You already know Microsoft Excel® is excellent spreadsheet software. Intuitive commands, custom formulas
and comprehensive sorting and filtering tools are just a few of the features that help make Excel one of the most
popular software programs in the world.
But Excel is for more than just spreadsheets. It’s also the foundation of a full-featured, full-blown reporting
program. And it’s a reporting program that saves you time, money and headaches.
When you input your data into report templates designed and generated in Microsoft Excel, you can take
advantage of all Excel has to offer—plus some additional benefits. Here are the top 10 reasons why Excel is an
ideal reporting tool.
The typical reporting process looks like this: A business user needs a report. A developer creates the report template. The business user provides feedback. The developer edits the template. The business user provides more feedback… and so on. The process is slow, expensive and frustrating. But with reporting in Excel, this cycle is eliminated. Because the business user can design reports in the Excel environment, there’s no need for the cumbersome back-and-forth. When you consider how much time this saves per report, you can quickly calculate how the savings add up across your enterprise.
Many reporting programs boast of a friendly user experience but fail to back up their claims. At its core, Excel
is an intuitive interface. The ribbon displays logical groups of commands and features, making it easy to quickly
perform whatever task you want without searching through complex menus. And drop-down galleries get you
to the tools you need – fast. Excel provides you with access to a comprehensive set of tools without sacrificing
any ease of use.
You’re already familiar with handy Excel formulas and functions, such as sums, averages and maximum values.
Intelligent reference expansion is an exclusive feature of Excel that you can use to improve your reports.
For example, suppose a report requires the
inclusion of a subset of data, such as all employees
hired after a certain date. When running a report,
intelligent reference expansion allows the report
to expand for as many rows as necessary, based
on the data being called from your data source,
without you needing to know in advance how many
rows to include.
Intelligent reference expansion isn’t the only Excel-exclusive
tool that makes reports shine. Consider
cell formatting. This enables you, for instance, to
format currency exactly how you want it.
Or take a look at how cells reference one another.
With Excel,you can put summaries at the top of
the table and tell a cell in a table to use values from
other cells, something you can’t do with most other
And, of course, you can use conditional cell formatting to call attention to key data such as numbers greater
than a specified amount or text that matches your criteria.
Many tools restrict the user to what is known as “banding” — when elements of a report are limited to one band.
For example, you might have a table in one layer, text in another, and so on. Excel is a non-banded (aka freeform)
solution, so you can lay out elements as you wish. This gives you significantly more freedom than with
other tools and ensures the final report looks the way you want it to.
No matter how large your final report, Excel can handle it. Excel supports up to 1 million rows and 16 thousand
columns per worksheet. Plus, you can use an unlimited number of formatting options in the same workbook,
and the number of cell references per cell is limited only by available memory.
Not only is Excel an excellent report design tool, it’s an adaptable report output format. Want to arrange data so
it’s easier to analyze? Native sorting tools provide you with a wide range of options.
Need to manipulate that eye-catching chart? Windward’s Excel solution treats charts as charts and not as
static images, so the report recipient can format the chart however desired. You can also easily remove
sensitive pieces of information, such as salary figures, from an HR report and then distribute the report to other
departments. Also, keep in mind there’s nothing inherent in an Excel reporting tool that says the output must be
in Excel. Some Excel report design tools provide you with the freedom to distribute an Excel document to some
recipients, a PDF file to others, and an HTML report to additional recipients.
Is your data stored in Excel? Fullfeatured
Excel reporting solutions allow
you to call that data directly instead
of forcing you to format or export that
data into another data source. This
saves you time and eliminates the risk of
corrupting your data.
Most reporting solutions rely solely on
a proprietary software program. You
have to adjust to a new visual interface
and learn an entirely new set of controls
and commands. But you already know
Excel. You know how to add rows, how
to sort and filter data, how to work with
formulas, and how to use layout and
design tools such as cell formatting. You
don’t need intensive training, so you can
jump right in and design your report.
When you use Excel to design reports, not only can
multiple people easily learn to use the tool, but you
can also work on a specific report together. Excel
2010 includes notable collaboration features such
as real-time communications within a document,
co-authoring of projects, and the ability to
remotely access Excel files.
Are you in need of Excel reporting? Then we invite
you to look at the Windward solution. We believe
that reporting should be simple and that free-form
template design is a must, because you deserve
attractive, informative and impressive reports.
Windward provides a unique experience using
Microsoft Excel to format and edit report
templates. Behind the scenes, Windward’s
sophisticated engine pulls data from multiple sources and merges that data into your reports,
creating a fast and hassle-free experience that can
make generating reports fun!
For businesses in document-intensive
industries, Windward Studios is the document
generation and reporting software company
that empowers business professionals to
create beautiful, professional reports.
Windward ISV and enterprise customers
span over 70 countries and all industries,
including financial services, insurance, energy,
healthcare, HR and technology. We’ve been
delighting customers since 2004.
Our primary products are AutoTag , a design
tool that creates custom templates with
Microsoft Office, and a Java or .NET engine
that connects to virtually any data source.
Windward delivers exceptional support,
training, and documentation, with a 98%
satisfaction rating from our customers. We’re
a Microsoft Gold and an Oracle Gold partner