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Mar 27, 2012

Automate Enterprise-wide Spreadsheet Reporting

Generate robust spreadsheet reports and deliver them on schedule to every user in the enterprise

Enterprise-wide Spreadsheet Reporting

With Microsoft Excel installed on virtually every computer and used for reporting by a majority of business professionals, it should come as no surprise that when business users want to view, drill into, manipulate, and chart enterprise information they choose to do this in Excel.

BIRT Spreadsheet (formerly Actuate e.Spreadsheet) automates and centralizes spreadsheet production, maintenance, archiving, and security, eliminating version discrepancies and curbing the proliferation of multiple silos of Excel® workbook data.

  • Free BIRT Spreadsheet Designer: An Excel-like authoring environment which gives report developers and Excel experts the power to automate the task of creating and updating Excel spreadsheets with the latest data. The BIRT Spreadsheet Designer is free and can be downloaded from here.
  • BIRT Spreadsheet Option: This BIRT iServer option (formerly e.Spreadsheet Option) automates and centralizes spreadsheet production, distribution, archiving and security, eliminating version discrepancies and curbing the proliferation of multiple silos of Excel spreadsheets.
  • Free BIRT Spreadsheet API: Java API which allows application developers to read and update Excel spreadsheets as well as to create new ones from scratch. The BIRT Spreadsheet API is free and can be downloaded for Windows and Unix.
  • >BIRT Spreadsheet Engine and API: The power behind BIRT Spreadsheet, the most complete and capable spreadsheet automation solution

Features and Benefits

BIRT Spreadsheet is the only product that can generate feature-rich, analysis-ready Excel spreadsheet reports that users need to make make accurate business decisions. Excel features available to report consumers include:

  • Formatting that makes use of the full range of Excel cell, row, column and sheet options
  • Live formulas, charting and macros, enabling “what if” analysis and modeling
  • Pivot tables to sort and summarize data in new ways
  • Data filtering to focus on the specific information desired
  • Hyperlinks to navigate to other Excel documents, reports or web pages
  • Form controls (such as buttons, combo and list boxes) tied to custom Visual Basic logic to allow actions such as database write-backs
  • Data-driven layouts in Excel reports that allow new spreadsheet rows, columns and worksheets to be created dynamically based on incoming data


One Design = Multiple Reports

BIRT Spreadsheet Designer (formerly e.Spreadsheet Designer) is an easy-to-use report writer for creating authentic Excel® files and reports that retain formulas, formatting, live charts and data connections. It functions stand-alone on the desktop or as a report designer for the BIRT Spreadsheet Engine and API, BIRT Deployment Kit or BIRT iServer Express report server.

Free BIRT Spreadsheet Designer:

  • Provides reliable spreadsheet reporting
  • Creates a true Excel authoring environment
  • Features data-driven layout

Features and Benefits

BIRT Spreadsheet Designer is for report developers and Excel experts who rely heavily on Excel to perform their jobs and want to automatically populate files with new data and modify them to accommodate different audiences. Java developers also use BIRT Spreadsheet Designer to design spreadsheet templates that are leveraged with the BIRT Spreadsheet Engine and API product as part of an application. BIRT Spreadsheet reports can be generated and viewed within BIRT Spreadsheet Designer itself or by the BIRT Spreadsheet Engine and API, BIRT Deployment Kit, and BIRT iServer Express products.

Reliable Spreadsheet Reporting Paradigm

BIRT Spreadsheet Designer automates spreadsheet data access and supports the reuse of Excel models. As result, it can take a manual spreadsheet creation process and make it repeatable and reliable.

Automated Data Refreshes

BIRT Spreadsheet Designer provides wizards and other tools to quickly and easily define data connections, queries and formats that the spreadsheet report will use every time it is run.

  • Data Connection Wizard – displays the accessible data sources and guides the creation of new data source connections.
  • Visual Query Wizard – guides the building of a query.
  • Data preview – verifies that the data connections are defined correctly and helps determine that the correct tables where chosen for display.
  • Data Formatting Wizard – guides the placing of query data into a spreadsheet format and dynamic cell references for Excel-syntax formulas, calculations and totals.

Multiple Data Source Support

An Excel spreadsheet developed with BIRT Spreadsheet Designer can access a variety of databases to automate manual spreadsheet creation processes.

  • Out-of-the-box data source support – provides access to databases supporting JDBC and flat file data sources.
  • Custom data support – provides the ability to add custom data sources when using the Information Object metadata layer product with the BIRT iServer Express report server’s Open Data Access framework.
  • Multiple data source access support – incorporates data from multiple data sources into one spreadsheet report.
  • Query against query results – allows a query to run against the results of other queries and perform joins between them.

Reusable Excel Models

BIRT Spreadsheet Designer can read Excel files to leverage existing Excel models and provides facilities for report developers and Excel experts to use existing designs for new reports.

  • Reusable models – reads existing Excel files and uses them as a starting point for new designs.
  • Design abstraction – separates the design from the generated reports to better support repeated reuse, and allow what-if modification by end-users without introducing errors in the source design.
  • Data Explorer – provides a quick overview of a report infrastructure including data sources, data sets, parameters and security settings, and scripting definitions.

True Excel Authoring

BIRT Spreadsheet Designer is a visual development tool designed specifically for authoring Excel reports that use Excel features. It supports and automates virtually all Excel functions.

Formatting, Functions and Formulas
BIRT Spreadsheet Designer automates the creation, formatting and formula processing of spreadsheet data.

  • Sheet creation – creates and names worksheets while inserting rows, columns, and graphical objects.
  • Formulas – creates Excel syntax for formulas, calculations and totals that can use dynamic cell references.
  • Formatting – supports all the Excel fonts, types and sheet formatting options for cells, rows, columns and headers; for example, borders and merged cells.
  • Conditional formatting – highlights items of interest based on their data value.
  • Data listings – sorts and filters data.

Advanced Features

Spreadsheet reports created with BIRT Spreadsheet Designer can leverage even the most sophisticated Excel features such as multiple-sheet workbooks and pivot tables.

  • Pivot Tables – generates Excel reports that sort, sum and flip data for analysis using the Pivot Table feature.
  • Row and column groupings – generates spreadsheets using an Excel outlining feature with row and column groupings so details can be shown or hidden as needed.
  • 2D and 3D Excel charts – supports a variety of Excel charts including column, line, area, step, bar, combination, pie, doughnut, XY(scatter), stock and bubble.
  • 3D Multi-sheet cross-tab workbooks – supports cross-sheet references; for example, a table of contents or a summary worksheet that subtotals the values on other worksheets with control over the ordering of the tabs.
  • Cell-level security – supports the ability to control end user access to individual rows, columns and cells when used in conjunction with BIRT iServer Express and its Smart Sheets option.

Data-driven Layout

BIRT Spreadsheet Designer dynamically generates the final Excel file, its worksheets and their layout at run-time based on the latest data and user input.

Run-time Data Refreshes
When Spreadsheet-designed Excel reports are run, they read the data sources, automatically update the report and use any parameters specified by the requester.

  • Data refresh – saves the query and data connection definitions for each data source with the report design so that the report can be updated with the most recent data at run time.
  • Cascading parameters – sets up dynamic cascading prompts for users to enter data values and ranges to filter the data and affect the spreadsheet structure.
  • Multiple data source reads – reads multiple data sources at run-time, the data from which can be integrated into a single spreadsheet report.

Run-time Layout Generation

Based on the data available when generating a spreadsheet report, BIRT Spreadsheet Designer will automatically expand, contract, burst and group columns, rows, worksheets and data.

  • Automatic expand and contract – expands and contracts reports as dictated by the data; for example, columns and rows may expand across the page with outlining.
  • Worksheet bursting – bursts data down rows, across columns and across worksheets within a report.
  • Date groupings – automatically groups data into dates; for example, days, weeks, months and quarters.


BIRT Spreadsheet automates the definition and generation of Excel reports for your Java applications.
BIRT Spreadsheet wins 2007 Silver Products of the Year
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