While there are numerous differences in the Reporter and Explorer modes, perhaps the primary one is the flexibility we have within Reporter to easily modify the report layout, and break somewhat from the rigorous “leveling” operation of Explorer in drilldown and other operations. Let’s look at an example of this flexibility in deleting a single category from our report.
1. Right-click the WA category from the row axis at the left of the report.
2. Select Delete from the context menu that appears.
A submenu appears, offering us the option to delete Category(s) or Level. This is indicative of the difference to which I refer between the two modes. Explorer only allows us to delete Level at this point (the Category(s) selection is grayed out and disabled). This fits in with what we have discovered, while in Explorer, about its general operation: Remember that we noted that when we drill down in PowerPlay Explorer, we replace a parent category with its child categories in the report – all simultaneously. Explorer is always at the “same level” at any given time, and displaying all the members of that level. This is desirable in a browse, perhaps, but makes for inflexible reporting. Hence we can often rely upon the more versatile properties of Reporter to meet more specialized needs.
Keep in mind that, as many new users of PPWIN soon find out, while it is simple enough to shift from Explorer to Reporter, switching back can cause unexpected results. The reason for this is that the flexibility we have just discovered (with the deletion we performed a perfect example) can cause problems in Explorer, which wants to display all members at a given “level” of a browse. My experience has been that it is often efficient to get the report as close as possible to complete, before making the switch to Reporter, for this reason, but many strategies exist, and some are certainly better than others for specific reporting scenarios.
3. Click Category(s) to remove the WA line item from the report.
While we have removed the WA row entirely, the total (or USA) row has remained the same, meaning that we have not experienced automatic update; this is another attribute of the Reporter mode that it is important to remember, despite its flexibility for reporting purposes.