions might be something like:

  • Which products are my top sellers and from which companies?

  • Who are my highest value prospects?

  • Which Opportunities have been the most successful/closed?

  • How satisfied are my customers?

Before building a report, the trick is to take that question, ask follow-up questions, write requirements, and then map those requirements to report criteria.


What is a report?

A report is a list of records that meet the criteria you define that consists of filtered account records. It’s displayed in Salesforce in rows and columns, and can be filtered, grouped, or displayed in a graphical chart. Every report is stored in a folder. Folders can be public, hidden, or shared, and can be set to read-only or read/write. You control who has access to the contents of the folder based on roles, permissions, public groups, and license types. You can make a folder available to your entire organization or make it private so that only the owner has access.

Every report has a Primary Object and one or more Related Objects and is based on Report Type. A Report Type is selected first when we create a report. A Report type determines which set of records will be fetched for a report. Once a report type is created, its type cannot be changed.

2 Report types are used in Salesforce:

· Standard Report Types: Standard Report types are automatically included with standard objects and with custom objects where “Allow Reports” is checked. It cannot be customized and automatically include standard objects and associated custom fields for each of the custom objects within the report type. It gets created when an object is created, also when a relationship is created.

· Custom Report Types: These are the reporting templates which are created to streamline the reporting process as per the requirements. Administrators or Users can create the reports who has “Manage Report Types” permission.

The Primary Object must have a relationship with other objects present in a report type directly or indirectly for the creation of a report.

Object Relationship that are supported by custom report type can:

1. Include all records that have children.

2. Include all records that may or may not have children.

***Once a report type is saved, then it’s primary object cannot be changed. If the custom object which is a primary object is deleted, the report type and any reports created from it, will be deleted automatically.


After selecting a Report Type, we move to Report Builder to create a Report. Report Builder is a visual editor for reports which has 3 main components: Field Pane, Filters Pane & Preview Pane.


There are 4 types of report formats in Salesforce:

Each one is best suited to show different types of data, depending on what you want out of a report.


1. Tabular Reports: This is the most basic report format. It just displays the row of records in a table with a grand total. Very easy to setup, though can’t be used to create groups of data or charts and cannot be used in Dashboards.


2. Summary Reports: It is the most used type of report. As the name suggests, rows of grouped data, view subtotals and create charts are the main features.


Let’s take a scenario from a Recruiting App: A recruiter wants to see the total number of records for the candidates with their job application numbers, associated job departments (IT/Non-IT), status, reviews, and the status of approval for these positions.

With this summary report, a quick look on this report will help the recruiter to hire the candidates and to keep an eye for other job openings.


3. Matrix Report: The most complex report format as it summarizes information in grids. Matrix Reports allows records to be grouped by both rows and columns. It can be helpful for dashboards also; charts can be added too. The most time-consuming report format to set-up as it provides the detailed view of data.


***Matrix reports without at least one row and one column grouping show as summary reports on the report run page.


4. Joined Reports: These types of reports let us create different views of data from multiple report types. Each joined report can contain up to 5 report blocks. Each block contains customizable data, including summaries, and custom formulas, with data sorted by the filters of the given criteria. The data in joined reports are organized in blocks. Each block acts as a sub report with its own fields, columns, sorting and filtering. They are used to group and show data from multiple report types in different views. When we save a report only the parameters of the report get saved. The data is always evaluated at real time (when a report is run). Report can be run manually as well as it can be scheduled to run automatically based on the running user (sharing and security settings).


Every report is saved in a particular folder. Users who have access to the report folders can run the report. Each user, group or role can have its own level of access to a folder.


There are 3 types of access levels of folders:

· Viewer: With this access level, users can see the data in a report but cannot make any changes except cloning it into a new report.

· Editor: With this access level, users can view and modify the reports it contains and can also move them to/from any other folders they have access level as Editor or Manager.

· Manager: With this access level users can do everything Viewers & Editors can do, and they can also control other user’s access level to this folder. Users with Manager Access level can delete the report.


***By default, a person who creates a folder is the Manager of that folder. If a folder does not have Manager Access then it is public and users with “View Reports in Public folders” can view it. Depending of their object access these users can run the report. Reports present in public folders can be emailed to Salesforce users. If user is not ready to share his/her report, then he/she should save it in “My Personal Custom Reports” folders. *Reports can be exported in .xlsx and .csv format. Report displays up to 2000 rows of data.


Now as we are quite familiar with reports, types and their formats, Let’s learn about Dashboards.


What are Dashboards in Salesforce?

Dashboards are incomparable and unique way of displaying Salesforce data in a graphical presentation. Dashboard components include different types of charts, tables, metrics, and gauges. You can customize the grouping, summary, and display of data for each of them. A dashboard is a visual display of key metrics and trends for records in your org. The relationship between a dashboard component and report is 1:1; for each dashboard component, there is a single underlying report. However, you can use the same report in multiple dashboard components on a single dashboard (e.g., use the same report in both a bar chart and pie chart). Multiple dashboard components can be shown together on a single dashboard page layout, creating a powerful visual display and a way to consume multiple reports that often have a common theme, like sales performance, customer support, etc. The Salesforce Dashboard Builder is an intuitive interface that allows you to generate dashboards from standard or custom reports created in Salesforce.


There are 5 types of dashboards components:

1. Charts: This component is used for showing comparisons.

a. Line Chart

b. Vertical Bar Chart

c. Horizontal Bar chart

d. Donut

e. Pie

f. Funnel

2. Table: This is used for showing lists.

3. Gauge: This type is used to show progress towards a goal.

4. Metric: This component is used to show a single number like rand total from a report with a specified label.

5. Visualforce: This component is used to show visualforce component to pull data from other data sources.

***Dashboards display data as per the last run time of report and need refresh to see the current data displayed. It can ne scheduled on daily, weekly, and monthly basis. Each dashboard can have up to 20 components. By default, you can add 8 reports to a dashboard.


The access to dashboards is dependent on 2 things:

a. Folders: The visibility of dashboard is based on which folder they stored. Only users with access to folder can run the dashboard.

b. Running User: The running user’s security and sharing setting comes into picture here for the access of data in dashboard.

Running User can be:

a. A Specified User: It shows the data according to the user’s security and sharing setting irrespective of the security and sharing settings of user running it.

b. Run as Logged-in User: It will show data on dashboard based on the running user’s security and sharing settings. It makes the dashboard dynamic.


Dynamic Dashboard: Dynamic dashboards are dashboards for which the running user is always the logged-in user. This way, each user sees the dashboard according to his or her own access level. If you’re concerned about too much access, dynamic dashboards might be the way to go. With a dynamic dashboard, you can control data visibility without having to create a separate dashboard, with its own running user and folder, for each level of data access. A single dynamic dashboard can display a standard set of metrics across all levels of your organization.

*Dynamic Dashboards cannot be saved in personal folder and cannot be scheduled for refreshes.


Happy reporting on board with dashboards!!





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