Report Builder — create Word and Excel documents in WordPress in 1 click

wpDataTables is a premium WordPress plugin using which you can create interactive tables, charts and graphs. This is one of the most popular and well developed plugin in this segment of the market.

In our review of the wpDataTables has been said that you can’t go wrong if you choose this plugin to create tables and charts to your WordPress website. However, there is a function that wpDataTables does not. We are talking about creating custom reports in Word and Excel in one keystroke.

Extension Report Builder for wpDataTables is intended to take care of it. In this post we will carefully consider the Report Builder, will analyze its features and decide whether it is worth the money.

How to use Report Builder

We will tell you not only how to use the Report Builder extension, but will describe the process of creating a new table in wpDataTables.

To get started, go to wpDataTables in the console sidebar, click Add New on the page.

Page tables are created, you will see many options available. General Setup contain the settings of data source (MySQL queries, CSV, Excel, Google spreadsheet, XML, JSON and PHP arrays – all of the available formats).

Additional settings include adaptability, horizontal scrolling, filtering/sorting, display options, and more.

For the sake of this review, we use the table of travel agencies in the demo Report Builder.

When the table is created, you need to use a simple shortcode to embed it in a post or page.

The new settings will appear under the General settings in the table options page, where you can change the settings of the columns.

Here is an example of how can look your website with a ready-made table:

Back to the Report Builder extension. After installation and activation on the sidebar, a new tab will appear. To begin, go to Report Builder → Create a new report.

Here you can begin customizing your reports. First, select the table you want to use as the data source (there is the option “No” — we’ll come back to it later).

In the tab Settings and Variables you need to configure several options, but first give the report a name.

Then you can select “logic of creation”. In fact, it is possible to create a report that:

  1. all table data is loaded as one file
  2. each row of the table is loaded as a separate file, and then connects in a zipped folder

A great feature, isn’t it?

Another option is to create a report, which records data only from rows that are visible in the page tables at the moment (and the rest are filtered out).

Also available is the option to add custom variables that are not in the original data, but the external interface will be able to make.

The plugin contains a list of predefined variables:

In the next tab in the Template you load the template in which to report. The developers of Report Builder, gave the detailed instructions for creating a template for your data.

For example, here is a sample template created in Word for the table data of the records of accounts (you’ll find it in the manual). As you can see, the customization options are almost limitless.

Tab Download Preview you can download a preliminary version of the table (and choose the number of rows in this file).

Finally, in the tab Get shortcodes you will find shortcodes to place buttons the “Download report” or “Save media library” in the record or on the page (these shortcodes can also be found in the toolbar of the visual editor or Visual Composer).

Here is the entry with the button “Load report”:

And last but not least, here is how may look your report (provided the demo version of Report Builder):

Additional features

Report Builder can be used independently from the data of wpDataTables (although you will then install the plugin to work properly).

For example, you can create a report that takes data from user input fields that provides a user front-end. This feature allows you to record the answers from forms. Here is an example of the user Report Builder.

You first select “none” as the data source.

Then create custom variables to allow users to enter their data.

Download a formatted template.

Use shortcode to insert the form.

And voila!

You can do this with reports in Word and Excel.

Future updates

Report Builder is a fairly new product. It’s still version 1.0!

The developers have provided a list of what they plan to improve in the next updates. There are:

  • sending reports by e-mail
  • automatic creation and reporting
  • reports to PDF (currently only available for Word and Excel)
  • the logic of “if-then-else”
  • support chart and new data fields

It’s a pretty impressive list of features.

PDF reports will be particularly useful, as they will pass via the formal channels in the business, and there are usually use PDF files.

The logic of “if-then-else” — another great feature that we look forward to, and which will make the plugin even more versatile.

Price

This extension will cost you only $20 for the standard version on CodeCanyon. The extended version is worth $100, will allow you to use a paid the settings.

In both versions includes 6 months free technical support and unlimited updates.

Insights

Considering all the circumstances, the Report Builder extension is a small package with a huge feature set at an affordable price.

If you are an avid user of wpDataTables and want to transfer your data in beautiful reports in CSV/Excel, you’ll definitely need this extension.

The downsides of the plugin a little. The only thing we could complain about is the setup wizard Report Builder. To manage to press a button “Previous/Next” (you can’t just click on tab).

But this is just a minor inconvenience compared to all the other useful functions. We would definitely recommend Report Builder!

What do you think? There is something that you would like to add? Leave your opinion in the comments!

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