Pixel Perfect Reporting

What is Pixel Perfect Reporting?

A reporting methodology that ensures printed output precisely matches the design layout, down to the pixel.

Pixel perfect reporting is a concept that refers to report generator systems capable of designing reports for print output. The “pixel perfect” part refers to the idea that the printed output exactly matches what is laid out in the reporting software, down to the pixel. There are several features of a reporting solution that are required for it to be considered a pixel perfect reporting solution and allow users to design high precision reports targeted for print output formats such as PDF.

Features of Pixel Perfect Reporting

Pixel perfect reporting requires a system that is capable of pagination. Imagine a sales manager designing an operational PDF report for the sales team, with a breakdown of sales performance by product or SKU. The number of products that you will need to cover may be hundreds or thousands, and thus the report will likely span many pages. A pixel perfect reporting solution will, in general, automatically break content across pages and ensure that all rows of data are appropriately included in the final report.

Additionally, pixel perfect reporting solutions must provide precise control over sizing of components, text, images, charts and tables, as well as powerful styling and layout capabilities such as margins, rulers and page sizing. Often print-oriented reports require branding and specific colors, fonts, or imagery that a pixel perfect reporting system must be designed to handle. In other cases, complex layouts are required in order to communicate information in the formats expected by readers.

Historical Context

Historically, before dashboards and modern business intelligence analytics solutions hit the market, pixel perfect and static reports served some of the purposes that dashboards serve today; for example, to provide executive overviews or operational summaries. However, despite the advent of dashboards, many organizations, functions, use-cases, and customers still require pixel perfect reports.

Benefits of Pixel Perfect Reporting

Pixel perfect reports are portable, meaning that they do not require a live connection to a data source or for a user to have access to a broader analytics system – making them easily shareable with virtually anyone who has the software required to view a PDF and incredibly scalable for scenarios where reports need to be segmented, filtered, and distributed to vast audiences. Additionally, pixel perfect reports allow for the capture of point-in-time snapshots of data that can be saved and looked at later. As well, pixel perfect reports can allow authors to tell a deeper story about the data, providing space for data storytelling.

In short, pixel perfect reports play an important role in communicating data to stakeholders today. Pixel perfect reporting solutions facilitate creating these reports.