Reporting in Microsoft Dynamics NAV: everything you need to know

Dynamics NAV has plenty of powerful tools that can help businesses better organise their data – but we’re particularly big fans of its amazing reporting software.

We’ve put together a brief guide to the main features of Microsoft Dynamics NAV’s reporting capabilities so you can get a feel for how it might improve your own company’s data sharing processes and make your life a darn sight easier!

How are reports created in NAV?

Basically, NAV pulls all the information you need from its central database, then sorts it according to your needs.

For example, your company’s sales data can be diced and spliced according to all kinds of filters, making it easy for you to get your hands on an accurate snapshot of how your sales department is performing according to the criteria that matter the most to you.

To physically create reports in Dynamics NAV, you need to first of all design your data model (known as a dataset in some circles). This will determine which data is extracted from your database tables. If you want to learn more about how you can put together your data model with the help of the Report Dataset Designer in NAV's Development Environment, this article outlines what’s involved and provides you with a handy real-life example.

Can you customise the layout of NAV reports?

Yes, oh yes! Once you’ve mastered the dataset, you’re then able to adjust the appearance of your report yourself. You can create client report definition (RDLC) layouts with the help of Visual Studio Report Designer or SQL Server Report Builder – or, if you’d prefer to stick with software that’s a little more familiar, you can create Word report layouts in Microsoft Word 2013 and later.

Changing the way information is displayed

You can of course opt to receive your reports in a standard line or table format. There’s nothing wrong with going back to basics in this respect. But if you’re after something a bit snazzier, rest assured that you can create plenty of colourful charts and graphs to help you communicate your data in a more visual way. Users can also toggle columns to hide or display data, and link to another page or report if they need to.

The joys of automation

What’s perhaps the biggest draw of the reporting suite in Microsoft Dynamics NAV is that it accommodates automated reporting. As you’ve probably gathered by now, it even ties in data from third party Windows apps like Outlook, Excel and Word. And as we all know, automation itself has a habit of speeding up boring tasks, minimising errors, making information instantly accessible, and generally making sure that everyone’s singing from the same hymn sheet.

You can set up this brilliant business management software to automatically send out important reports to different decision makers, too; for example, you can schedule monthly financial reports for your Bean Counter, or send up-to-the-minute sales reports to your Head Honcho so he or she is able to keep an eye on company growth. It’s a useful feature that keeps everyone in the loop without the need to spend hours clicking through different sets of information.

Choosing the right NAV pack according to your reporting requirements

All of the features listed above are available as standard within our NAV Starter Pack, which is the most popular choice for businesses that want to explore its core functionality. But if you’re after a platform that’s got all the bells and whistles including manufacturing and projects, we’d recommend choosing the NAV Extended Pack, which boasts plenty of extended reporting features for growing enterprises.

Want to learn more about how Microsoft Dynamic NAV’s reporting suite could transform the way you organise and share information within your business? We’re here to explain all. Call the NAVExperts on 01268 724005 for a chat, or drop us a message via our contact form and we’ll be in touch ASAP to answer all your burning questions.

About the author

John Gladman

MD, John, founded the business way back in March 1999. Having worked in the IT industry since 1985, when the first IBM PC’s hit the market. In 2001 John diversified into selling what became Sage 300 & Sage CRM solutions and added pre-sales to the long list of jobs he performs.