How Do You Automate a Report in Excel?

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How Do You Automate a Report in Excel?

When it comes to creating spreadsheets and data-reporting, Excel is unmatched in it’s popularity. However, this doesn’t mean there’s no room for improvement. Automating time-consuming types of reports in Excel is one way to skill up your Excel reporting processes. Automation gives finance professionals the ability to quickly and accurately generate the insights they need to keep everything running smoothly. In this quick blog, you’ll learn all about how to automate reports in Excel and discover how automated functionalities can work alongside the Excel platform to deliver maximum efficiency for your Excel reporting.

Creating Automated Reports in Excel

Report automation in Excel is all about maximizing productivity and saving time. Report Automation allows you to take a relatively hands-off approach to the report creation and updating process by using software, manual coding, and other technologies. In the section below we’ll describe popular ways to automate Excel reports

How To Automate Excel Reports Using Macros

Recording macros is a common method people use to try and achieve automation for their Excel reporting. A macro is a recording of any individual action or group of actions that are repeatedly done. In basic terms, when you create a macro you are recording the mouse clicks and keystrokes you use to complete a task. Macro tools are created using Excel VBA, also known as Visual Basic for Applications code.

Downsides Of Using Macros

Unfortunately, macros  are not the best way to automate Excel reports because they often inhibit auditability and lead to errors in the reports themselves. However, data reporting add-ons like XLCubed can help eliminate these issues using no-code automated reporting functions. To illustrate, XLCubed helps with 'automating' reporting in 2 key ways:

  1. XLCubed connects Excel directly to the data source. 

When using XLCubed, your reports are automatically updated by simply changing a filter selection, which re-queries the data source. Oftentimes in Excel reporting, people end up downloading new data to Excel, which leads to manipulation and restructuring, creating an error-prone and time-consuming process. XLCubed automated functionalities fix this issue, providing accuracy and efficiency.

  1. XLCubed provides automated distribution.

XLCubed's scheduler has the ability to automate report generation and distribution in a controlled centralized process. For example, XLCubed automates the process of sending daily or weekly reports to relevant groups as a pdf, xlsx, or pptx. 

Want to see for yourself? You can watch XLCubed in action in our many tutorial videos.  

How To Automate Excel Reports Using SQL

If you are familiar with coding or are interested in learning, then you can create automations in Excel using the SQL and Python SQL languages. SQL was specifically created to interact with databases and improve database connectivity. The platform QueryStorm is an additional Excel software package that enables you to create custom functions and automate workbooks. 

How To Automate Excel Reports Using Python

As a general purpose coding language, Python is commonly used for scientific computation. Python also has many applications in the finance and data science fields. When it comes to using Python to create automations in Excel, the program PyXLL is very popular. PyXLL allows it’s users to create Excel-add-ins written in the Python coding language and intended to be used as a replacement for VBA coded automation platforms. Using PyXLL, you can write Python code to create:

  • Worksheet functions 
  • Macros
  • Menus
  • Custom Ribbon Bars
  • Real Time Data feeds

No-Code Methods Of Automating Your Excel Reports

Most, if not all, finance teams are far too busy to learn a new programming language, and creating macros comes with it’s own set of issues. Thankfully, there are no-code options for automating Excel reporting. For example, our XLCubed platform is able to create interactive reports using any data on any device - with no coding or IT assistance needed. Using XLCubed, you can create highly-formatted financial reports like profit and cash flow statements, balance sheets, and more. Additionally, XLCubed addresses the limitations of Pivot Tables and adds expansive capability in analytics and data visualization. All of XLCubed’s automated functions allow you to become self-sufficient in your reporting and analysis needs. Although, it is important to note that our platform isn’t designed to create custom reports from Excel data, XLCubed specifically enables you to use Excel to create custom reports with non-Excel data. 


XLCubed: Dynamic Data Reporting That Works For You 

Looking for an easy-to-use platform that offers the ability to create advanced reports in Excel? Look no further than XLCubed. As an Excel add-on, XLCubed empowers users to create customized and highly-detailed reports with non-Excel data without bothering IT or learning how to code, all you need are the Excel skills you already have. Read more about XLCubed  or Download your free trial version today.

Gary Crawford
COO, FluenceXL
Fluence Technologies

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