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NPrinting: A Cost-Effective Way to Publish Your Qlikview Analyses

Challenge

Here at Dataspace we’ve worked with Qlikview for a number of years.  It’s a great tool but it has one, glaring limitation: Qlikview does not offer an inexpensive, native method to publish and distribute reports to users.  In order to publish reports from Qlikview, one must purchase both Qlikview Publisher and PDF distributor which are expensive and far from pixel perfect.  However, NPrinting offers an alternative, at less than a third of the cost, to generate, schedule, and distribute customized reports. 

 

NPrinting is a 3rd party tool by Vizubi that connects to one or more Qlikview files to quickly create unified reports that can be built from scratch or from existing templates. With the ability to integrate into enterprise systems, NPrinting could serve as a viable option for Fortune 500 companies just as well as smaller companies. Since NPrinting relies on Qlikview and integrates with MS Office, there is a simple learning curve leading to quick results. 

 

Using NPrinting

 

How simple is distributing reports in NPrinting? Well, if you know Qlikview and MS Office – simple!  The process follows these steps: 

  1. Create the objects you want on your reports in QlikView
  2. Start Nprinting and
    1. Create a report template
    2. Create a report task
    3. Create a schedule
    4. Create your output folder and/or set up recipients
    5. Run or schedule your reports 

How simple is it to receive and read NPrinting reports?  Even simpler – just open your email and there they are, in pdf or a variety of MS Office document formats!

 

Demo

 

Here, we’re using a demo Expense Management report available from Qlikview. First we’ll load the Qlikview document into NPrinting to create a connection. Note that we can connect to a QlikView Access Point if we so desire:

 

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Now that we’re connected, here is the Nprinting main page. On the top left is the “Reports” section which provides a list of the formats in which you can distribute your reports.  On the bottom-left, are tabs for Scheduling, Tasks, Reports, etc. Once you select a tab, it will bring you to the respective page where you can control your options:

 

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Now you can create a new template that can be reused for future reports. It is a very simple interface, but still gives a lot of flexibility since it uses Excel formatting and syntax. On the left panel, you’ll note the list of Page, Levels, Images, Tables, Cells, and other options that can be added to the report. To do so, just right-click on the object you want to add and then the object list will pop-up:

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Now let’s add objects to our report.  Start by right-clicking on the list on the left to add the respective Page, Level, Image, or Tables. Nprinting will present us with a list of all of the objects in the Qlikview document to which we are connected. When we first created the connection, Nprinting automatically populated the list of the available objects that we can use in our reports. Simply select the charts that you would like added to your report and hit OK. 

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TIP: It is helpful to keep the original Qlikview document open in another window so you can quickly find the proper chart ID: 

 

TIP: As you can tell from the picture, if you’re designing a QlikView application for distribution with Nprinting, naming your important objects will make the Nprinting development process easier.

 

Now that we’ve added several images and tables to our list, we can simply drag and drop them onto the Excel sheet on the right:

 

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Click the Preview button to get a quick look at the report.

 

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 Now that we’ve got a basic report template, we can save our report and exit back to the main screen to create a report task. The task describes how and when to distribute the report. 

For our report task, let’s select an output folder in which to create the report. It’s important to note that we could also select individual users or lists for the report to be sent out to – one of Nprinting’s most valuable features. Note that reports can be  password protected

 

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 Once our task is saved, we can run it manually or create schedules to automate it

 

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Now that the task has completed successfully, let’s head to our Output folder to see the result:

 

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Voila! In just a few minutes, we’ve managed to set up our connection to a Qlikview document, create a report, and export it to a folder where users can access it. 

 

Key Features:

 

nPrinting’s key features include: 

 

Schedule and Distribution

  • It can create tasks and jobs to reload documents, run macros, import recipients, and distribute documents
  • Reports can be delivered in formats such as PDF, Excel, PowerPoint, Word, HTML, or Qlikview entity, or PNG image
  • Excel reports can be created to offer great flexibility for end users
  • Reports can be emailed, saved to directories, or published online on an automated schedule 

 

Security

  • Nprinting supports Qlikview section access and user login to control permissions to reports
  • Reports can be encrypted
  • Filters can be associated with users or groups so they only receive relevant information 

 

Connectivity

  • Nprinting can connect to AccessPoint server and combine multiple QVWs into a single report 

 

Reports

  • Reports can be pixel perfect
  • Report templates can be created for fast development and reuse
  • Existing Qlikview bookmarks can be used as NPrinting filters
  • Qlikview objects can be simply dragged and dropped onto reports 

 

Contacts

  • Contacts can be manually input or accessed from file, Qlikview, or LDAP directories
  • nPrinting developers can create filters so that different users or groups receive customized reports based on credentials.

 

Downsides

 

Of course, there are a few limitations with which you should be aware:

 

  • Jobs cannot be run in parallel. However, it seems that this feature may be added in future releases.
  • Users cannot manipulate their reports – what they get is, well, what they get

 

My Recommendation

NPrinting is a fantastic addition to Qlikview that offers far more flexibility and customization than do Qlikview’s competing options. Not only does NPrinting give a wider array of options, but it is a fraction of the cost of Qlik’s option.  The company, also, has excellent customer support. If you are looking for a quick, inexpensive way to leverage your QlikView investment by publishing static reports to users, I strongly recommend taking a look into NPrinting.

 

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