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Consolidation and Outlining in Business Reports

IP.com Disclosure Number: IPCOM000107360D
Original Publication Date: 1992-Feb-01
Included in the Prior Art Database: 2005-Mar-21
Document File: 2 page(s) / 84K

Publishing Venue

IBM

Related People

Richards, JJC: AUTHOR

Abstract

This article proposes a technique to specify levels of consolidation and outlining, and how such consolidation and outlining can be made unobtrusively apparent, and reversed.

This text was extracted from an ASCII text file.
This is the abbreviated version, containing approximately 52% of the total text.

Consolidation and Outlining in Business Reports

       This article proposes a technique to specify levels of
consolidation and outlining, and how such consolidation and outlining
can be made unobtrusively apparent, and reversed.

      Outlining and consolidation are functions often enabled in
spreadsheets.  They are functions which compress data, by hiding the
detail and showing only a summary, e.g., totals. But, for data-driven
business reports, it is difficult to specify the data to be
consolidated/ outlined.  Yet having done so, it then becomes
difficult to distinguish data that has been consolidated/outlined
without disturbing the layout of the report, or to reverse the
process.

      The concept of such data compression is not new.  But, offered
by this proposal, is data compression in the form of outlining and
consolidation for data-driven business reports at every level of data
grouping.  The user gains easy access to the function, clear visual
feedback when it has been used, and the ability to reverse the action
simply.  It also removes the need for the distinction between
outlining and consolidation by providing a single user interface to
both forms of data compression.

      The solution to the three-part problem described above is
itself in three parts.  The design below deals with (1) how to define
the level of data to be compressed, (2) how the compression is made
apparent to the user without disrupting the layout of the report, and
(3) how the process can be reversed by the user.

      The description below assumes a report built up of nested
groups of data.  We shall consider a simple report of employee data
which shows employees names and salaries grouped by department within
division.  Salary is totalled at each level (i.e., for Departments 1,
2 and 3 in Division A, for Departments 4, 5 and 6 in Division B,
etc.).  There is a total for each department, each division (for
Division A this will be the sum of the totals for Departments 1, 2
and 3), and a grand total for the whole company.
1.   To identify data to be compressed, ...