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Top 10 Free Reporting Tools for Your Business

Apr 05, 2020 5 min read

One of the easiest ways enterprise companies manage tons of data is by using a reporting tool. These tools allow you to create visual data representations, make it easy to read complex data and save you time. But, how can you be sure you're going with the right solution that suits your business? In today's article, you'll learn all about reporting tools designed for data visualization.

What is Reporting Software?

Reporting software is a solution that synchronizes with databases to collect information, then generates insights in graphs. With the help of a reporting tool, a user can ensure the data is valuable, build visual dashboards, and create data insights. 

Static Reports Vs. Interactive Reports

There are two categories of reports: static and interactive. As you might have guessed it, you cannot alter static reports as an end-user. Meanwhile, an interactive one allows you to view data in real-time and make adjustments. 

Also, an interactive report gives an option to filter and sort the data. Whatagraph is one of data reporting tools that allows building live reports.

live reports

Live reporting tool

It would be best if you used a data reporting tool based on the department you work at. Here are the main categories of reporting:

  • Enterprise Reporting
  • Self-Service Reporting
  • Visualization and Reporting
  • Reporting for Business Intelligence
  • Finance Related Reporting
  • Application performance reporting

In some instances, people usually confuse reporting tools with business intelligence software. There are not the same.

Business Intelligence Vs. Reporting Tools

There’s  a common misconception between reporting tools and business intelligence software. In fact, reporting software is just a part of a business intelligence suite. 

Meanwhile, business intelligence tools fall under different software categories. The significant distinction lies in intelligence tools’ capabilities to perform data correlation.

Now, you'll come across paid and free data reporting tools. Besides the obvious advantage of saving money, going for a non-paid one can meet your requirements as much as a paid one would. Plus, you'll have a chance to test it out risk-free.  

Finally, the free data reporting services usually have a discussion board implemented: here, you can resolve queries and user problems.

Top 10 Open-Source Reporting You Can Get for Free

1. JasperReports

Jaspersoft ETL is one of the most popular data analytics services in the industry. This service is written in Java and is licensed under GPLv2. It supports various exporting formats, such as HTML, PDF, XML, and CSV. Finally, JasperReports is compatible with multiple databases.

JasperReports service offers these features: 

1. JasperReports Studio. The studio is an Eclipse-based business report designer. You can use it to develop complex reports such as images, crossovers, or subreports.

2. JasperReports Library. It's an open-source data reporting database.

3. JasperReports Server. It's an independent, embeddable reporting server. It's capable of analyzing data, and it offers scheduled task solutions. 

4. Jaspersoft ETL. It's an ETL framework that you can easily deploy and execute: this way, you establish a comprehensive data store and data set.

2. 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.

3. 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. 

Live reporting tool

4. iReport

iReport is a design service for JasperReports Server and JasperReports Library. Using this system, you can create complex documents, such as subreports, images, charts, or cross-tables. And, you can convert the document to multiple file formats.

5. Pentaho

Pentaho is a free set of tools that has multiple functionalities available, such as reporting engine, reporting designer, and reporting SDK. The Pentaho Community Edition is licensed under ASL or Apache Software License.

Using this tool, you can convert the prepared files to the following formats: PDF, Excel, HTML, rich text, text, CSV, and XML. Also, the sourced files can change different sources to readable data. 

6. BIRT

BIRT is a data reporting tool based on Eclipse. It allows creating reports and embedding them later on in web applications or clients. 

There are two sections of  BIRT functionalities: a visual designer and the runtime features. The first one allows you to develop any BORT design, while the second can be used in any JAVA environment. 

BIRT has an additional diagram engine feature, allowing you to sync it to any BIRT diagrams. 

Finally, the design templates are saved as XML files. You can also access several databases such as SQL databases, jfire script objects, JDO data store, POJOs, Web services, and XML. 

7. Seal Report

Seal Report is a data reporting tool for the Microsoft .NET framework written entirely in C# language. It offers a holistic framework, allowing you to build dashboards and report data from any database every day. The key function of this tool is simplifying the installation process and dashboard design.

The key functionalities of Seal Report include: 

1. Dynamic SQL database. Users can either use SQL or instruct the Seal engine's dynamic SQL to query the data system. 

2. Local pivot tables. Users can display the element in the pivot tables and dashboards using drag and drop. It also supports HTML5 charts.

8. Open Reports

Open Reports is another web-based data reporting. It allows users to preview dynamically created files in HTML, PDF, or XLS format via a web browser. This software was developed using Java. 

Open Reports supports various types of data reporting engines, such as JFreeReport, Eclipse BIRT, JasperReports, and JXLS, ensuring different requirements are met. 

9. Easy Report

EasyReport is a Microsoft Excel plug-in written in C#. One of its best features is the intuitive, user-friendly design – the system is indeed easy to use. 

This tool's main capabilities are converting a row, and column structures in SL statements to HTML tables. 

Also, Easy Report supports Colspan and RowSpan attributes. The reporting tool allows performing the following functions: users can export Excel Reports, fixed table header, chart display, and left column functions.

10. SpagoBI

SpagoBi is a 100% open-source suite, designed and managed by SpagoBI lab's Engineering Group. This reporting tool provides data analytics features, including traditional reporting, charting capabilities and bespoke solutions like geo-location analytics, social network analytics, self-service analytics, and what-if analytics. 

This reporting tool also possesses the timing of task functions. Also, it supports query engines like Hive for the big data solution. The latest adaptation includes the client and the authority management module.

Conclusion

Choosing a free data reporting tool certainly has its advantages and offers useful features. But, it would be best if you considered the potential downsides of using a non-paid one. For instance, fixing a bug may take too much time, and you'll need to find another solution.

The search for business software with a user-friendly interface can be frustrating. If your organization is trying to get a reliable solution designed for multi-source data management and analysis, try Whatagraph. 

Using Whatagraph, you'll be able to monitor your marketing performance in real-time, prepare visual data documents, and deliver them on time without any hassle.

Live reporting tool

Wendy
Written by Wendy

Wendy is a data-oriented marketing geek who loves to read detective fiction or try new baking recipes. She writes articles on the latest industry updates or trends.

Whether you’re an account manager who has to create weekly or monthly performance reports for your clients, or an executive who has to review those reports and align your marketing strategy accordingly, or a small business owner who has to do both – you can majorly benefit from real-time reporting. Even if you don’t think so yet.
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