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Best Free Reporting Tools

Reporting tools will help you to analyze and visualize your data in easy to understand format, this is a good way to learn the software’s existing features. Exporting reports in different formats will also make your report easier to digest. Advanced Reporting tools even allow you to print data directly from your database. You can choose from the wide variety of free Business Intelligence and Reporting tools that are available online.

Whether you need to run a simple report or are looking to build a more robust dashboard, there are many good options out there. Below we highlight some of the most useful reporting tools so you can find the best one for your needs.

What is a reporting tool?
A reporting tool, or software reporting tool, is a system that takes in data from various sources and extrapolates it in tables, charts, visual presentations, and other styles so that the information is easier to parse. For example, Tableau reporting tools use data blending and drill-down to help users look for variations and/or patterns.

What are the types of reporting tools?
There are many types of reporting tools, such as dashboard software, data visualization software, scorecard tools, and ad-hoc report writers. Dashboard software lets you put the reports that matter most to you front-and-center; data visualization software is all about turning data into something visually-oriented that users can easily read; scorecarding tools are all about performance data so you know who your high achievers are, and ad-hoc report writers create various styles of reports in-the-moment for companies who have ever-changing needs.

What are BI tools?
BI tools pull data from various sources and visualize it in a way that users find useful. BI tools may gather, organize, and analyze data into meaningful reports that can be printed or redistributed in some way.

What are the benefits of reporting tools?
Reporting tools are beneficial because they gather data across sources (inventory, sales, conversion, web traffic, social media impressions, time spent, and so on) and then organize it in a visual way for users to read and interpret. Reports can typically be saved into different formats, printed and distributed, visualized, and presented, so it is a great way to convey large amounts of useful information quickly. Also, reporting allows you to ask big-picture questions and then collect the data you need to make the best decisions.

Not looking for report software at the moment? Check out our other lists of other project management tools you might find useful:

  1. Look at project portfolio management tools, which can help you conduct and communicate your reports on a higher level and across projects.
  2. Communication, communication, communication. If you haven’t nailed this, you can’t really get started on anything else. Try these 10 Best Communication Tools & Software.
  3. Find reporting tools within other software, such as my list of the best marketing project management software.

Reporting Database Comparison Criteria

What are we looking for when we add items to our BI tools list? Here’s a summary of my evaluation criteria:

  • User Interface (UI): Is it clean and attractive? Are the reports aesthetically pleasing and easy to interpret?
  • Usability: How easy is it to learn?
  • Features & Functionality
    • Robust reporting – Does the software features automatic reporting tools that are flexible, easy to learn, scalable, and visually appealing? Can the data be visualized in a variety of different ways? Can you export, print, share, and project reports with relative ease?
    • Dashboard customization – Can you build a digital marketing dashboard, finance, and budgets dashboard, or anything else you can think of with relative ease? Are dashboards drag-and-drop or otherwise intuitively built?
    • Source options – Can the tool pull data easily from a variety of sources? Or is it limited to one or two options? Can it pull data from different types of sources, like web pages to spreadsheets to apps to accounting software?
    • Deep data search functions – Is data easy to search using both technical and non-technical language and specifications? Are there different ways to “ask questions” of your data, depending on user ability or preference?
  •  Integrations: Is it easy to connect with other tools? Any pre-built integrations?
  •  Value for $: How appropriate is the price for the features, capabilities, and use case? Is pricing clear, transparent, and flexible?

FineReport

FineReport is a reporting tool that is free for personal use, without time and function limits.

Reporting Tools
FineReport

The Excel-like interface is easy for users to generate, export, and print complex reports or irregular reports. Its capabilities of excel reporting tools, such as importing data from excel in batches, make creating reports from excel be incredibly convenient.

The data entry function makes this reporting software distinctive from others. Users can write the data back to the database via the web reports created by FineReport. 

Besides, various open APIs make FineReport more flexible than open-source reporting tools to be integrated with other systems, and more efficiently to be customized.

The other stunning features of this software include,

 FineReport

One of the key benefits of FineReport is the ability to use it without time and function limitations.

You’ll soon notice, the interface of this tool resembles Microsoft Excel. It allows you to quickly produce and export data or print irregular, complex reports. 

FineReport also has similar features to Microsoft Excel reporting tools: importing data in groups or ensuring convenience while creating reports.

FineReport software stands out from the crowd due to its data entry features. It allows the user to write data back to the source through the web reports instituted by FineReport. 

And finally, different open APIs make this tool easy to use. Meanwhile, other tools typically require integration with several other systems.

JFreeChart

JFreeChart is a reporting software based on Java. You can use this tool to generate pie, bar, line, Gantt, and area charts, build mixed graphs or dashboards. The tool allows exporting these files in JPEG or PNG formats. 

JFreeChart is one of the most stable and lightweight reporting tools. It also supports different chart formats. Due to its flexible design, you can easily apply it on both client-side and server-side applications. 

Finally, this tool supports different exporting formats such as JavaFX features, Swing components, vector graphics, file and image formats. 

 iReport

Reporting Tools
iReport

iReport is a free and open-source report designer designed for the JasperReports Library and JasperReports Server. It can create complex reports such as charts, images, sub-reports, cross-tables, etc. The documents can be published and exported in a variety of document formats.

 Pentaho

Reporting Tools
Pentaho

Pentaho is an open-source set of tools, including reporting designer, reporting engine, and the reporting SDK. The Community Edition is free, licensed under the Apache Software License.

It allows you to create reports that support the exporting reports to Excel, PDF, HTML, text, rich text, XML, and CSV. The generated reports can easily transform a variety of sources into readable data.

 Pentaho

Reporting Tools
Pentaho

Pentaho is an open-source set of tools, including reporting designer, reporting engine, and the reporting SDK. The Community Edition is free, licensed under the Apache Software License.

It allows you to create reports that support the exporting reports to Excel, PDF, HTML, text, rich text, XML, and CSV. The generated reports can easily transform a variety of sources into readable data.

 Pentaho

Reporting Tools
Pentaho

Pentaho is an open-source set of tools, including reporting designer, reporting engine, and the reporting SDK. The Community Edition is free, licensed under the Apache Software License.

It allows you to create reports that support the exporting reports to Excel, PDF, HTML, text, rich text, XML, and CSV. The generated reports can easily transform a variety of sources into readable data.

Flexmonster Desktop

With Flexmonster Pivot Table & Charts for Desktop, you can compose professional reports using Excel-like features for interactive reporting. This is a perfect solution if you find BI tools too complicated and at the same time, no free tool is sufficient for your needs. 

Flexmonster Desktop is not so complex as BI reporting software, but highly functional and fast. This reporting tool allows us to load over a million rows of data and still have a smooth scroll. 

All functions are easy to find and apply due to the friendly UI: filter, sort, aggregate, and drill through your data to get the needed insights that were hidden under tons of data.

Seal Report

Seal Report is a comprehensive framework for composing daily reports from any database. It is one of the fastest tools you can choose from.  After the setup, reports can be created and distributed in a minute. Among the main functionalities of this tool is a dynamic SQL database where users can command the Seal engine’s dynamic SQL to query the data system.

At Seal Report the installation process is extremely simplified so you will not need much time for this. The same goes for dashboard design, which is simple and understandable even if you use it for the first time.

BIRT

BIRT allows creating reports and installing them later on in web applications. 

Via BIRT you can use a visual designer or the runtime features. The visual designer allows you to develop any design you prefer, and the runtime features can be used in any Java environment. For those who like to visualize their data with charts, BIRT has a new diagram engine feature, enabling users to synchronize it to any BIRT diagrams.  

Besides, you can save the design templates as XML files. You can also reach various databases such as SQL databases, JDO data store, jfire script objects, POJOs. 

Conclusion

Generate reports with data directly from your database source via a simple drag-and-drop interface. Plus, you can easily schedule reports to be sent automatically by email.

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