The Context of Your Business Data: Attributes » Using attributes to browse and report on data

Using attributes to browse and report on data

Once attributes are built, they are used in two primary ways, browsing and reporting. Users browse through attributes to locate an attribute to use on a report, and users place an attribute on a report to display details about the particular attribute and how it relates to fact data. Each attribute can be displayed in a variety of forms so you must specify the default display of each of the attributes in the project. You can do this on a report-by-report basis, but you still must specify the global, or project-wide, default for each attribute.

You must choose a default attribute display for browsing and another for reporting. Report display forms are the attribute forms that appear as columns in a completed report. Browse forms are the attribute forms that appear as a user browses through the element list of an attribute in the Data Explorer in a project. Therefore, browse forms identify attribute elements. This separation allows for greater attribute display flexibility depending on the application.

The browse forms of the attribute are also used to display the attribute elements in the prompt details auto text code of a Report Services document. For information on creating Report Services documents, see the Document Creation Guide.

When creating attributes, all forms are included as report display forms and browse forms by default. The only exception is if you create multiple attribute forms, the first form you create is not included as a report display or browse form.

An attribute’s report display forms determine which attribute forms are displayed by default when the report is executed. By selecting different forms for the attribute, you select a different set of values for display. For example, a report includes Region as an attribute. If ID is selected as the attribute form, the display could be a number such as four. If Description is selected as the attribute form, the display could be a name, such as Northwest. If a report lists the cities in which you have stores, then you might choose to display the Long Description form, such as Chicago, instead of the URL attribute form, that is, www.chicago.com.

You can also select which attribute forms are retrieved with the report results but not displayed on the grid. These browse forms are found in the Report Objects pane. In Grid view, you can add the attribute forms in Report Objects to the report without re-executing the report. For example you can include a cities URL attribute form as a browse attribute form so that your users can choose to display the form on a report.

To modify the attribute forms displayed, you can:

Right-click an attribute on a report or template and select the desired attribute forms
From the Data menu, select Attribute Display to open the Attribute Display dialog box

For steps to display attribute forms on a report or template, see the online help and the section below.