FAQs about the report builder functionality
Can you explain how the report builder works?
The report builder is the biggest development in the new system and we would encourage you to view our quick start guides.
In essence the report builder allows you to create maps, charts, text or tables using any metrics that are held in LG Inform and combine these into a report in very much the same manner you would in creating any Word document.
The report builder has much greater flexibility than the Prototype and you can manipulate the data and layout in numerous ways. You can also import components from pre-existing reports so you do not have to rebuild components that you use repetitively.
Once you have saved your report you can then choose to share it with colleagues through LG Inform or you can export it in various formats to use externally. If the report contains only published data you can choose to embed your report in an external website so anyone can view it or share it through various social media channels.
How do I select a metric to use in a chart, table or map?
When you choose to add a chart, table or map to your report a simple accordion opens which allows you to make a number of choices and customisations. The option ‘Add data’ is where you select the metrics you want in your component. This is a search field so you can simply type a key word or phrase and any metrics which match your terms will be returned in a list. Select those ones you are interested in and click ‘add’. You can add as many metrics as you wish but certain chart types such as scatter charts require a specific number of metrics to be selected. See our guide to chart types for further information
Why are some metrics shown in bold text and some unbold?
Bold metrics are those that can be subdivided into other segments of data such as population divided into male and female or specific age groups. If you select a bold metric there will be a new option within ‘metric options’ to allow you to select the breakdown you are interested in. If no breakdown is selected then the 100% figure will be displayed.
Unbold metrics are those where the data cannot be broken down any further, for example, GCSE results.
Why can I not see any metrics in the drop down box in the report builder?
The metric search box within the report builder is a filtered list based on the choices you have made within ‘Preferences’. If you are getting no search results when you enter a search term it may be that there are no metrics that meet your requirements or match your custom filters. In this istance you can either change your search term of temporarily clear your filters.
How can I add more than one year’s data to my chart or table?
To make creating your report as quick and simple as possible we have assumed that the majority of time you would like to view the latest period available therefore this is selected by default for you. However, we realise that time series data is immensely useful for tracking changes over time and have implemented a set of metric options. Once you have selected your metric there is a link called ‘Show metric options’ where, amongst other things, you will be able to increase the numbers of years data that is shown or select a specific date range to be displayed.
See our guide to ‘metric options’ for further information
Can I change the lead area for one of the components in my report?
When you choose to add a chart, table or map to your report a simple wizard opens which allows you to make a number of choices and customisations. The second option ‘Add areas’ is where you select the areas you want to display in your component. By default the system will suggest a lead area to you, based on your preferences, this can be changed for each component if needed or changed in your preferences.
In this section you can also choose to display other areas on your component. There are a number of prebuilt groups to choose from alternatively you can build your own group either through the report builder or through the ‘My LG Inform’ tab.
What are display group and comparison group?
Display groups are used to show other named areas as bars, lines, points, polygons and rows in your chosen chart, map or table, for example, selecting all authorities in the North East on a bar chart would display each authority’s data as separate bars.
Comparison groups are used to display a summary statistic such as the average population of all authorities in the North East.
In many cases the groups will be the same but users may choose to display additional summary lines, for example, the region average and the country average.
The system is pre-loaded with common comparison groups such as authority type, region, Cipfa nearest neighbours, etc. If the group you want is not available you can create your own custom groups in Preference section, under the header – Manage comparison and display groups.
Why are some of the charts greyed out in the report builder?
The ‘Select chart’ section of the report builder is a dynamic interface which will enable and disable chart types based of the selections you have made in ‘add data’ and ‘add areas. Certain chart types require a specific number of metrics or areas to be selected to function correctly, for example, a scatter chart needs at least two metrics and one or more areas to work, whereas a pie chart will work if you have multiple metrics with one area or a single metric with multiple areas. It doesn’t work if you have multiple metrics and multiple areas
For more details of what different components can show, please see the chart at the end of this page.
What are dashboard type components?
Dashboards are basically tables of data with an embedded chart. During the prototype testing we sought feedback from the sector on what features they would like included in the dashboard for the new system. Based on this feedback we have developed three types of dashboard:
- Dashboard bullet chart – this displays data on a bullet for a single area and multiple metrics and compares this to a chosen comparison group with a direction of travel arrow.
- Dashboard gauges - this displays data on a gauge for a single area and multiple metrics and compares this to a chosen comparison group with a direction of travel arrow.
- Dashboard line chart – this displays data on line charts for a single area for multiple metrics and multiple periods together with a percentage change calculation.
What summary values can I add to my chart, table or map?
- 25th Percentile
- 75th Percentile
- 10th Percentile
- 90th Percentile
Summary values cannot be added to all component types, for example, maps, pie charts, box plots and gauges.
Can you explain how colour by performance works?
A limited number of chart types and maps support the advanced option ‘colour by performance’. Enabling this feature colours the background of the chart/map based on the selected calculation method (quantilies, equal ranges, standard deviations) for a selected number of bands and comparison groups. Using a bullet chart as an example, the default presentation would be to plot the selected authority’s value as a dot on a bar which represents the minimum and maximum for the chosen comparison group and then divide and colour that band in quartiles.
How do you customise the labels and layout?
Depending on the chart, table, map that has been chosen you can personalise the labels and layout in many ways. Under the header in the accordion – 'Customise labels and layout' you can: add titles; change the orientation; adjust the horizontal or vertical axis scale; and where appropriate also adapt the legend. Depending on the component chosen different options will be displayed in the section.
How do I adjust axis scale on charts?
You can adjust axis scale on charts in the section of the accordion named 'Customise legend and labels'. However, the scale can only be set so that the maximum value is divisible by the axis sections, for example, if your maximum is 84 you can have the axis intervals at 12 but not 5. If you selected 5 in this example LG Inform will automatically adjust your maximum to 90. The maximum needs to be divisible by the interval lines.
Can you show more information (metadata) about the metric used in a component on the report?
Within customise labels and layout, under the section 'Chart display options', there is a tick box called 'Show metric source details'. By ticking this you will be presented with 11 additional lines of information about the metric that you can add to your component:
- Metric ID – a unique ID for the chosen metric.
- Metric title – the official LG Inform title for the metric.
- Metric source – the organisation or website from which dataset collections are taken e.g. ONS, DCLG, NOMIS.
- Metric collection - name of a collection of datasets coming from a single place on the web e.g. Mid-Year Population Estimates.
- Period – the available date range for the selected metrics.
- Unit of measure - a short label describing the unit of measure used, examples include: count of people, percentage of households, tonnes per household, £'000, £ per head of population, etc.
- Polarity – a label identifying whether a high or low value is good for the selected metrics.
- Sample size – the number of observations that summary statistics are based on.
- Base number – if the metric is survey based this would be the number of respondents.
- Metric notes – a short description of the selected metric.
- Metric URI – a link to the full metadata about this metric.
How do I set a chart back to LGA standard layout?
If you have made changes to a chart type and want to reset it to the LGA standard / default, you can simply click on the chart type icon again and all defaults will be restored such as auto titles, axis scales and group by functions.
Why are there a limited number of fonts and font sizes in the text boxes?
LG Inform has been designed for both online and print optimisation in order to achieve this we need to know the font type and size to ensure that page breaks are correctly maintained when they print. Arial was the chosen font type as this is freely available and installed on most users machines.
Is there a maximum numbers of lines in a text box and what happens when you go over a page on screen and print?
A text box will only print what is displayed on the screen. Therefore, if you write more text than can be seen on the page you will not see this in print. You will be shown scroll bars on the screen, and in this situation you will need to create two text boxes to contain all the text needed.
How the map decides what layers to show?
In the LGA standard report the map will display the lead area and a default display group appropriate to that area. A user can choose to change this using the dropdown boxes at the top of the screen.
Within the report builder the system will again suggest a default display group appropriate to the lead area but a user can change this with the ‘display group’ options of the accordion.
Is there a maximum numbers of lines in a table and what happens when you go over a page on screen and print?
Tables do not have a maximum number of lines so you can add as much data as you like. On screen vertical scroll bars will be enabled when the number of rows exceed a page. In print, LG Inform will print the whole table over multiple pages if needed and will automatically add a page break when it has completed the table to keep the layout of your report consistent from this point on.
If you add many columns of data you will get horizontal scroll bars on the screen but when you print your report it will only print what you see on the screen as the system is unable to print data hidden by horizontal scroll bars. In this situation you may need to create two separate tables to show all the data needed.
In report builder table size does not necessarily represent preview size?
The report builder view is a scaled version of the preview, however, for tables and text components it is not always possible to calculate the exact conversion rate. If, on preview, you see that your table or text box has scroll bars enabled, please resize them within the report builder.
How are colours picked?
Feedback from the Prototype was that users would like the ability to select different colours for their charts and maps. To facilitate this we have created a number of palettes for users to choose from. The order in which the chosen palette is applied is based on the number of colours needed for your chart or map but the underlying principle is to maximise the contrast between the selected colours.
How do I let the viewer of my report change the area or metric to one that they are interested in?
You can put filters on your reports so that when you share a this with other people they can select the metric, time period or authority they see on the report. This is the last section in the accordian called – 'Let the users choose'.
When you have created your report and preview it, you will be able to see the selected dropdown boxes. These are not seen on the report when you are building it. You can set selection boxes for each component in your report but cannot set one for the whole report.
Can I resize components in the report builder?
When you have built a component you can resize it by hovering over the bottom left corner of the component and dragging the corner in or outwards. If your component goes over the edge of a page break, it will be outlined in red, in which case you will need to adjust it for the component to print out correctly.
How do I know where my component is going to be added into my report?
When you add a new component to a report, if there is room, it will be added to the first available space on the active page. If there is insufficient space for the component to fit on the active page and the next page is blank, the component will be added to the blank page instead.
When the active page is full and the next page contains content the new component will be added to the active page with a red border so that you can choose to resize and place the component where you would like it.
The active page is identified by a grey background; scroll the screen up and down to make a page the active page.
Can I add a new page to a report? Can I add a new page into a middle of a report?
You can add a new page anywhere in your report by clicking on the purple square icon at the edge of the page which has a white star in it. This will add a new page below the one you are currently on.
Can you move the order of the pages in a report?
If you are editing a report you will see up and down arrows on the right hand side of your report canvas. You can use these to move the pages up and down in your report.
I have built a report but I want to brand it corporately, can this be done?
You can add logos to a report and colour the charts using the various colour pallets provided in LG Inform. The colour pallets numbered 12 to 15 in the accordion are designed to be used on maps where the background is grey, the other colour pallets have stronger colours which can be used on any components.
You can save logos to LG Inform for use in reports through the ‘My LG Inform’ page, Preferences tab.
What are the buttons - Report properties and Report title
Before you can save a report you need to give it a report title. You can do this by going in to report properties, purple toolbar above the report. Additionally you can add tags and service areas to aid your search results.
Will the data in my report be updated when you update data in the back ground system?
When you build your report the default settings are to always display the latest data, so when you view a report and the data has been updated your report will automatically update.
If you don’t want your report to update automatically you can set a specific date range within ‘metric options’.
Can I import saved reports or components into a new report?
When creating a report you can import components from a pre-existing report in to your new one. You can either import a whole pre-made report or just a component from a report.
To do this you must have the report saved in your library. If it is a report you have made yourself it will be found in your library. If it is someone else’s report you need to save a copy for yourself first.
Then when you create a new report under the purple tool bar containing the Add text, Add, chart, Add text, Add map, there is an option ‘Import content from your library’. By using this link it will open up a drop down box from which you can select your pre-existing component / report. You can then import this into your new report. Any changes you make to these imported components will not affect your original copy which will be held in your library.
If you delete a report – will it delete any shared copies people have?
Yes, if you delete a report that you have previously shared, then all shared copies including any you have embedded in another website will be deleted.
The table below shows what data can be shown on different component types. Coming soon there will be ‘how to’ guides which go through all the components in detail explaining how they can be used.
Multiple metrics / dimensions
Direction of travel
100% Stacked bar
Dashboard Line charts
Dashboard Bullet charts