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Set Report Dates

Explains the difference between absolute and relative dates and how to set them in OfficeConnect reports.

Absolute and Relative Dates

You can drag a time element or a set of time elements from the Reporting pane to selected rows or columns in the worksheet. You can refine these time elements and automate periodic reporting by specifying whether the time elements are absolute or relative to the report date, which is the date your report is based on.

An absolute date is always the same, regardless of any changes to your report date. A relative date is updated when you change your report date.

For example, you design a report that has a report date of October 1, 2014. Next, you apply time elements to show that the account data is for August and September 2014. If these are absolute dates, the time elements always show as August 2014 and September 2014, even if you now change the report date to December 1, 2014.

If you select the option to make new time elements relative to the report date in the workbook properties, the time elements reflect as -2 Months, -1 Month, and so on. In this case, if you change your report date to December 1, 2014, the time elements dynamically pull in data from October 2014 and November 2014.

You can set up a report so that you can easily reuse it across succeeding time periods. For example, if you generate a particular type of report every month or every quarter, set it up with relative dates. All dates are relative from the report date set for the workbook. To update the workbook for the new period, simply change the report date and then refresh the report. OfficeConnect pulls the data for the specified dates relative to the new report date.

Note: With relative dates, you can define a label in the worksheet to show the fiscal period, for example, Q3-FY14. See Adding an Adaptive Insights Label to a Report for more information.

You might need absolute dates for certain reports, relative dates for other reports, and a mixture of absolute and relative dates for still others. In this section, you’ll learn how to change the date type for a new or existing report, for an existing time element, and for new ones.

Specify the Report Date and Default Date Type

When you create a new workbook, either by starting up OfficeConnect or by selecting File > New, the New Book dialog box appears and prompts you for the report date. 

The default indicates that time elements are relative to the report date. If you want most time elements to be absolute, clear Make new time elements relative to Report Date. You can make exceptions to the default. Also, you can have a mix of absolute and relative dates in your report. 

To change the report date or date type in an existing workbook:

  1. From the OfficeConnect tab > Book group, select Workbook Properties.
    The Workbook Properties dialog box appears and the Summary tab is active.

  1. In the Report Date field, enter or select the report date you want.
    By default, this is the date the report is created. The report date is particularly important if you’re using relative dates. Set the report date before changing any time elements from absolute to relative.

  2. Select or clear Make new time elements relative to the Report Date.
    The default indicates that time elements are relative to the report date. Make your selection based on which date type you expect to use the most in your report.

  3. Select OK.
    The date type changes for any new time elements you apply to the reports in this workbook. Any existing time elements remain unchanged. To change existing time elements, see Apply Absolute and Relative Dates in this article for more information.

You can only have one report date in a workbook, even across multiple worksheets in the workbook.

Apply Absolute and Relative Dates

You can apply both absolute and relative time elements in the same report. Your date type setting in the workbook properties applies to any new time elements you add to the report. Any existing time elements remain unchanged.

You can set the absolute date type and apply to the time elements as required. Similarly, you can change the date type to relative and apply to the time elements so they are relative to the report date.

To change the date type for an individual time element, delete the existing time element from the report and reapply it to adopt the date type set in the workbook properties.

Important: Before changing any time elements from absolute to relative, set the report date in workbook properties.

To change the date type of an existing time element:

  1. Select the row, column, or cell containing the existing time element. For example, if the time element applies to a cell, select the cell in the grid.
  2. From the Reporting pane, select the Review tab
    The Review pane shows the metadata including the time element for the selected row, column, or cell.
  3. Right-click the metadata line for the time element for the row, column, or cell and select Switch to Absolute or Switch to Relative.
    For example, if the time element applies to a cell, right-click the meta data line for Time under Cell. 
  4. From the OfficeConnect tab > Design group, select Refresh to see the results of your time change.

switch time type from Review pane

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