Below are some frequently asked questions about the reporter package. Click on the links below to navigate to the full question and answer content.

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What file formats does reporter support?

Q: I can see from the examples that the reporter package can create text reports. Can it create any other types of reports? PDF? DOCX?

A: The reporter package currently supports TXT, RTF, PDF and HTML output types. DOCX and possibly PowerPoint will be added in 2022.

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What fonts does reporter support?

Q: I see a lot of Courier font in the examples. Does reporter support any other fonts?

A: The supported fonts depend on the output type selected. Obviously for TXT reports, no fonts are supported. For PDF reports, currently only Courier is supported. But Arial and Times will be supported in PDF in 2022. The RTF and HTML output types support Courier, Arial, and Times New Roman.

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What styling options are available in the reporter package?

Q: The examples show little in the way of styling: fonts, colors, bolding, etc. What options are there for adding styles to the report?

A: The current development effort is focused on layout and output types. Thus far in the development cycle, styling has been deprioritized. However, some limited styling of titles is available. The titles() function has parameters to bold the title block, and set the font size independently of the main report. More styling options will become available in 2022.

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Is there a way to control the page orientation?

Q: All of the examples I saw show a landscape page orientation. Is there a way to have a portrait page orientation?

A: Yes. The orientation parameter on the create_report() function accepts both “landscape” and “portrait” values.

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Is there a way to control the units of measure?

Q: All of the examples I saw show column widths specified in inches. Is there a way to specify them in metric? What about by percentage?

A: The units parameter on the create_report() function allows you to control the units of measure. Valid values are “inches” and “cm” for centimeters. The parameter accepts no other value. The issue of setting column widths by percentage has been raised, and is under consideration as a future enhancement.

Note that this parameter sets the units of measure for every measurement on the report, not just column widths. The units for margins, table width, plot width, etc. will all be understood to be in the units specified on the units parameter. In other words, the whole report will be in either inches or centimeters. You cannot mix measurement systems on a report.

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Can I perform statistics with reporter?

Q: With SAS® proc report, I can add statistics to my report. Does the reporter package have any statistical capabilities?

A: No. The focus of the reporter package is on creating a printable report in multiple output types. There are many R packages to generate statistics. If you want statistics in your report, run your desired statistical functions, and add the result to the input data.

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Can I perform grouping with reporter?

Q: With SAS® proc report, I can group my data in the reporting procedure. Does the reporter package have grouping capabilities?

A: No. There are already several ways to group data in R. It is best to group data with one of the existing functions before sending into the reporter package. Note that group rows can be emphasized on the report using the dedupe, blank_after, and label_row parameters on the define() function. See example 2 and example 3 from the vignettes for a demonstration on how to use these parameters.

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Does reporter have a way to sort the report data?

Q: I have some data to report on, but it is not sorted the way I want for reporting. Does reporter have any way to sort the data?

A: No. There are many ways to sort data in R. It is therefore recommended to sort the data before sending it into the reporter package.

Generally speaking, the input data should be fully prepared for reporting. The reporter package will take your input data pretty much as-is and create a report in the desired output file format. Any data manipulation should be done prior to reporting.

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Does reporter have a way to filter the report data?

Q: I have some data to report on, but it is not filtered the way I want. Does reporter have any way to filter the data?

A: No. There are many ways to filter data in R. It is therefore recommended to filter the data before sending it into the reporter package.

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Do I have to include all the columns in my data on the final report?

Q: I have some data to report on, but it has more columns than I want to show in the report. Does reporter have any way to remove some columns from the report?

A: Yes. There are two ways to remove a column from the report. The first is to use the show_cols parameter on the create_table() function. This parameter accepts a vector of column names to include on the table.

The second way is to use the visible parameter on the define() function. Setting this parameter to FALSE will hide that variable on the report.

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Is there a way to order the columns on my report?

Q: The variables in my data are not ordered exactly as I want them to appear on the report. Is there a way to control column order?

A: Generally it is better to prepare your input data so that everything is ordered the way you want prior to reporting. But there is a way to order the columns if they are not in the desired order. You can use the show_cols parameter on the create_table() function to do this. Simply pass a vector of column names to the show_cols parameter, and put the column names in the order you want them to appear on the report.

Note that if you are using define() functions, the order of these functions have no affect on the order of columns on the report.

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Is there a way to format a variable?

Q: I have variable in my input data that is not formatted. I want to apply a format to it; say, round to 1 decimal place and add a percent sign. Is there a way to format a variable?

A: Yes. You can use the format parameter on the define() function to identify a format for a variable. The format passed to this parameter should be a valid format for the fapply() function from the fmtr package. See the fapply() documentation for additional information.

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Is there a way to control page breaks?

Q: Overall, the reporter package does a good job of determining when to break to the next page. However, sometimes I want to control exactly when the page break occurs. Is there a way to do that?

A: Yes. You can add a variable to your input data that has the desired page number for each row. Then use the page_break parameter on the define() function to identify that variable as a page break variable. The package will then use that variable to break pages, instead of the automatic paging variable.

You can also set the number of lines on a page using the line_count parameter on the options_fixed() function. When this parameter is set, it will use the number of lines specified to determine when to break a page, instead of using the automatically calculated value.

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Is there a way to control page wraps?

Q: Overall, the reporter package does a good job of determining when to wrap a page when it is too wide. However, sometimes I want to control exactly when the page wrap occurs. Is there a way to do that?

A: Yes. You can use the page_wrap parameter on the define() function to identify a variable to wrap on. See example 6 in the documentation for an illustration of how to wrap pages.

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Is there a way to set the width of a table?

Q: I see there are several ways to set column widths. However, I just want to set the width of the entire table, and have reporter figure out the column widths proportionally. Is there a way to do that?

A: Yes. You can use the width parameter on the create_table() function to set a width for the entire table. The width should be specified in the units identified on the units parameter on the create_report() function. See the create_table() function documentation for more information on the width parameter.

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