Why I love the Layout Generator in the Financial Report Designer

When explaining the Financial Report Designer report to customers, I explain that they have two ways in which they can create layouts in Excel using this tool. The first is the Layout Generator, which was created for customers who want help with creating layouts. The second is the Task Pane, which empowers customers who want to be able to fully customize their reports in Excel and create the reports from scratch.

I like to use both.  However, the reason I love the Layout Generator is because you can create most of the layout in the Layout Generator, and then further customize it in Excel. This then allows you to re-use the layout at a later stage.  Re-using the layout saves you time when creating reports for other customers, and if you’re looking to revamp your report at a later stage, you can easily do this with the template of the report already available in the Layout Generator.


Some of my favorite features of the layout Generator are:

  • Show Account details: This automatically sets up grouping in Excel to expand or collapse account row details. This is a great way to view your layouts in either at a category/total level or in more detail such as account level.  Note: Sage X3 does not have this feature.


  • Exclude Zero Details Rows: This functionality is not available for all integrations, but if your integration has this feature you’re able to generate a report that excludes the Zero rows. 
  • Add Columns: This functionality is great as it allows you to group multiple columns together in periods, for example; Actual/ Budget and Prior, with just three clicks, saving you time.


  • Calculation: This enables you to use the formulas (columns or rows) and previously created calculations to create a new calculation.  With the  % functionality to calculate percentages or show KPI’s as a percentage, you won’t have to do it in Excel.  Another feature which many users do not  know about is the “set the variance” option, which is available in the Column Calculator and allows you to change the font color to show if your variance is good or bad.

  • Rows set: We provide you with a few predefined row sets to get you started, however you can set up your rows the way you want. With the ability to re-use them in multiple layouts, for example; you can have an Income Statement/ Balance Sheet/ Trail Balance / Cash -flow row set which has the rows you need to create the layout. This gives you the ability to use account numbers and wildcards to specifically group unique accounts or category codes together to use system generated groups.
  • Once you have created these layouts using the Layout Generator, you then have the functionality to easily click and drag the layouts into Excel to produce your management accounts report.


Besides all the great features I have mentioned, don’t forget the easy click and drag functionality in the layout generator to move those columns and rows around.

Some resources to use when you’re ready to up-skill yourself on the Layout Generator:

Webcasts: Creating a management Pack using the Layout Generator

Learning Portal:  learning.sageintelligence.com

Check out the recorded webcast and Learning Portal and let us know what you think. 


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It would be great to be able to use this with multiple company consolidations.  Have they fixed the issues of repeating account rows in consolidated fin reports (and therefore amounts)?


Agreed, this would be great. Unfortunately it is not fixed. I am told the Layout Generator is meant to be used for single company use only.

You do have the Task Pane which is also amazing. 

If I needed to create a consolidated report I would create a layout using the Layout Generator and then move the company name to above the column e.g. Actual and then adjust the formulas. Once I have completed that I would then use auto fill to create the next companies columns. Check the below screen dump. 

If you interested you could join me on the next X-Factor series and learn more about the task Pane and the tricks I have on it. 

The X-Factor Report Writers Series Part 6: Creating custom layouts ...



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