Report design

A report is a tool that turns data into useful information. Careful design can greatly improve the utility of the reports you create. Keep the following guidelines in mind when creating reports.


Before you begin creating a report, clearly state what the purpose of the report is. State who will use the report and what they will use the report for. This will help you determine what information is needed for the report, and which tables the information will come from. This process can also provide an early indication that a report is becoming too complex, or is trying to meet several needs that would be better met by separate reports.


The report’s name is the primary way that users will be able to find the report. Be sure the name is descriptive, and that the report is assigned to a an appropriate series in the accounting system.

Layout and organization

Before opening the Report Layout window, it’s often useful to sketch the layout of a report on paper. You will be able to see the sections of the report, what information should appear in the headers, what summary information you want to include in the footers, and so on. You can also determine what calculations need to be performed with calculated fields. This can save a lot of time when actually creating the layout. It can also prevent cluttering the report with unnecessary fields.

Remember some basics when creating the layout for a report:

Fonts and graphics

A report is a printed document, so the principles of good page design apply to reports as well:

Documentation Feedback