This article explains how to get a spreadsheet of selected data from a group of membership records as a CSV file. This is how you can do arbitrary reports and export data from Cameo.

Background

Previously, a report could be produced using a letter template. The introduction of a dedicated report template type means that aspects of letter templates not relevant to reports (such as stationery, and the need to copy and paste the result) are avoided.

Report templates

A report is produced as a CSV file (or shown on screen) by merging a report template with a set of membership records (like any other template, its audience, which can be a list or individually chosen).

Fig 1: making a new report template

Making a report

Start by making a new report, choosing the report type: (Fig 1).

The content of a report template should just be a table. A suitable table is
inserted for you when you make a new report template, which has four columns, a header row and a data row. It also includes a couple of example substitutions.

You can add or remove columns as you wish using the editor controls (right click). Or you can delete the table provided and then use the table builder to
insert a new table with the desired number of columns.

The first row (Fig 2: 2) is always the header row, and the second row the content (Fig 2: 3). You can place any of the usual substitutions into the table cells, or indeed a combination with ordinary text as well. However, the resulting spreadsheet does not format text (italics, colour etc): any formatting is discarded when the template is merged.

Fig 2: Parts of a report template

Merging

Having selected an audience for the template in the usual way (Fig 2: 1), you can then merge, again like other templates. Also like other templates you can treat each record as one, or produce a row for each individual.

There are five options for merging:

  • Full preview: (Fig 2: 4) shows an un-redacted example of the table, merged with just one example record, for testing, in a new browser tab. This works just like email or letter previews.
  • Anon. preview: (Fig 2: 5) similar to full preview, but the content is anonymised by scrambling it, again like the corresponding email and letter previews.
  • Show report: (Fig 2: 6) displays the entire report in a new browser tab. (Be aware that browsers can struggle to display exceptionally large reports).
  • Save to file store: (Fig 2: 7) merges, then saves the resulting CSV file to the Cameo file store
  • Download as CSV: (Fig 2: 8) merges, then downloads the entire report as a CSV file.

Merged reports are not stored indefinitely (as letters and emails are): they are generated from scratch each time you need one. You can, of course, keep the resulting file. You can also save it directly to Cameo’s file store (Fig 2: 7) .

Many columns

If you need many columns in your output spreadsheet, you can add more rows to the table in the template. This makes the template easier to read. A report merge ignores rows: it just collates one column after another, so runs columns over from one row to the next.

If you do this, just make sure you have the same number of header rows as data rows, or some of the header cells will be blank. If you add a new row starting with the cursor in the header row, it too will be a header row; adding a new row starting from a data row will add new data.

Only one header row

Only the header produced when merging the first record is taken as the spreadsheet header row. This only really matters if you use substitutions from membership records in the header cells, where you would only see the data from the first record ({insert: ...} substitutions are fine in the header row).