One of the most critical steps to designing an effective report is creating the dataset from which the report will pull. According to Robert Miller, Senior Escalation Engineer for Microsoft Dynamics NAV, there are four tried and true steps that you should follow when creating your dataset to ensure that you are getting exactly what you need:
Look for existing reports that are similar, open them and look at the data items to get ideas of what you should include
Look at the source tables on pages with similar data
Consider extending tables or including calculating data in summary so that your reports run faster and you don’t run out of RAM
Only one dataset per report is supported
Leverage something like Unified Modeling Language (UML) to model the dataset visually first, which helps you see the relationships that you need consider when designing your dataset layout
Establish common structures and meaningful naming conventions so that you can align them across related reports easily
Define your data items and columns in the Report Dataset Designer – in R2, you can choose the columns that you would like to apply within each data item
Choose from column sources that include table fields, variables, expressions, and text constants
Establish parent/child relationships or data hierarchies with indentation or data item links
Inspect the returned data using the About this Report function
Remember that the resulting data set will be flat and will need to be saved as Excel to be inspected in PivotTables to verify the results
For some best practices in creating your dataset, view this video:
These tips are all from the Reporting in Microsoft Dynamics NAV: Tips and Tricks session at Convergence 2014. To view the full session, access the Virtual Convergence site.
If you need assistance creating your dataset or with any other aspect of your Microsoft Dynamics NAV reporting, please contact us!