Using Import Wizard
Hyper Analyzer is able to extract data from virtually any existing database using built in connectors or ADO connectors. A special interface was created to simplify the import process for: Microsoft Access (version 97 and up), Excel (version 97 and up), MSSQL (any version supported by Microsoft's built-in ADO), ORACLE (client required), WinMentor (Paradox version), Firebird (version 1.0 and up).
A generic ADO connector interface is provided in order to extend the usability of any commercial or non commercial ADO data source. ActiveX Data Objects (ADO) is an application program interface from Microsoft that lets Windows applications to get access to a relational or non relational database from Microsoft or other database providers. A very useful WEB page with connectors syntax is at http://www.connectionstrings.com/
For databases the wizard provides a database schema automatically loaded when connection is successfully established. A user friendly editor shows both a graphical and SQL approach in making queries which simplifies the importing process. Existing SQL queries can be copy/pasted into the editor and automatically turned into a graphical representation.Additional settings are provided to rename columns, to force field types or to use specific date time or number formats.
Every import wizard schema can be saved as a separate file which can be afterwards imported directly without using the wizard interface.
Using right formatting for figures
In Hyper Analyzer, by default the numbers are formatted with 2 optional decimals. For visual comparison replace the default formatting #############0.## with ###########,##0.00 (add thousand separator and force 2 decimals, even if they are not necessary) and use a good font for numbers. Tahoma seems very good for this, each figure 0..9 having the same character width. Data is more readable and less difficult to compare. Default number width space in analysis is 75 pixels which is ideal in most of cases. These spaces are to be adjusted by the analyst during the design process. By adjusting the width of the measure, the analyse will remember the size and in case new data has larger figures, there is a chance that the whole number cannot fit in the designed space. Make a good estimation of the space to avoid such of surprises.
Use colors with care in your reports
I am personally against large printed reports. Obviously nobody reads them all, in a lot of cases the paper ends up in the trash. But in most cases a few report pages are printed. Readability is important, so we have to enhance the visibility of the important figures. The reader has to focus quick on important figures rather then parsing them all. This can be achieved in several ways.
- Highlighting text font using colors. Use no more then one-two colors for different highlights and only for important figures (either good or bad)
- Use micro drawings. Horizontal bars, bullet graphs, shapes can be quickly added to the numbers to improve the readability.
- Use very light colors grids (light gray) to let the reader to focus on figures not on drawn lines.
- Avoid using gradient labels or fancy images in the Report Layout which usually just distract the reader attention.
Using scripts to automate the information flow process