Guide to setting up and managing custom reports

Created by Monica Madan, Modified on Thu, 29 Feb 2024 at 12:33 PM by Monica Madan

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Custom reports empowers you to create reports tailored to your needs, enabling effective utilization of your projects, people, and financial data. With custom reports you can easily transform raw data into insightful reports, facilitating data-backed decision-making.


Why should you take advantage of this?

  • Custom reports is intuitive and user-friendly, making it easily configurable to all members of your team, regardless of their technical expertise. 

  • Whether you are looking to track key performance indicators, monitor project progress, or analyze project profitability or customer engagement, custom reports provide a flexible platform to tailor data to your business needs.

In this article, we'll guide you to learn how to access and build custom reports select and organize data sources, customize report layouts, and build the most relevant reports. 

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Note: To create custom reports, the user must have Create and Edit report permissions.

Create a Report

Creating a report in Rocketlane is made simple in 6 steps!

  1. Choose the type of report you want to create - Tabular or Pivot.

  2. Select the data sources for your report from people, projects, roles, tasks, and time tracking.

  3. Select the fields that you want to include in your report.

  4. Build the report

  5. Add cards and charts to your report data.

  6. Save your report and you're done!

With these six easy steps, you'll have a professional-looking report that provides you with the data you need to make informed decisions.

Select the Table type

The choice between tabular and pivot tables depends on the specific reporting needs, the complexity of the data, and the preferences of the user or audience.


Tabular report

Pivot table


Tabular reports present data in a straightforward, grid-like format in columns

Pivot tables are dynamic and allow users to rearrange and summarize data in multiple ways in the format of rows and columns.


Ideal for displaying simple lists of data granularly

Helpful for exploring relationships, trends, and patterns within data.


For a fixed view of data representation, a tabular report may be sufficient

For multiple dimensions or require in-depth analysis, a pivot table is more suitable.

Select a Data Source

When it comes to defining the focus and content of your report. Ask yourself: What is the central theme my report is built on, and what information needs to be included? This process hinges on pinpointing your data source, which essentially means determining the foundation of your report. For example, if you're creating a report about the people in your company and you require details on their tracked hours and utilization rates, your data source becomes "People."

Your report is a visual representation of data that talk to you about the health of your business. As per our example - tracked hours and utilization rates become the building blocks of your report, referred to as report fields. These fields add depth and context to your analysis and by incorporating them, you gain a nuanced understanding of the issues or challenges you're addressing in your projects through your data.

To simplify the process of identifying and utilizing these data sources, Rocketlane provides pre-built data-sources as below: 

Project Source:

The Project Source is like a spotlight on how your projects influence key business indicators. If you want to know the profitability and time to value of projects across different regions and products or services. Using "Projects" as your data source allows you to construct a report that provides detailed insights into these aspects. It's a high-level overview that helps you understand the impact of your projects on the broader business landscape.

Task Source:

The Task Source is your tool for getting down to the nitty-gritty of task management within projects. If you're interested in specifics like billable tasks, overdue tasks, or tasks categorized by billing types (such as Time and Material projects), this data source is the go-to. It lets you zoom in on individual tasks, offering a granular perspective that is valuable for detailed project tracking.

People and Role Source:

The People Source is a gold mine for understanding the performance and contributions of your team members. Imagine wanting to assess overall utilization, billable hours, and productivity of your team members. By using "People" as your data source, you can create reports that provide a comprehensive view of how your team members are contributing to the company's objectives like billable utilization, billable hours, allocated hours, margins. It's a way to gauge individual and collective performance. You can also use the same filters to view this data based on the roles in your organization as all people belong to a role.

Time Tracking Source:

The Time Tracking Source is an essential tool that helps you gain insight into how your team spends their time on different projects and activities. If you want to better understand effective time utilization and its impact on your finances, people, and projects, the Time Tracking Source is the solution you need.

For example: If you want to report on the time tracked on various business categories like meetings, configurations, migrations, etc., and compare it with the cost and profit made under those categories, you can use "Time tracking" as your source. You can report on tracked hours and cost, profit, margins on a business category "configurations."

In summary, each data source acts as a specialized lens, allowing you to focus on specific dimensions of your business. Together, they provide a comprehensive and multi-dimensional view of your organization. 

The use of a schema diagram can further illustrate how these data sources work collaboratively with specific data fields, creating a visual roadmap for ease of understanding.

Here is a quick way to navigate the data source map

The effectiveness of your analysis hinges on the choice of a suitable data source and the strategic utilization of its fields. To guide your decision-making process, consider the following set of diagram:

Identify the Focus:

When it comes to understanding data sources, navigating the vast amount of information available can be challenging. That's why taking a systematic approach is important when selecting data fields. What aspect of your business are you seeking data on? Is it Projects, Financials, or People? This goal is your north star and can help you unravel the workings of data sources in Rocketlane.

Refer to the schema to understand how sources and fields go hand-in-hand!

To simplify the selection of data fields, you can follow the arrows in the diagram and choose the fields that are related to the source's trajectory. This way, you can utilize relevant fields for sources in that trajectory.

For instance, let's say you want to build a report to analyze region-wise profitability and the time it takes to deliver projects across different products/services. You can choose "Projects" as your source, and build your report on the fields that fall on the line connecting "Projects" to other fields. You can use allocations, time tracking, and financials to support your data source and build a report on it. If you're building a pivot report, you can select "projects" you can generate a report to measure actual and planned cost, profit, margin, and utilization rates for all your time and material projects and categorize the data into regions or products/services.

However, if you choose “time tracking” as your source, you cannot see the allocated hours for that category because there is no link between the allocation and time tracking fields, as per the diagram, since allocations are forecasted and time tracking is based on user action, and there is no connection between the two, as per the schema.

What's with the People-Project Connections in Data Sources?

The membership is the only link that connects people and projects. A project comprises numerous individuals, and membership is the sole connection between these two sources. When selecting a project source, only usernames appear as fields.

For instance, if you want to assess the cost, profit, and margins for all T&M projects, you can add the "username" field from the "People" source to view the profitability of users under each project. The membership of users in projects is the only link between people and projects, and it works both ways.

Additionally, you can run a report to understand the overall utilization, billable, and productive utilization of team members in your company and see the associated "project name" of the users.

Next, let's move on to building a tabular report and a pivot table for the mentioned data sources.

To create a report,

  • Navigate to Dashboards and Reports
  • Select Reports
  • Click the Custom reports button to create a new report

Build a Tabular report 

Tabular report is a well sorted summary table that displays your desired data in columns. You can thoughtfully select the appropriate data source based on your specific reporting needs. Please keep in mind that the fields you choose for your columns represent numerical data, such as count, percentage, or currency. This will help you to get more accurate and meaningful insights.

For instance, if you want to analyze all granular details on the health of the tasks part of your projects, you can follow these steps:

  • Select "create report" and then choose "tabular" as the table type.

  • Choose "task" as the data source.

  • Select the following field columns: priority, status, type etc.

  • Click "create."

Note: As you begin to add fields to your report, a time range filter appears, allowing you to view data for a particular time frame. You can alter the time range to your liking and examine the data within that range.

Build a Pivot table

Pivot table reports are a valuable resource for analyzing data and drawing meaningful insights from it. They provide a structured and organized view of complex information which can help you make informed decisions about your project delivery business. By identifying trends and patterns, you can optimize your operations and improve your bottom line.

Let's create a comprehensive report that will help us analyze financial contribution for every project you run:

To get started:

  • Click on "Create Report" and select "Pivot Table" as the table type.

  • Name your report and start building it

  • Select “Project” as the source

  • Select all the values the pivot should represent like “margin” “actual cost” “actual revenue”

  • Start adding the fields the row needs to represent, like “region” 

  • Start adding the fields the column needs to represent like “project name”

Note: Remember, you can add up to 2 rows and columns to your pivot table report, so feel free to customize it to your needs.

Tip: The time period field is a feature exclusive to the pivot table, which allows you to track the flow of data over a particular period. You can choose to view the data on a weekly, monthly, or quarterly basis. 

Using filters in reports

Using filters in reports is essential to bring more focus to specific areas of your report such as region-based reporting, product/service-based reporting, and so on. This adds more relevance and digestibility to your reports. 

For example, you can use filters to break down a portfolio report by regions or teams. You can see how profitable your entire portfolio is as well as how profitable it is for different regions such as the EU, NA, and so on. By applying and saving these filters as views, you can choose to view profitability for all your US projects, EU projects, and so on across various regions.

Time period filter: As you begin to add fields to your report, a time range filter appears, allowing you to view data for a particular time frame. You can alter the time range to your liking and examine the data within that range.

To enhance the focus area of your reports, you can use cards, charts, and conditional highlighting to provide visual representations and highlights. We will discuss this in more detail in the next section.

Add cards, charts and conditional highlighting to reports

You can easily add cards, charts, and conditional highlighting to enhance the visual appeal and accuracy of your data. Any field you add to represent your charts and cards will seamlessly integrate into your reports. It's crucial to emphasize that the selected source for these representations will be consistent throughout the entire report.

Adding cards

To add cards, follow these constructive steps:

  • Click the "Cards" button.

  • Name your card to make it easy to identify.

  • Choose the field that you want your card to read. You can refer to the schema to understand the fields offered based on the selected source.

  • For instance, if you have chosen "people" as your source, you can calculate the utilization rate of people.

  • Define the unit as currency or time and add it as a prefix if you want to.

  • Add filters to increase the accuracy of your data.

  • Finally, click "Create" and your card is ready to use

Adding charts

To add charts to your presentation, follow the steps below:

  • Click on the charts button.

  • Name the chart.

  • Choose the representation style as either column or line.

  • Select the fields you want to represent in the Y-axis. Please refer to the scheme to understand the fields offered based on the selected source. For example, if you have chosen people as the source, you can calculate the actual and planned billable utilization for the people in the Y-axis.

  • Choose to show the SUM, COUNT, or AVERAGE of the data.

  • You can add as many fields as you want, such as billable and planned utilization to be represented in the Y-axis. Choose the multi-axis as Y1 or Y2 for each field to read the values with ease.

  • In the X-axis, you can group the fields represented in Y-axis by a user field like username.

  • Add filters to increase the accuracy of your data.

  • Click create.

Note: You will not be able to group your data if you have more than one field added to Y-axis.

Adding conditional highlighting

Conditional highlighting is a powerful tool that can help you draw attention to critical parts of your report that require immediate attention. By creating multiple rules for highlighting your data and arranging them in a sequential order, you can ensure that your data is presented in a way that is both informative and visually appealing.

To add conditional highlighting with a single color, follow these simple steps:

  • Click on the "Conditional highlighting" button.

  • Select the field that you want to highlight.

  • Choose "Single Color" if you want to highlight specific data in your report, like all billable utilisations greater than 50%.

  • Select the color you want to use and click "Create".

  • Create multiple rules to suit your highlighting needs and reorder them in the order you prefer.

If you want to add conditional highlighting with multiple colors, follow these steps:

  • Inside Conditional highlighting, select the field.

  • Choose "Multi-Color" if you want to highlight a range of values within your data.

  • Use "Smart Highlight" to automatically highlight the maximum and minimum values within your data set.

  • Use "Custom Highlight" to specify the minimum and maximum values within your data and highlight the data range within the specified values using the color palette of your choice.

  • Choose a color palette and click "Create".

Reminder: Utilize filters to examine a more detailed subset of data within your reports.

Finally, reorder the highlighting rules to draw attention to your data in the desired way. By using these simple techniques, you can make your reports more appealing and informative, and ensure that your data is presented in a way that is easy to understand and interpret.

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