Narrative Reporting Quick Tip: Suppression Bug

I’ve been doing a lot of consulting work in Narrative Reporting lately, and it’s been a joy. Every customer uses reporting tools differently, so it’s been a fun journey to see how customers creatively use the solutions within this suite of products to accomplish their business goals. In these findings, I have discovered a small handful of bugs. They have been reported through the Oracle SR process and formally logged.

One bug in particular has a temporary workaround, which I wanted to share with you. This concerns management reporting  with multiple grids, at least one hidden, and data suppression.

Report Setup

The purpose of this report is to mimic the scenario where a customer wants to pull data from multiple sources together into multiple grids (most of which are hidden), and then consolidate to a single grid that’s shown to the user. In my case, I’m using the sample Narrative Reporting application as the data source of all three (which has no bearing on the bug), just to keep it simple and replicable.

There are 3 total grids on this test report:

  • “Grid Show” = shown to the end user, no suppression set
  • Grid A = hidden from the end user, data suppression set
  • Grid B = hidden from the end user, data suppression set

Grids A and B have slightly different Accounts data on them. The data is irrelevant – the functionality is what I’m trying to demonstrate. They both also have report calculations on them.

“Grid Show” not only pulls data from its own source, but also “cell references” (to borrow an Excel term) data from the other 2 grids. It cell references data from the calculated rows.

The Bug

Here is what the report looks like while broken, before the workaround is applied. In “Grid Show” the salmon highlighting refers to formulas that reference or replicate formulas from Grid A. And the light blue highlighting refers to formulas that reference or replicate formulas from Grid B. I have 2 sets of formulas in Grid Show – the top set contains the “cell reference” formulas, which reference calculated data from the grids. The bottom set contains a replication of the direct report formulas in Grids A and B, respectively.

As you can see, the data is suppressed in the cells of the top formula set, which “cell references” the calculated formulas from the individual grids. This is not how it should behave. Grids A and B do have suppression set on them, but there is calculated data in the cells being referenced, and it’s actually showing. Therefore, the data should not be suppressed in “Grid Show”.

Here is the report once fixed – correctly showing the data in the top set of formula rows:

The Workaround

The temporary workaround is very simple and worked instantly. I had to move grid “Grid Show” to the hidden sheet that was auto-generated in this report. To do this, right-click the grid and use the “Move to” command. Once moved, I then had to move it back to the display sheet.

Problem solved! For reference purposes, this is bug 30909631 – SUPPRESSION OF FORMULAS REFERENCING GRID FORMULAS SUPPRESSES WHEN IT SHOULDN’T. It is expected to be resolved in the May 2020 update.

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