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Column Parity Override in Reports

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I would really appreciate a feature in the advanced setup for a report where you could tell the system that two columns with different names should be displayed together under a new name, kind of like how the Primary column functions.

I occasionally find that I have two pieces of like information that should be displayed in the same column on a report, but because they have different column names they cannot be grouped/stacked. We already try to minimize this problem by recycling column names wherever possible, often to the point of using a confusing name because it matches another column on another related sheet. The issues and frustrations come in most often when trying to bridge the gap between two older, established sheets.

The example I've had recently is two date columns, one called "Start Date" and the other called "Requested Start Date." They are both the driving start date for the row on their respective sheets and in a report they would ideally be in the same column. I can't rename either column; "Requested Start Date" exists to differentiate it from "Approved Start Date" and "Actual Start Date" so removing the 'requested' part would be confusing and "Start Date" wouldn't make sense to rename "Requested Start Date" because there are no requests involved in that sheet.

The typical advice I have received about this is to use helper columns that share the same name and I have made use of it liberally. The result of which is that a number of my sheets are positively clogged with helper columns. This then further clogs up even more sheets if I ever have to move/copy them [that's a separate problem].

I can think of several ways to solve this issue. The most dynamic would be to have an option in the column radial menu on reports to say that "this column is the same as that column" with a little icon in the column header and/or columns list indicating it has been overridden and with which column it's grouped/stacked. There'd be a suite of limiting factors on which columns you can and can't do this for, but that would be quite preferable to not being able to do it at all. Alternatively, there could be an option to designate custom system columns that behave exactly like primary, duration, created by, etc in reports. I'd be fine with just having a finite number of them per sheet. Or let us temporarily rename columns in reports like you can rename reports on dashboards and stack columns with the same name and type. There are quite a few ways to go about this, I'd appreciate any of them.

Thoughts from other users? Is this just a me thing?

  • Nik F
1
1 votes

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