Creating Reports for IBM Cognos for Microsoft Office

IBM® Cognos® for Microsoft Office provides an integrated environment for IBM Cognos products and Microsoft Office.

You can use IBM Cognos for Microsoft Office to select pieces of reports to embed in Microsoft Excel workbooks, Microsoft Word documents, or Microsoft PowerPoint presentations, including data, metadata, headers, footers, and charts. You can use predefined reports or you can create new content using IBM Cognos PowerPlay® Web, or IBM Cognos Analytics - Reporting.

Note: Note that to access PowerPlay content, your administrator must configure PowerPlay to work with IBM Cognos Analytics. PowerPlay content that is published only to Upfront is not available to IBM Cognos for Microsoft Office.

Because IBM Cognos for Microsoft Office cannot fully convert highly formatted reports into Excel or other Microsoft document output types, you may not get the results that you want.

To create effective reports for IBM Cognos for Microsoft Office, follow these recommendations:

  • Create content to meet specific Microsoft Office integration needs.

    For example, in IBM Cognos Analytics, many options are available to format data. Use less formatting to make data more accessible to Office applications.

  • Organize reports.

    You can publish workbooks to the Cognos Analytics portal and organize them with your reports in Team content or My content. For more information, see the IBM Cognos Analytics Getting Started Guide. By organizing your content, you can quickly retrieve the information that you want.

    Tip: Workbooks, documents, and presentations that are enabled for IBM Cognos for Microsoft Office are identified by their own unique icons, helping you to distinguish them from other types of files.
  • Optimize report templates for Microsoft Office.

    If you rely on IT personnel or other report authors to create content, request report templates that are optimized for your Microsoft Office integration needs. You may want to request only the data elements or queries that you need and request minimal formatting so that you can more easily use Microsoft Office formatting capabilities with the IBM Cognos content. For example, reports authored in Cognos Analytics - Reporting can contain list objects embedded within list objects with specific formatting applied. When converted to the tabular representation available in Excel, these reports may not be rendered in the same way in which they appear in IBM Cognos Analytics.

  • Format elements in the Office application.

    Instead of formatting objects in IBM Cognos Analytics, add the formatting in the Office application. By applying less formatting in IBM Cognos Analytics, you can import more data into the desired locations.

  • Label report elements using descriptive names.

    This practice makes them more easier to find after you import them. Examples of report elements include lists, crosstabs, and charts.

  • Do not nest report objects.

    If you nested report objects, some objects may not appear in the correct location, or they may not appear at all. In addition, nesting report objects may cause the following error message to appear:

    RDS-ERR-1000 Report Data Service could not process from the content provider.

    For example, this error occurs if a repeater or repeater table is inside a block or table. It also appears when layout objects, such as lists, crosstabs, and charts, are in a conditional block that is inside another block or table.

  • Keep table sizes small.

    For example, because of the size of slides, the maximum number of rows and columns that you can have in Microsoft PowerPoint tables is 25. Although Word and Excel permit larger tables, it takes more time to download and render them.

  • Use images with transparent backgrounds.

    The background will show through the image in the Office application, making the image look like part of the presentation. If you want, you can then supply your own background color.

  • Specify the height and width of images in a list.

    This practice ensures that the image appears in the correct size in the Office application.

  • Remember that graphs and charts are imported as images.

    Images in IBM Cognos Analytics have image maps associated with them to enable tooltips and hotspots. IBM Cognos Analytics for Microsoft Office cannot import tooltips and hotspots into Office applications.

  • Consider the additional limitations that exist when producing reports in Excel format.