In my opinion, SmartList is the greatest ad-hoc reporting and inquiry tool available in Microsoft Dynamics GP. Its immediate access to users, ability to select multiple columns of data, and filter any number of ways goes beyond applause. SmartLists are also an amazing dataset for advanced reporting. Taking advantage of the ability to export to Excel, powerful Pivot Tables and Charts can be made easily off of the datasets. However, the major issue with this popular routine is that SmartList and the export to Excel can be somewhat slow. The performance behind this is usually acceptable for several hundred rows of data but when rows can quickly reach into the thousands in some environments, rendering the SmartList and exporting can become quite the waiting game. Enter our new friend, refreshable Excel reports!
If most of the SmartLists you run end up being exported to Excel reports, you may want to visit the deployment and use of the refreshable Excel reports available in Microsoft Dynamics GP. As of Microsoft Dynamics GP version 2010 R2, the system comes with more than 200 pre-defined refreshable Excel reports that are exponentially faster than using SmartLists and then exporting to Excel. The refreshable Excel reports also have the ability to be updated automatically when the file is opened, or manually by the user. This can add up to a significant time savings if routinely running the same SmartList and exporting to Excel to retrieve the same data that may be available in a standard refreshable Excel Report.
If the standard included refreshable Excel reports don’t suit your needs, custom refreshable Excel reports can be built using the Excel Report Builder tool included in the SmartList Builder suite. Using this tool, your existing custom SmartList objects can be converted to refreshable Excel reports using a copy/duplicate feature that is available, or you can build your own custom reports.
Refreshable Excel reports are also fantastic for non-Microsoft Dynamics GP users who need to review data that is manually created in the details above, likely prepared in SmartList, exported to Excel, and then manipulated. Since the Excel file can be stored on a network drive, non-Microsoft Dynamics GP users can access and run the files needed without intervention and preparation from a Microsoft Dynamics GP user. And remember, it’s always a good idea to verify current licensing implications with a reseller such as The Resource Group.
By The Resource Group, Microsoft Dynamics Partner in Washington
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