This post is related to Enabler4Excel – Review, Guide Tips. The second very helpful function that the Enabler4Excel provides is the ‘Reports’ and ‘Refresh’ combination.
By utilizing ‘Reports’, you can select saved Salesforce reports and pull the returned data into Excel.
‘Reports’ and ‘Refresh’ – Benefit #1:
A key benefit of these functions is that it is so easy to use and has a far better ‘report search’ capability than competitors.
The ‘Search’ function is extremely useful here because you can input the first few characters of a report name and then corresponding reports will display in the list below. This enables you to easily search and select the Salesforce reports that you want to pull data from.
Compare this to the Power Query Excel plugin which Microsoft and Salesforce made a large song and dance about. This particular plugin does not allow you to search for specific reports. Instead, a ‘navigator’ side panel appears with all of the reports listed. Which sounds OK… except for the small detail that this list is limited to 10,000 rows and most medium to large Salesforce orgs will definitely have more than 10,000 reports. Also, there is no option to search for reports through report folders meaning that you are stuck if your report is unfortunately listed >= 10,001.
A ‘nice to have’ feature too is the ability to export reports to specific spreadsheets in your Excel file. For example, if you have three spreadsheets (three tabs), you can select report x and have its data pull into tab a, y into tab b and report z into tab c…all as easy as a-b-c.
‘Reports’ and ‘Refresh’ – Benefit #2:
Enabler4Excel is compatible with Excel 2007 & 2010 for both Mac and Windows. Compared with other options, Enabler4Excel offers the best compatibility with other versions of Excel & operating systems.
Another key benefit for Reports and Refresh though is that many organizations are on Excel 2010 at least but the only officially Salesforce supported Excel plugin is from Connect for Office (Setup | Desktop Integration), which bizarrely is still only compatible for Excel 2007. It seems that the official stance from Salesforce is that the aforementioned Power Query tool will be the plugin to fill the gap but although this plugin does offer some very interesting features, as mentioned earlier, it isn’t suitable for medium-large orgs which have > 10,000 reports.
Besides Power Query, other alternatives to the ‘Reports’ and ‘Refresh’ functionality from the Enabler4Excel are the Force.com Excel Connector and the Salesforce Reports for Excel (Pilot). Both are free and they do offer useful functionality, such as SOQL searches, import and refresh reports. One major limitation of the aforementioned alternatives though are that they are far harder to set up. Furthermore, they don’t have any of the other functionality that the Enabler4Excel offers, such as DML operations, meta-data searching, field utilization etc. Combined with the fact that the pilot option – ‘Salesforce Reports for Excel’ – appears to be redundant as the focus is on Power Query, the alternatives don’t appear to be stable.