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Building Custom Reports and Dashboards


Eliminate the guesswork. Let your data talk.

Insights lets you interact with your business information to generate advanced reports that tell you the full story. Choose from pre-built dashboards that answer the most prevalent questions in the minds of business owners.

If you are subscribed to the Insights - Custom plan, you can create and share reports with data sets that you’ve handpicked - completely tailor-fit for your needs - quickly and easily!

This guide covers how to do just that.




What’s in this guide?


Before you begin

Best Practice

Create a Look (Report)

Create a Dashboard

Creating from a Look

Creating from a Tile

Frequently Asked Questions


Before you begin


We wrote a quick guide on the terminology & lingo that you might need when building your reports.


You would need:


Best Practice

Before you start creating a Custom Report or Dashboard, there are a few things to keep in mind to make sure you are getting the most out of  Insights.

We recommend no more than 20 Looks or Tiles on a Dashboard. This will keep your Dashboards focused on the questions that they help answer and load faster.

We also recommend that you set your auto-refresh time to more than 10 minutes. Refreshing more frequently will only be fetching the same information from the database and increase your data usage.

Create a Look (Report)


1. From  Insights, scroll down to Build From on the left-hand menu.

Choose from Sales, Sale Detail, Payments, Reconciliations, Wastage, and Purchase



2. On the top of the screen, you will see the default filter. Adjust this accordingly.


Note - If you need to filter by time and would thus need to enter a time, make sure to use military time and replace the colon (:) with a period (.) - so that 9:30 PM, for example, becomes 21.30

3. Then, select Dimensions from the list on the left-hand menu

  • To add, select the dimension - it will then become white and display on the screen as a blue column header.
  • To remove, select the dimension again - it will turn grey once again
  • To reposition, simply drag the column header - for dimensions, these column headers are blue



4. Next, select Measures from the list on the left-hand menu

Measures are added, removed and repositioned the same way as dimensions (as discussed above).

Unlike dimensions, measures are yellow column headers.



Note - At this stage, you will see the column headers of your chosen dimensions and measures together but there is no data yet until you select Run - which we’ll get to in a minute.


5. You can add more filters to the dimensions and measures that you selected. Truly zero-in on what you need to see.

*For example, under my dimension of Sale Day of the Week, I want to filter out Sunday

  • Go to the pertinent dimension and select the FILTER button beside it.
  • The filter details will appear under FILTERS (at the centre) - adjust this accordingly



6. Now for the exciting part, select Run



7. The data will be organised like in the image below.



Note - To sort data within any dimension or measure (e.g. alphabetical order, ascending order, descending order) - click on the row header.
Note - You can delete or replace a dimension or measure at any stage.


8. It’s time to make your data come alive! Select Visualisation and choose from the options.

You will be prompted if the Visualisation is not compatible with your data sets

Note - Having too many dimensions and measures (more than 3) is generally not a good practice since it decreases the focus of the report. Furthermore, it can lessen compatible data visualisations. Need help choosing the perfect data visualisation? We will discuss the options in this guide on Data Visualisation.



9. To save the report, select the cog icon (settings) on the upper right-hand side and select Save as a Look.

Alternatively, if you intend to only use the report on a single, pre-existing Dashboard you can add it directly by selecting Save to Dashboard.



10. Fill in the required fields:


Title: Name your report (best to be descriptive regarding content and time range here)

Description: You can include what data sets you included in the report for easy reference

Space: The default will say Personal which is your folder here on Insights


Note - if you have any existing Looks, they will be listed under Space



Select Save and you’re done!

Now that you have a report, you can plug it into your dashboard/s.


Create a Dashboard


It is important to note that you can either create a Dashboard by adding existing Looks to it, or build Tiles directly into the dashboard... If you haven’t created a Look yet, the previous section will tell you all about it.


Creating from a Look:

1. From  Insights, select the icon with four squares on the right-hand corner

2. Under Personal, select the Look you want to add.



3. You will see the data visualization of your report. Select the cog icon (settings) on the upper right-hand corner.

4. Select Save to Dashboard to save the Look inside a new dashboard.



5. Select New Dashboard.

Note - You can also save to an existing Dashboard (if you have made one before) which will be listed under Personal

 If you selected New Dashboard, you will then be prompted to enter a name for it



6. This will create the dashboard. Make sure the dashboard’s name is selected (grey) - then, to save the Look you’ve selected to this dashboard, select Save to Dashboard



7. To add more Looks to this Dashboard, simply repeat the steps 2 to 6 on the Looks or reports you’d like to add.


Creating from a Tile:


Tiles are similar to Looks except that they are unique to a single dashboard. Thus the process is very similar to Creating from a Look - however, the difference here is you will work with an "unsaved Look" which will be directly and uniquely saved to a dashboard, like so:


1.  So with the unsaved report on Insights, select the cog icon (settings) on the upper right-hand corner - then select Save to Dashboard



2. Select New Dashboard

Note - You can also save to an existing Dashboard (if you have made one before) which will be listed under Personal



Frequently Asked Questions


When I edit the report I am creating, will it refresh automatically to reflect the changes?

After making changes on any report, simply select Run in the upper right-hand corner to refresh the report.


How do I start afresh and remove all dimensions, measures, and filters?

Select the cog icon (settings) on the upper right-hand corner - then select Remove Fields and Filters (Ctrl + K  is the shortcut) 😉 


Can I edit a Look that I already saved?

Yes, you can! Select the icon with four squares on the right-hand corner to view and open your saved Looks.

Once the Look is open, select the cog icon on the upper right-hand corner and choose Edit.

Note - Remember, if you save your changes to a Look, these will be reflected across all Dashboards where that Look has been added.


Can I edit a Dashboard that I already saved?

You definitely can. You can find it in the same place as the Looks discussed above. You can also customise your Dashboards layout.


What's my next step?


Data visualization is vital to understanding and presenting the story behind your data. Check out our guide on choosing and customising your data visualization.

Did you have trouble with any of the terminologies here? You may find answers in our guide on terminologies.



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