Custom reports are a very powerful way to ask specific questions of your shelter's data, and that power comes from their flexibility. That flexibility can also seem a little overwhelming, so here we'd like to try to simplify custom reports into their basic parts - report type, date range, rules, and customized columns.
Before running a custom report, the very first thing to do is think about what question you're trying to answer. For example, maybe you'd like to see all the kittens currently in your custody in one list, or maybe you're looking for how many transfer intakes you processed over the past 2 months. The question you're interested in answering dictates how you you'll use custom reports.
1 - Report Type
Report type refers to the type of report you'd like to run, and it dictates what kind of data you pull in the report. You can either run reports on a specific type of event or an entity.
Event report options include:
- Accounting (by item)
- Treatments completed
- Diagnostic tests
- Vaccines administered
- Procedures & Surgeries
- Foster (out to) - animals being moved TO a foster parent
- Foster (in from) - animals coming back FROM a foster parent
- Intake events not counted toward live intake numbers
- Outcome events not counted toward live outcome numbers
Entity report options include:
Entity reports are the equivalent of pulling basic animal or people records into one report, with each person or animal record getting its own row in the report. Event reports pull information about specific animal events into one report, with each specific instance of that event type (tied to a specific animal) getting its own row in the report.
If the question you're interested in answering has to do with animals currently in your custody or has to do with getting a view of animal or people records, an entity report will be best. Looking for all kittens currently in your custody, from the example above, would be an entity report.
If the question you're interested in answering has to do with how animals came in or how they were outcomed or some other event for animals, an event report will be best. The example question above of transfer intakes processed over the past 2 months could be answered via an event report.
2 - Date Range
The date range is the time period from which you're interested in pulling data. If you'd like to see all of your kittens that were in your care today, for example, you would leave the start and end dates as the current date. Or if you'd like to see transfer intakes processed in January, you would set January 1 as the start date and January 31 as the end date.
You can also get a current snapshot of your animals at the exact time you run the report.
3 - Rules
Once you've chosen the report type and a date range, then you have the option of adding rules. Rules help you narrow down the results of the report. These are not required, but you must first click the "Add Rule" button one time before you can customize report columns. There are a lot of different options for rules, and again, what you use completely depends on what question you have in mind.
For example, if you're interested in getting a list of all kittens currently in your custody, you would be running an animal entity report, as discussed above. Without any rules, the animal entity report will simply return ALL animals in custody in the given date range. You need to add a rule to narrow the report down into pulling just kittens. In this case, you would add a rule for "species matches cat" and "age group matches (whichever age groups your shelter has configured for kittens)".
For the other example, if you're interested in the transfer intakes, you'd be running an intake custom report, as discussed above. Without any rules, this report will return ALL intakes in the given date range. To narrow it down to transfer intakes only, you can add a rule for "Intake Type matches Transfer". If you were interested in transfer intakes from a specific source, you could add a second rule for "Transfer From matches (Source Shelter)".
Again, there are many options for rules that will help you answer the specific question you have in mind.
4 - Customized Columns
Customized columns are a way to modify what columns appear in your report. Different report types will have slightly different column options. Most reports have columns for information specific to the animal, like name, Shelterluv ID, species, age, etc. Event reports will have column options for the particular event, like intake type and intake subtype for intake custom reports.
To customize the columns of your custom report, simply click the checkbox beside "Customize Report Columns". If you click the "+" beside each of the yellow folders, the section will expand and show you all the possible column options to add or remove from your report. If the box is blue with a white checkmark, that means that column will be included in the report.