Working with Microsoft Excel Layouts

Microsoft Excel report layouts are based on Excel workbooks (.xlsx files). With them, you can create reports that include familiar Excel features for summarizing, analysing, and presenting data such as formulas, PivotTables, and PivotCharts.

Shows an example of an Excel layout.

This article explains some important things you need to know to get started with Excel layouts.

Why use Excel layouts?

Benefits of using Excel layouts:

Get started

There are basically two tasks involved in setting up an Excel layout of a report:

  1. Create the new Excel layout file.
  2. Add the new layout to the report.

Task 1: Create the Excel layout file

These are the three ways to create an Excel layout file for a report.

Follow these steps to create an Excel layout from any report, regardless of the current layout type. The Excel layout will contain the required Data sheet and table, a Report Metadata sheet, and nothing else.

  1. Choose the Lightbulb that opens the Tell Me feature 0. icon, enter Report Layouts, and then choose the related link.

    The Report Layouts page appears and lists all the layouts currently available for all reports.

  1. On the Report Layouts page, choose any layout for the report, then choose the Run Report action.

  2. On the report's request page, choose Send to > Microsoft Excel Document (data only) > OK.

    This step downloads an Excel workbook that contains the report dataset.

  3. Open the downloaded file in Excel, make changes, then save the file.

Task 2: Add the Excel layout to the report

Once you have the Excel layout file, the next task is to add it as a new layout for the report.

  1. Choose the Lightbulb that opens the Tell Me feature 0. icon, enter Report Layouts, and then choose the related link.

    The Report Layouts page appears and lists all the layouts currently available for all reports.

  1. Choose New Layout.

  2. Set Report ID to Report.

  3. Enter a name in Layout Name.

  4. Set Format Options to Excel.

  5. Select OK, then do one of the following steps to upload the layout file for the report:

    • Drag the file from file explorer on your device to the dialogue box.
    • Select the click here to browse link, find the file, then select the Open button.

    The selected file is uploaded to the layout, and the Report Layouts page opens.

  6. To see how the report looks in the new layout, choose the layout from the list, then select Run Report.

Understanding Excel layouts

There are a few things you need to know or consider when creating or making changes to Excel layouts. Every Excel layout must include two elements: a Data sheet and a Data table. These elements form the basis of the layout by defining the business data from Business Central that you can work with. You can think of the Data sheet as a kind of contract between the layout and the business data. You'll use this data as the source of calculations and visualizations that you want to present on other sheets.

There are some specific requirements to the structure of the Excel workbook. If the requirements aren't met, you'll have problems using the layout. The following diagram and table outline the elements of an Excel layout and the requirements.

Shows the different elements of an Excel layout.

No. Element Description Mandatory
1 Data sheet
  • Must have the name Data.
  • Can only include one table, which must be named Data.
Is mandatory
2 Data table
  • Must have the name Data.
  • Must have at least one column.
  • Can only include columns that are in the report dataset.
  • Must start in the first cell A1 of the Data sheet.
Is mandatory
3 Presentation sheets
  • Used to present data.
  • Data comes from the Data sheet.
4 Report Metadata sheet
  • Automatically included if the layout was created by exporting another Excel report.
  • Contains general information about the report.
  • Can be deleted.

In summary, this is what you should and shouldn't do on the Data sheet:

  • Don't change the name of Data sheet, Data table, or columns.
  • You can delete or hide columns.
  • Don't add any columns unless they're included in the report dataset.
  • You can place the sheets in any order, with the Data sheet first or last.

See also

Managing Report Layouts
Change the Current Report Layout
Import and Export a Custom Report or Document Layout
Working with Reports, Batch Jobs, and XMLports
Prepare Financial Reporting with Financial Data and Account Categories
Business Intelligence
Working with Business Central
Analysing Report Data with Excel

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