(877) 456-7632 prospero@msxgroup.com

Users Forum 2014 Microsoft Management Reporter Q&A

Forecaster, FRx, Management Reporter 2014

The following questions were brought up during the Spring 2014 MR User Forum sponsored by the MSX Group. We have provided both the questions, answers and related links for more information on a certain topics. While every effort has been made to provide accurate information, we are unable to warrant the information below. If any of the questions below are not adequately explained, please contact us for clarification via email at Info@MSXGroup.com.

You can also download a PDF version of this information: 2014 MR Forum Questions.

 

Questions Asked by Attendees

FRx maintenance before migration says to Export all existing MR reports. Why?

You may have created some new test reports in Management Reporter that you do not want to erase when doing the FRx migration – which wipes out all existing reports in MR. Therefore, you may want to export any new MR reports to later import them back into MR.

What is the basic function of the Report Distribution tab on Report Groups?

By default reports that are part of a report group are generated to the library and link locations specified in the individual Report Definitions. The Report Distributions tab allows you to override these settings when the reports are run as a group.

How do you format by drawing boxes around a column?

You can box rows of data in the Row Definition utilizing the BXB and BXC format codes (begin and complete box). To restrict the box to a particular column or columns, indicate the column ID(s) (letter(s)) in the column restrictions field (column H) of the Row Definition.

Can report groups be run to excel with no manual intervention?

Report Groups currently can only be output to the MR Viewer. This will be an excellent product suggestion you may vote for on the Microsoft Connect site we, and Microsoft, will talk about later today.

How do you add report definitions to the Report Group?

To add reports to a Report Group, select Report Groups on the left panel and select the Report Group to be modified from the list. In the Report Group tab, you will see a pane that lists all reports in the group (if any). To the right, select Add to view a list of Report Definitions. Highlight one or more reports and select OK to add to the group.

With report groups, can you send them to SharePoint? Would it be separate links or one line?

Yes, both Report Groups and individual reports can have a single report link created that can be added to your SharePoint site or emailed or copy/pasted to web browser.

When a drill down on a line in a report can I limit the view to only the account (i.e. not the split by other dimensions)?

The functionality you are referring to is similar to the Subtotals feature in FRx. Unfortunately, this functionality is not available in MR currently.

What is the status on when subtotal by segment will be added to Management Reporter?

Our guest presenter from Microsoft, Jill Carter, shared that subtotal by segment feature is being considered by Microsoft, but specific details are not available at this time. Be sure to visit the Microsoft Connect site to vote for this enhancement and others you would like to see to Management Reporter.

If you wanted the accounts in the trial balance to not roll up if you have multiple department but show each account - how do you do that?

You should be able to use Account level detail in the report definition which will show all, individual accts/depts. Also, Microsoft has indicated that a future release may include subtotal functionality similar to FRx that would be useful in this scenario.

So I generate a report, it opens in the web viewer. I come back later and it’s in the Report Library. Is there a way to then open it in the web viewer?<br /> Q2: Is there a way to go from the Report Viewer to the Web Viewer?

Yes. Each time you generate a new report, the report can be viewed in either the Report Viewer or the Web Viewer. These are not separate reports, but the same report being viewed in alternate ways. If you are viewing a report in the Web Viewer, you can select Download and Management Reporter Report Viewer (lower right). From the Report Viewer, select Copy Link from the toolbar and paste the link in your web browser to view the report in the Web Viewer.

How do the release numbers relate to Versions. My image has Version 2.1.8001.0

Versions numbers are more logical now, please see this Microsoft blog site: http://blogs.msdn.com/b/dynamics_financial_reporting/archive/2014/03/25/management-reporter-feature-and-version-number-summary.aspx

Click here to learn more

Depends on where you start. For example, if you open a row definition that is the Income Statement sub-folder of row formats and do a File | Save As it will save into that subfolder. Otherwise it will save in the main root folder and can be moved afterwards.

How come the report headers are not showing in the Viewer?

Under the Show button is where you can show those headers. Unfortunately, there is no option to show the headers by default. One user has recommended that participants go to the Microsoft Connect site (http://connect.microsoft.com) and vote for #782905 to help make the Headers and Footers show by default in the web viewer.

Is this syntax still supported in the row B:G=@370/@250?

No, you have to type B=…, C=… You may also use print control restrictions which may help at times and a simple formula (Col H – Column restrictions in row to restrict which columns a row displays in).

We have old financials saved as FRD files. Do we need to migrate these when we shift from FRx to MR?

FRx drill down viewer files (.frd suffix) do not convert but you can easily generate any converted MR report for prior periods and years. You may also consider using year to year comparative reports along with rolling 12 month reports in the column definitions. Q1: in drilling down – does GP (or any Dynamics ERP) security or Management Reporter security control how far someone can drill back on a line, i.e. payroll? Q2: If I zoom to GP from MR, would I be able to see Payroll information if I didn’t have security access to the payroll tables?”] In Management Reporter and when drilling back to Dynamics, a user’s credentials follow them through the process, so their ability to drill to certain details will be governed by the Dynamics ERP security settings for their userid.

Does the person have to be a GP user in order to open the ERP JE inquiry window?

Yes. GP must also be installed locally in order to utilize the drill back to GL features.

Is it possible to copy and paste from FRx to MR?

Yes. It is common to copy/paste Descriptions, but also other information into the Row, Column and Tree Definitions, but be aware that not all syntax and formatting is the same and some manual manipulation may be necessary. For example, when pasting values (IDs) into the Link to financial dimensions column (Column J) in the Row Definition, it will assume the values refer to the main account segment. In some circumstances, you will not be able to copy directly, but may be able to use formulas and concatenation features in Excel to modify the format as needed. When copying from FRx to MR, it is usually advisable to copy only one column at a time.

does this suppression work when it's dumped to excel?

Yes, only account and transaction detail accessible in the report is exported to Excel.

Do you need to install the Management Reporter? It's not already in AX, right?

Yes, MR must be installed and configured on its own.

Is it possible to turn off or not display the Queue Viewer as reports are being generated?

The Queue viewer will show automatically. You can close it at any time, or you can check the box to close it automatically if there are no errors. However, you cannot prevent it from opening. If an error is detected as one of the reports is run, the Queue Viewer will remain visible until it is closed manually. Reports with errors cannot be cleared from the queue, they will drop off automatically after seven days.

I there a way to dedicate a column to a specific currency when using the DataMart?

Yes, you can select the specific currency for a column in the Currency Filter row of the Column Definition.

Is there any way to type in numbers in column J and have them default to a certain dimension, i.e., other than the main one.

The default is typically the natural (account) dimension. The default value is determined in the Dynamics ERP settings, not Management Reporter.

We’ve had problems with Account Categories using special characters being recognized by MR. Are there any restrictions?

Yes. Account Categories with a colon, ampersand, etc. will not work in Management Reporter. They need to be edited in your Dynamics ERP system to remove the special characters.

What if I “clean up” too much in FRx preparing for migration and delete needed reports or building blocks.

It is highly recommended that you make a full backup of all FRx directories prior to migration. In addition, it is advisable to export all of your FRx building blocks from any active spec sets to a .tdb file before beginning your cleanup. If you find you are missing key building blocks, you can import them back to your spec set from the .tdb file. A2: A Forum attendee suggestion: After I had two very bad migration experiences, Microsoft Support suggests exporting all of your FRx building blocks and import them into a new spec set that is pointing at a new .rpts file. This may help you avoid potential problems with corrupt data in FRx that can be difficult to detect.

I was under the impression that the links could be sent to a network share folder, not to just a SharePoint site. Can you confirm this, please?

Yes, report links are hyperlinks you may email, put in network share or on SharePoint

Excel - when running FRx you can go DIRECTLY to Excel with folder predefined - How do I accomplish this with MR?

Management Reporter does not allow a report to be generated directly to Excel. It is necessary to first generate the report to the Report Library or Web Viewer before exporting to Excel or XPS (similar to PDF).

Security - With FRx and a tree, you would not see department or company information - how does that work with MR?

MR Security at the Reporting Tree level works in a similar manner to FRx, where user IDs can be assigned to various reporting units.

Security question. I understand a user can be filtered by what company they access but just looking now, would Unit Security on tree be the place to lock down departments? How would I get that unit of the tree to the library? Again we have many companies and users and FRx tree worked just trying to weigh options for MR.

Reporting Unit Security in the Reporting Tree follows the report. For example, a department manager may only have access to his department as defined in Reporting Tree Security. On the other hand, the CFO has access to all reporting units. When either individual opens the same report, they will see only the information for which they have been given access, regardless of where the report is accessed (Report Library, WebViewer, etc.)

FRx Tree - you can predefine email address of who gets report - How does this happen in MR?

Assigning email addresses in the reporting tree is not available in MR. There are various options for report distribution using the Report Library or SharePoint.

how do I export my row/column templates?

From the main menu, select Company>Building Block Groups. From the list, select the building block group you want to export building blocks from and select Export. All items selected will be exported to a .tdbx file that can later be used to import the building blocks back into MR if desired.

Two Migration questions: Confirmation: Account numbers not migrated is related to the report not being assigned to a company (@any would be the culprit). Second - Complete overlay if you run again? We have 50+ Companies and would like to do a portion at a time. Via backups/exports, any possibility?

You could run the migration multiple times and export the migrated building blocks to a .tdbx file each time. Then, once all have been run, import all of the migrated building blocks back into MR. However, it will probably make more sense to change your @ANY reports to your primary company, run the migration once and then modify the migrated building blocks as needed to work with all companies.

Is there a way to copy reports from our test environment to our production environment

All Report Libraries (and rows, columns, trees) are saved in one SQL database. Usually I will copy that database from one environment to another (like Test vs Dev vs Prod); Here is a related link http://blogs.msdn.com/b/dynamics_financial_reporting/archive/2013/07/25/tips-on-moving-management-reporter-to-a-new-server.aspx

Do you have to create the graph each time at run time or can it be generated automatically each time the report is run?

Yes, graphs will be overwritten when you generate the report again if using the same report output name. Report comments CAN be copied from earlier report versions but not yet graphs.

Can you set up a report to run without human intervention?

Report Scheduler allows you to schedule reports or Report Groups to run automatically. It is not necessary to generate the reports or even be logged into MR.

Click here to learn more

No. Unfortunately, it is not possible to imbed a link to another report in an MR report.

How do you make your image bigger?

When you click the Images button on the Headers/Footers tab of the Report Definition, there is the Modify button which has a “”Scale relative to original image size”” button. The header/footer area in general is limited in space based on the margins and scaling you have at the overall report level (Other button on the Settings tab of the Report Definition)

How do I add a logo to the web viewer that will be the size of the whole header and not be condensed to one line of the header?

Unfortunately, it is not possible to have the logo expand to cover more than one line. Visit the Microsoft Connect site to vote on this or other requested enhancements.

What's the best way to pull a QTD?

You may either use period ranges (like 1:3 for Qtr1, 4:6 for Qtr 2) or period ranges relative to the BASE period (e.g. BASE-2 to BASE). Sometimes I separate those rolling quarter months into separate Non-Printing columns and sum them up.

Click here to learn more

You may have a few options. In the Row Definition, you can open the Link to Financial Dimensions window for the Account dimension. You may use the following: individual accounts, ranges and wildcards; use Dimension Value sets as defined in Management Reporter; Account Categories and Totaling accounts as defined in your host ERP/GL system (AX/GP/SL/NAV).

Can you please demonstrate how to consolidate data from multiple AX posting layers into one column in MR? (e.g. consolidate values from the 'Current' and the 'Tax' layers)

This is a Column Definition filter available within FD (Financial Dimension) columns you may choose from. If you would like to combine data from multiple Book Codes or ledgers, you can also make the primary columns non-printing and add another, calculated (visible), column to add the values together.

is there documentation out there where the differences between FRx and MR are pointed out?

There is not an officially published document from Microsoft but you may do a web search that others and we have drafted up though some may be dated based on all the new features in MR

is the start and end date used for non-months type of reports - e.g. weeks, biweekly, 445 calendar month?

No, start and end dates are where you want to display only certain days on the month or year. This feature is commonly utilized when consolidating companies with different fiscal years.

If the segment is named in GP (or other Dynamics ERP), will that name show in the LINK e.g. Natural instead of segment2

Yes. MR will display your segments or dimension using the same descriptions as used in your Dynamics GL.

in FRx we can suppress underline where the sub-total is zero, can u do that in MR?

Yes, you may relate any DES or underlines rows to TOT/CAL rows.

”FRx

. Where is that in MR?”] There is not a Sigma/Sum icon in MR like there was in FRx

If you are pulling information from more than one year does an unposted batch in a closed year get included in the results of that closed year?

Unposted data will only be included in the report if the Provisional setting indicates to include unposted balances.

If the segment is named in GP, will that name show in the LINK e.g. Natural instead of segment2?

Yes, the dimension names will show up in MR as they are listed in GP or AX. Our demo data just does not have them listed as MAIN or DEPARTMENT.

”In

?”] Currently the Show Summary Totals option will allow you to select from any calculated subtotals.

How can we define a row to pull a main segment roll up of a main segment and 3 of 4 sub accounts and then the 4th sub account on a separate row?

In the row definition, double-click column J to open the dimension window. Enter the main account using ranges, wildcards or account lists. Select the sub-account segment to add the three sub accounts to the same row. On the second row of the same row definition, define the account segment values as before, but enter the 4th sub-account.

I have GP test on a separate server. Can I build all my MR reports pointing and the test server and then repoint them to production when ready to deploy MR? I do not have access to production GP for security reasons.

Yes, provided the setup matches, specifically the segments/dimensions as defined in the test vs prod.

For the web viewing reports, do individuals have to have a management reporter license to see those?

Yes.

How can I add accounts and descriptions to the Row Definition automatically, without having to type each individual line?

Once the Row Definition is open, Select Edit>Add Dimensions from Chart of Accounts from the main menu.

How would I export detailed trial balance data to upload into the Forecaster budgeting tool?

Utilize ACCT as one of your column types to include the account IDs in the output. From the Web Viewer or Report Viewer, export to Excel. From there make any needed changes (such as concatenating segments) and save as a .txt file for import via the Forecaster Data Import Wizard.

When preparing for migration to MR, is there an easy way to find unreferenced items in FRx?

FRx doesn’t have a way to show associated reports for building blocks. However, you can see in the Report Catalog screen what building blocks are associated with each report. You can also sort by building block in this view which is a quick way to check to see if a row or column or tree is in use. Lastly, later versions of FRx will also display useful data such as last modified or last generated in the Catalog screen. For more information, see http://support.microsoft.com/kb/2425087.

can you do a column that is an average of actuals for past 3 years for a period?

To display an average for the last three years in a column, one approach would be to pull in all three years, each in its own (non-printing) column and use a calculated column to display the average of the three. For example (B+C+D)/3.

Is AA info available with ATTR feature?

The ATTR feature should work the same with Analytical Accounting dimensions as with any other segments or dimensions. For more information, see: http://blogs.msdn.com/b/dynamics_financial_reporting/archive/2012/10/30/benefits-of-analytical-accounting-reporting-for-dynamics-gp-with-mr-ru3-management-reporter-ru3-release-preview.aspx

On Effective Dates - we used them for 80% of our reports...Which Row/Column/Tree does the migration select? Any suggestion as what we should do to make the migration go smoothly?

It will convert only the building blocks that are shown in the dropdowns of the building blocks section of the report. It will ignore the effective dates. There is not an easy workaround to Effective Dates but to create separate reports, report groups or see if the existing reports can be designed differently. This might be a good feature to vote on at Microsoft Connect site.

I understand that the Forecaster columns don't migrate...should they be removed before the migration?

You can either change them to point to the desired Budget book code from the GL or leave them as they are and correct them once the migration is completed. The Forecaster Data Transfer Wizard will allow you to easily upload budget data back into the GL. Otherwise, you can also export out of Forecaster and import into the GL fairly easily as well.

Is there a way to create a report for the IT department so that the drill down would include vendor payments? The problem is that we use an allocation expense account and the invoice is distributed among many departments and it becomes hard for the IT staff to reconcile.

You can add columns to your report to display attributes when drilling to transaction details.

Is there any plan to add effective date functionality from FRx to MR?

Microsoft has not indicated if this functionality will be included in a later version of Management Reporter. Visit the Microsoft Connect site to vote for adding this or other functionality.

You show attributes that I don't have access to. Am I limited because of DataMart? IT may have decided that certain ones were not necessary during the installation. How can I gain access?

These attributes differ based on which Dynamics ERP (AX/GP/SL/NAV) you are using as well as which attributes are in use. Your options may differ based on these factors.

Can headers be defaulted to show on the web-viewer?

No, not at this time, but it is being considered for future releases.

Is MR installed on the Dynamics SQL Server or a separate server? If a separate server, what version of SQL Server does it have to have?

You should check the MR system requirements documentation from Microsoft for specific version guidance. However, you can have them on the same or separate SQL servers. Frequently, they are on the same server.

Is there a way to have the report headers stay in the body of the report when you export to excel? We have many branches on our tree so it is not feasible to copy and paste each one. The headers are ok if you look at it in print mode but then your report goes across the page rather than down.

No, not at this time.

do you need to have data mart enabled to drill down into transactional detail?

No. Transaction detail is available in all versions of MR including when using Legacy providers. The Provisional setting on the Report Definition will determine if transactions details will be pulled for any given report.

What is the easiest way to start a new report library? Can we copy all the report, row, column definitions from the sample company into live company, but they may have different tree and segment structures?

All Report Libraries (and rows, columns, trees) are saved in one SQL database. You may consider copying that database from one environment to another (like Test vs Dev vs Prod).

Is FRx compatible with GP 2013

Microsoft does not support FRx with GP2013, but some customers have reported using it successfully. So, it would appear possible on a case by case basis.

Is there any default report in MR that provides Cash receipts & payment accounts. Showing opening cash balance receipts by category & payments by category.

For Management Reporter 2012 CU6 and higher, there are various Reports and building blocks shown in the Default Report Definitions folder. These reports are built utilizing Main Account Categories and can be run as-is or modified to fit your needs. For more information, visit the following link: http://blogs.msdn.com/b/dynamics_financial_reporting/archive/2013/08/14/14-default-report-definitions-available-for-microsoft-dynamics-ax.aspx

How can we obtain the new MR2012 Default Reports? Please provide a link.

Please reference this Microsoft blog: http://blogs.msdn.com/b/dynamics_financial_reporting/archive/2013/08/14/14-default-report-definitions-available-for-microsoft-dynamics-ax.aspx

Click here to learn more

From the Report Viewer, drill down to the account level. In the account level, select the Drill to Dynamics icon from the main toolbar to open Dynamics and view additional information related to the highlighted accounts. For additional information, visit the following link: http://blogs.msdn.com/b/dynamics_financial_reporting/archive/2012/01/27/drill-to-dynamics-gp-management-reporter-2012-feature-highlight.aspx

How do you change the main MR Designer screen to full screen view?

Alt F1, or navigate from the View/Navigation menu options

How does MR handle sums and calculations vs FRX? FRX ignored any subtotals but added in any calculations or +cells. This was different. How does MR handle these?

The functionality is the same in MR as FRx. When using the TOT format code, MR ignores other TOT rows in a calculated range.

Does the MR versions coincide with the GP version? We currently are on GP2010. What version of MR would be compatible with that?

The following link is a good resource for MR version releases and GL compatibility information: http://blogs.msdn.com/b/dynamics_financial_reporting/archive/2014/03/25/management-reporter-feature-and-version-number-summary.aspx

Do you have a list of all fixed in all roll ups?

For a comprehensive list, view the release notes for any given RU or CU. As a quick reference, the following link can be helpful: http://blogs.msdn.com/b/dynamics_financial_reporting/archive/2014/03/25/management-reporter-feature-and-version-number-summary.aspx

We are also looking at Forecaster. MR doesn't have the interface to Forecaster as FRX does (DirectLink). When do you foresee that this will be addressed by MS?

Management Reporter pulls all balances, including budget data, directly from the GL. However, by utilizing the Forecaster Data Transfer Tool, you are able to easily move your budget data from the Forecaster database to the GL on a regular basis for budget and variance reporting. The Forecaster DTT is free and can be downloaded from CustomerSource along with other MR related software.

Can you add a comment in the Web Viewer at the summary level. I can add comments in Web Viewer at the account level but not original summary level.

As long as you are on RU3 or later, you should be able to add comments at any level using the Web or Report Viewers. For additional information, visit the following link: http://blogs.msdn.com/b/dynamics_financial_reporting/archive/2012/10/23/adding-report-comments-in-management-reporter-web-viewer-management-reporter-ru3-release-preview.aspx

Are there plans to restore row linking option in future release of MR? Also, what about ability to export formulas when downloading to Excel?

Our guest presenter from Microsoft, Jill Carter, shared that adding row-linking features to MR is being considered by Microsoft, but there are no plans to add the functionality at this time. You can visit the Microsoft Connect site to vote for this enhancement and others you would like to see to Management Reporter. As an alternative, Jill recommends that users who previously relied on Row Linking in FRx consider alternative approaches to achieving similar results in MR. For an example, visit the following site: http://blogs.msdn.com/b/dynamicscpm/archive/2011/08/09/management-reporter-advanced-reporting-scenarios-and-features.aspx Also, be sure to visit the Microsoft Connect site to vote for this enhancement and others you would like to see to Management Reporter.

Will you be demonstrating alternatives to row linking in the next intermediate session?

FRx Row linking was using multiple row formats. In MR, similar technique but creating separate reports and leveraging Report Groups. I rarely used row linking and instead just defined accounts to query. For example, on a balance sheet some may have done an FRx row link to their income statement. In the MR balance sheet you may simply define all rev/exp accts (like accts 4000:9999 for net income).

Is there a user manual that can be downloaded of purchased for MR?

Manuals can be downloaded via Customersource or Partnersource along with the MR installation files.

Do I need to be a user in AX to be able to view a report?

There is no need to be logged into the General Ledger to run or view MR reports.

Is there a SQL Script that would Auto-Rebuild the Data Mart? It gets corrupted when doing TEST backups of DBs.

You might consider deleting the integration and rebuilding the data mart (create new MR Data Mart SQL db). The process is fairly fast using the MR Configuration Console.

Are AX totaling main accounts supported in MR?

Yes. You can select the Totaling account in the Link to FD for the main account on the Row Definition. See the Totaling Accounts section at the bottom of the window.

Can you print out the graphic shown in the report and web viewers?

Unfortunately, no. Not currently.

I have heard that you can pull Excel data into MR. Can you talk a little bit about how that works?

In addition to pulling data from your Dynamics GL, Management Reporter is capable of pulling data from external spreadsheets into reports. This functionality is useful for pulling information such as statistical or other data maintained outside of the GL into your financial reports. There are basically two types of linking, the combined method and the separate method. The combined method is a bit simpler and is mostly used for bringing outside balances into specific rows of your reports. The Separate method is more complex and allows you pull in whole columns of data, such as bringing budget balances from an external file. Please see the following link for a more comprehensive discussion of the functionality and instructions for linking to Excel: http://office.microsoft.com/en-us/performancepoint-server/link-to-spreadsheet-files-in-management-reporter-report-designer-HA010352541.aspx

In the Export to Excel feature, I always wind up choosing all of the same options. Is there a way to set default settings for this screen?

Some settings can be defaulted at the Report Definition level (lower left of Report Distribution tab), but, unfortunately, most settings must be selected each time as the report is exported.

Can you switch from Detailed to Summary in the Report Viewer, or only in Web Data Viewer?

Currently, this functionality is only available in the Web Viewer.

How do you change your password in MR?

Management Reporter utilizes Windows authentication, passwords are maintained outside of the application.

If someone had the web viewer how do they view last month’s reports?

Previous versions of reports can only be accessed through the Report Library. However, once located, these reports can be viewed in either the Report Viewer or the Web Viewer.