Zoho Reports: Email your Business Dashboards as PDF

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Creating business dashboards have always been easy with Zoho Reports. Dashboards thus created can be shared and accessed from web URLs. But you may have clients (or colleagues) who would like to view the dashboards as PDF files. Now, how nice would it be if your dashboards were to be emailed as beautifully formatted PDFs with your own company’s logo?

Till recently, it was possible only for individual reports to be exported/mailed as PDF. Now, dashboards can be exported/emailed as PDF too.

You can even schedule the dashboard PDF files to be emailed at regular intervals using the scheduled emailing of reports feature.

Note: The PDF generation is optimized for charts. Just make sure that the dashboards you convert as PDF don’t contain large data tables.

Case Study: Measuring Marketing Effectiveness with Zoho Reports

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An important part of every marketer’s job is to know how each of his/her campaigns are performing. “What’s the ROI (return on investment) from this campaign?” is a question in every marketer’s mind. Based on that, the marketer proceeds with making decisions on which campaigns to continue and which ones to stop.


Chris Swanson is the owner of BMA Marketing, a firm that manages paper coupon programs for bowling centers. As a marketer, Chris was interested in knowing the returns each of his campaigns generate. He not only studies the returns, but also shares the info transparently with all his clients. This is crucial for his clients as they get to know how the coupon campaign that Chris is running for them is performing.

For analysis and easy sharing of the marketing campaign info, Chris tried various options but each had their own difficulties. He searched for a solution that will allow him to share the campaign results with his clients in the easiest way possible. And he finally zeroed in on Zoho Reports. Says Chris,

The thing I like most with Zoho Reports is the ability to have my reports hosted on the web instead of having to create reports using PDF files or other formats that must then be attached to emails and sent to clients who may or may not be able to even open the file. Now I simply email my clients a URL that they can click to instantly view their own custom Zoho report.

Read in detail about the problems Chris faced, the ideal solution he was searching for and how Zoho Reports became the answer for him and his clients to know how their coupon campaigns are performing.

The Smart Way to Share your Business Reports

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Consider this. You have created a beautiful monthly financial report using Zoho Reports, that you need to share with your CEO and the various business heads of regions. The CEO would like to see the data across regions while the regional heads would like to see the data from his/her own region alone. Previously, you would have made multiple copies of the report you created and shared a report each, to your CEO and to each business head. Now, this has been made simpler. You can apply filter criteria for each of the users you are sharing the report with and achieve it all with just a single report. This brings in two big benefits:

  • Avoid unnecessary crowding of reports due to duplication
  • More fine-grained control over data that is being shared

Filter Criteria‘ is accessible from the Sharing wizard. You can refer to the help documentation here. Use the new sharing filter criteria in Zoho Reports and see many of your old duplicated reports all cleaned up. Let us know how it goes.

Visualize your data better: Conditional formatting and more!

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A chart makes it easy to see a trend over time or to compare how different figures stack up. To achieve a similar effect with plain tabular data is difficult, but not impossible! That’s what conditional formatting in Zoho Reports achieves.

Conditional Formatting of Tabular Data

You often see conditional formatting applied to financial data, where positive values are typically in green and negative values in red. A similar example below, where we show the best ‘CTR’s in green, the bad ones in red and the intermediate ones in yellow. You can apply color to the cell background and to the font (‘Clicks’ column in the below example).

Definitely easy to identify outliers and easy to comprehend, right? Zoho Reports now supports conditional formatting in base tables and query tables. We will be extending it to pivot and summary tables soon. You can access conditional formatting by right-clicking on a column.

Area and Stacked Area Charts

We have been continuously adding new chart types. The latest ones to come in are area and stacked area charts.


Try conditional formatting and area charts in Zoho Reports and let us know your feedback comments.

Stay on Top of your Numbers With Scheduled Reports

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So, you have brought in all the relevant data from the diverse business applications you use, into Zoho Reports, and created all those beautiful reports and dashboards. Now comes the hardest part. How do you share them with your colleagues/clients and make them consume the reports/dashboards regularly? This is where scheduled emailing of reports comes in handy.

You can create appropriate schedules based on the reports you need to share. Say, you can create a schedule that will mail a bunch of monthly reports to your CEO every first of the month. Or a weekly report on every Monday to your Sales Manager of how the previous week’s sales have been.

There are lots of schedule options available, ranging from daily to weekly to monthly to yearly.

Try the scheduling feature from the Export menu button. Hope you will be scheduling all the reports you have created in Zoho Reports from now on.

Zoho Reports: Cascading User Filters

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As you get to use a piece of software or application more and more, you tend to discover more and more about its capabilities. A little icon here, a shortcut key there – finding those hidden jewels results in Eureka moments that make you go, “Aha, so it’s done that way!” Sometimes, you may even find Easter eggs, cleverly placed by fun-loving programmers.

Before I digress further, let’s take the case of ‘User Filters’ in Zoho Reports. While continuing to use the drag-and-drop report designer, one day you might have noticed the third tab and asked yourselves, “How different is this ‘User Filters’ tab from the other ‘Filters’ tab?” and clicked on it. Then, as you first created your user filter, it may have dawned on you about how it works and how useful it is for the viewers of a report.

Till recently, though, there was one little niggle with user filters. Let me explain with an example. Say you are a Manager of a retail store that sells many ‘Products’. And these products fall under a few broad ‘Product Categories’. Now, let’s say you’d set up a user filter for ‘Product Category’ (for the report’s viewers to know how sales have fared in each category), and then you’d put in a second user filter for ‘Product’ (for viewers to further drill down sales based on products).

When a viewer chooses a ‘Product Category’ to view, what will her expectation be with the ‘Product’ user filter? To display products of that particular product category alone, right? Sadly, this wasn’t the case, and Zoho Reports simply continued to list products of all categories. This has been corrected now with the ‘List only relevant values’ option.

When a value is chosen in the first user filter, it cascades over the subsequent filters, giving the report’s viewers a better user experience.

Hope you liked learning about how the working of user filters has been improved now in Zoho Reports. If you notice a need for any such improvements when using other features, do let us know in the comments below or write to us at support@zohoreports.com. We’ll do our best to bring them in for you :)

Dashboard: US Economic Indicators

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Articles about the state of the economy in the media invariably feature one or more graphs. Say how the GDP has fared over the last few quarters or how the inflation has been over the last few years. Various government agencies are involved in publishing these indicators. Sites like http://www.data.govhttp://www.bea.govhttp://www.census.gov etc publish lots of such data regularly. The difficulty here is that you might get overwhelmed with loads of data. You can get lost in searching for what you want across multiple sites. So we thought of putting some of the important indicators all at one place, as a Zoho Reports dashboard.

You can mouse over/click a bar or a point to see the underlying data. Let us know if you would like any other metric to be included in the above dashboard. The whole reporting database is available here.