Types of Reports in Excel

Published on
March 31, 2021

Excel has many features available for businesses to create reports to visualize important data. Each report has its own purpose, but they’re mostly for internal communication within a company, ensuring everyone understands the numbers and direction. Excel reporting can help give businesses better visibility on performance, and ultimately make better data-driven decisions.. But Excel wasn’t initially built for anything more than a simple visualization and has since evolved into a productivity machine. This is, of course, due to help from developers building upon what is provided by Excel out of the box. So what are the different types of reports and tools to create them? Before we get there, let’s answer “What is an Excel report?” 

What Are Excel Reports?

An Excel report is the completed data analysis presented in spreadsheets, charts, graphs, or pivot tables. Excel is a great tool for creating reports for your business. It allows you to aggregate data using formulas and templates and put them in a spreadsheet for storage, organization, and tracking. But Excel can present the aggregated data in several ways through charts and graphs, beyond the simple calculations Excel was initially designed for. 

What Are All the Types of Reports?

Businesses run different reports, like financial statements or proposals, depending on the need for certain data. For example, if a monthly financial report was produced for the accounting department, it would be a periodic informational report. Considering the different types of reports and their roles is essential to providing the best data possible to your teams. Here are the top reports you can produce through Excel:

What Are the 11 Most Common Types of Reports?

When it comes to writing reports, it can be overwhelming considering all of the different options. While various types of reports in business differ according to business needs, most often, some variation of the reports below will be needed.

Informational Reports

Informational reports provide objective, factual data to inform (and not propose a solution). These include performance and financial data, as well as many other types. 

Analytical Reports

Analytical reports combine qualitative and quantitative data alongside real-time and historical data to provide useful data for decision-making. Unlike informational reports, the purpose of an analytical report is a recommendation for solving a problem. 

Operational Reports

These short-term reports aim to showcase the operational tasks of the present. Operational reports optimize efficiency while delivering solutions to problems in need of improvement. They help keep track of inventory, production, costs, etc.

Product Reports

Product reports are used to oversee product performance and development. They can manage data regarding sales of products, inventories, and which products are highly rated by customers. Implementing new or improved products would be another use case for these reports.

Industry Reports

Industry reports are beneficial for businesses attempting to get into an industry and wanting to know how competitive it is, as well as businesses looking to set performance objectives based on industry norms. These reports can be used for definitions, key trends, and a general overview, among others.

Departmental Reports

Department reports are used to communicate between managers and team members who need to keep in touch and collaborate on shared goals. Teams like the sales department, customer service, and product development have individual projects they need to work on, and department reports allow teams to share key insights with one another.

Progress Reports

Progress reports give crucial information about a project's current status. To keep track of a project’s current performance, a business should produce these reports periodically. Meetings and conversations are frequently supported by visual aids such as progress reports.

Internal Reports

As the name implies, internal reports are used for communication within the company. Internal reports share information among team members and departments to keep the flow of communication regarding aims and business objectives. 

External Reports

Depending on its purpose, a report might need to be used externally to share with clients or investors for accountability and compliance with law requirements.

Vertical Reports

A vertical report is designed to move up or down the organizational hierarchy, like moving from a finance team member to the department manager to vice president of finance. 

Lateral Reports

On the other hand, a lateral report is organizing and communicating at the same level of the hierarchy, like the VP of finance to the VP of the marketing department.

Each report has its purpose, but Excel by itself is limited in its capabilities to produce visually appealing reports easily. Using XLCubed, you’ll be able to analyze, visualize, and share your customized data reports for your business with an easy-to-use interface, leveraging skills you already have. 

Can You Create Multiple Types of Reports in Excel?

Yes, you can create different types of reports in Excel. By using the integrated tools, you can complete several reports that you need to maintain your business. A few Excel reports you can run are based on basic charts and tables and pivot tables.

Creating reports should present all information gathered on a single page serving as the collective datasheet. Charts and tables are the most common way to generate reports from Excel data. Using the PivotTable tool in Excel to sort, categorize, and summarize your data by dragging and dropping fields is one of the simplest ways to produce a report

But there’s more you can do with Excel by adding on XLCubed. With XLCubed, you have the ability to retain data integrity while running reports, and you can share interactive reports with your team. Instead of relying on Excel as your database, you can connect to corporate data directly.

How Do I Create a Report in Excel?

There are several ways to create a simple report through Excel using the tools provided by Microsoft. This mostly consists of importing data through the Report tool or Report Wizard. An employee might often create a report as a table in Excel. You can also use a PivotTable to import data into a report. Of course, it’s always possible to use a Blank Report to start fresh and input the data manually. These three steps apply to most simple report creation:

  1. Choose a record source.
  2. Create a report using the Report tool, Report Wizard, or Blank Report under the “Create” tab.
  3. Follow any directions on the screen.

Creating a pivot table requires different steps:

  1. Select the cells for which you want to make a pivot table.
  2. Go to Insert > PivotTable.
  3. Choose where you want the pivot table to be placed in a new or existing worksheet.

But the simple tools built into Excel aren’t quite as robust as other options. With XLCubed you'll be producing high-quality reports in no time thanks to a familiar and easy-to-use interface. Interactive waterfall, variable, and other charts allow you to split by any part of the business structure. Plus the data connected reports’ layout and formatting are completely customizable in XLCubed. 

What Are the Features of a Pivot Table in Excel?

PivotTable is a useful tool that allows you to “calculate, summarize, and analyze data that lets you see comparisons, patterns, and trends in your data.” Pivot tables let you organize data by any field (column or row) and do complex calculations. Some of the main features of pivot tables are:

  • Grouping - Break data into groups and then each group's performance is separately examined rather than inspecting an entire dataset.
  • Value field settings - Affect what Excel does with a cross-tabulated field in a pivot table.
  • Top and bottom filter - Compare the top values to the bottom values.
  • Slicers and timelines - A slicer shows all possible values from a certain column of your data as individual buttons. Timelines provide a visual interface for filtering data, but they're only helpful for date variables.
  • Power Pivot - Import, modify, and analyze enormous volumes of data without losing speed or functionality.

But there are some limitations to its use that hinder businesses’ ability to join together reports within Excel itself. Not only that, but there is difficulty with user calculations within these connected Excel tables and the software all but eliminates the possibility of connecting to external data. Other issues with the built-in Excel tools include performance, ranking and sorting, slicers, and data visualization. Simply put, these features just don’t work as well as they should.

So how do you avoid these problems when creating a pivot table report? XLCubed’s pivot table alternative has created a solution to all of these problems and helps you seamlessly create flexible and extended pivot tables. XLCubed’s features include:

  • Accepts the text in a cell or range of cells as an argument to a formula
  • Reports retain interactivity
  • Allows for extensive and highly adjustable ranking and filtering
  • “Pushes” other data or grids to enable data growth through grids and formulae
  • Searches either the entire hierarchy or a specific level
  • Incorporates dynamic calculations into grids and formula reports
  • Extends data visualization
  • Provides truly versatile report slicers

While pivot tables provide many resources and tools for you to create the best reports in Excel, their limitations might make it difficult to produce the best results. XLCubed will help you take your existing skill set to the next level and help you make comprehensive pivot tables and reports.

Expand Excel Reports With XLCubed

At XLCubed, we provide you with the best tools to make Excel work for your business needs. Integrating XLCubed into your worksheets will allow you to leverage the Excel skills you already have to create the most comprehensive reports. By using interactive reports, you can share and collaborate with departments across your organization to get the most out of your data. Visit our website to try XLCubed today.

Amber Peckham
Fluence Technologies

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