Joining Tables

Joining Tables

In a reporting system often you might require combining data from two or more tables to get the required information for analysis and reporting. To retrieve data from two or more tables, you have to combine the tables through the operation known as "Joining of tables". Joining is a method of establishing a relationship between tables using a common column.
In Zoho Reports you can join tables to create reports using one of the following two methods.

Auto-Joining Tables

(Watch Auto-Join Tables & Create Report s Video)

When you want to create reports using data spanning across multiple tables, Zoho Reports provides you with a special feature called Auto-Join. This feature automatically joins tables when creating reports, if the tables are connected using a Lookup column. For this feature to work, you need to specify that two tables are related using the Lookup column. To define a lookup relationship between two tables, it is essential that the tables have at least one column which is common between them. Let's look at this further with an example.

Here's an example to illustrate how to define lookup columns and how Auto-Join combines tables while creating reports, based on lookup relationship

"Store Sales Workspace" Model:

In the Store Sales Workspace model given above, the Sales and Sales Person tables have a common column called Sales Person ID. In the 'Sales' table, every sale is associated to the Sales Person Id, who did the sale. In the 'Sales Person' table, each salesperson is identified by a unique id specified in the column Sales Person ID. Similarly, Sales and Product Details tables have a common column called Product_ID. In the 'Sales' table, each sale is associated with a product identified by the column Product_ID. In the Product table each product is identified by a unique id specified in the column Product_ID.

Given these related columns, we can define lookup relationship between Sales and Sales Person table through the column Sales Person ID. Similarly, between Sales and Product Details tables a lookup relationship can be established based on the common column Product_ID. Once the lookup column relationship is defined Zoho Reports will automatically join data from these tables using the Auto-join feature when you start creating reports based on these tables.

Defining Lookup

Here's how the lookup relationship is defined.
It is assumed that the above Store Sales Workspace has already been created with the corresponding tables in Zoho Reports. Let's start defining lookup between Sales and Sales Person tables through the common column Sales Person ID.

  • From the Explorer tab of the Workspace, open Sales table and click Edit Design button on the toolbar.
  • Click on the cell at the intersection of Sales Person ID and Lookup Column. You will see a list of all the tables and their columns in the Workspace as shown below under drop-down list. Select Sales Person ID in Sales Person table.

You can also create a lookup coloumn by following the below steps:

  • Open the corresponding table, right click the column header and select Change to Lookup Column.
  • In the Change to Lookup Column dialog that opens, select the column to look up.

Now, a relationship between Sales and Sales Person tables is established through the lookup column Sales Person ID. Here we call the Sales table as the child table to Sales Persons table, since the Sales table is looking up a column from Sales Person table which is termed as the parent.

Similarly we can define the lookup relationship between Sales and Product Details tables using the Product Id column. Here the lookup column is defined for the Sales table (child table), with Product Details table which is the parent.

Creating Report using Auto-Join

Once tables are related with each other using lookup columns, you can create the reports by selecting any of table with lookup relationship. Zoho Reports will automatically join the data from these tables and generate the report, when you drag and drop columns from across tables.
Here's how the Sales by each Sales Person chart is created using Auto-Join feature:

  • Open 'Sales' table and select 'New Chart View' option on the toolbar.
  • Now, Auto-Join feature detects its lookup relationship with other tables and lists all the columns of Product and Sales tables in Column List panel in the Report Designer.
  • Drag and drop Sale Person Name column from Sales table into X-axis shelf and Sales column from Sales table into Y-axis shelf.
  • Select 'Click here to generate graph'.

The Auto-join feature will automatically join the data from both the Sales and Sales Person table using the Lookup column Product ID and provide the report.

Also, columns from the related tables can be used to filter the report. Continuing the above example, Product Name column from Product Details table can be used to filter the chart data and display Sales made by the Sales Person for the selected Products as shown below.

Customizing the Join type

By default Zoho Reports will join tables using Left Join. Possible join types are:

  • Left Join - Report will be computed with all the rows from the child table (left) and only the matching rows from the parent table (right). Matching is done based on lookup columns defined between child & parent tables. This will be the default join type. In this case the Sales table is the child and Sales Person table is the parent.
  • Right Join - Report will be computed with all the rows from the parent table (right) and only the matching rows from the child table (left). Matching is done based on lookup columns defined between parent & child tables. Here the child will be Sales Person table and parent will be Sales table.

You can choose to change the join type. To do so,

  • Click View Relationships icon in the chart designer and select In a List View.
  • In the Table relationship used in this report dialog that opens select the type of join and click Apply.

Customizing Lookup Path used in Auto-Joins

You can link multiple tables using various Lookup columns in your Workspace. When creating a report, Zoho Reports will use the appropriate Lookup columns (Lookup path) created between them and generate the report using the auto join capability. 

However, in some cases this might not suit your specific need. To address this, Zoho Reports allows you to choose the Lookup path between tables to be used for report creation using the Configure Lookup Path option. 

Let's take an example of a Bug tracking Workspace model. Here the Bugs and the Users table are directly joined using two lookup columns i.e., Assignee ID and Reporter ID.  The Bugs table also has a lookup to the Projects table using the Projects ID. The Projects and the Users table are joined using the lookup between Owner ID and User ID. This creates an indirect connection between the Bugs and the Users table through the Projects table. 

Customizing Lookup Column for Join

In the above-given model, let's see an example of creating the report Bugs Identified by User. By default, when you plot a report for Bugs identified by each user, Zoho Reports could use the Assignee ID lookup to Users table which is not correct as it will provide Bugs assigned to each user. 

In this case you can change this by selecting the Lookup Column to be used. The following illustration shows how to change the Lookup Column to join.

Now the Bugs identified by Users report, shown below, is generated. 

Customizing Lookup Path for Join

Zoho Reports also allows you to change the lookup path that joins the tables. 

Let's say, you need a report on Bugs raised on Projects categorized by owners. Since the Bugs and the Users are directly joined tables, Zoho Reports will generate the report as Bugs assigned for Users categorized by Projects.  It will ignore the Projects table in-between to generate the reports. 

You can change this to achieve your requirement by joining the Bugs and the Users tables through the Projects table.  The following illustration shows how to change the Lookup Path to join tables.

Now, the Bugs table is linked to the Users table through the Projects table and retrieves the data for Bugs raised across projects categorized by the project owners (User). 

Note: You could only configure single path to connect two tables.  You cannot configure different paths for two columns from the same table in the report.  However, you can configure different paths for columns from the different tables.

Joining with Query Tables

Query Table is a feature that enables you to prepare data for easy reporting and analysis. You can combine data from one or more tables in a Workspace and create specific data views using the standard SQL SELECT queries. These data views are similar to tables and you can perform operations such as report creation, sharing, and even create another Query Table over an existing Query Table.

You can create Query Tables for filtering datasets, batching datasets together (union), transforming data, applying SQL query functions, joining datasets and more.

For example, a query to combine the Sales and Sales Person tables and to retrieve Sales made by each Sales Person data can be created as shown below.

The example query above joins the Sales & Sales Person tables. Once you create query table joining the necessary tables, then Zoho Reports allows you to create any type of reports for analysis and visualization over the same.

Click to learn more.