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Reporting - Styles

Report Styles let you customise the look and feel of your reports by changing items such as colours, fonts, sizes and margins. By default all styles are inherited from those managed by Business Fitness, however this area allows you to customise them as you see fit.

To get started, go to the Admin Centre, and select Report Styles. Create your first custom style by clicking on New Style.

The following fields are common to all report formats:

Style NameA name to help you identify the style.
This is the default Report Style
If checked, all reports will use this style by default (instead of the Business Fitness standard styles), unless another style is specifically selected. You can only have one default Report Style.

Sets the rounding to use for all dollar and number based amounts.
Number from 0 to 5
Percent Rounding
Sets the rounding to use for all percentage amounts.
Number from 0 to 5

The Active Ledger report writer generates reports in three main formats:


Web based reports use a language called Cascading Style Sheets (CSS) to define styles. This language is used to display both reports rendered in the web application, as well as the PDF version of reports.


Reports can optionally be exported in Excel, in which case the Excel style options are used.


Reports can optionally be exported in Word, in which case the Word style options are used.

When you build a custom style, you can choose to customise just one of the styles or a combination of all three. Select the Customise checkbox for the areas you wish to customise.

1. CSS/PDF Styles


You can add custom google fonts to a report. First, find your font on https://fonts.google.com. Select the +Select this style option next to the font. In the right-hand pane, there will be an URL for the font inside the 'href' tag. For example, the following selected font for Oswald shows:

In Active Ledger, under the Font Urls section paste the link for the font in the Url box. The available fields are:

NameTo help you identify the font to which the URL refers toRequired
UrlThe URL of the font, with no quotation marksRequired - valid web URL from fonts.googleapis.com

For our example font, you would enter the following:

Make sure you select the plus (+) button to add the font to the list. Once the font is added, you will be able to add the 'font-family' style to any element in the Edit Element area.

As an example, you could edit the Entire Report element and add the above font-family. The font-family description is obtained from the google fonts embed font window described above. Copy the description and paste into the font-family box in Active Ledger.

It is also possible to upload your own font. Begin by clicking on the upload icon. You will then have the option to choose your own ttf file by clicking on the Choose File button.

Once uploaded, give the font a name and click on the + button to add it. The font can now be used for all font-family elements by using the name in quotation marks (e.g. "Arial").

Custom Styles

CSS styles apply to report elements. Select the name of an element in the Edit Element drop-down to customise that element.

When you first view the element, you will see all the properties that are currently used by the Business Fitness default styles. For example, the Header element looks like this:

The current default values are shown in faded grey. Type in a new value to customise it to your preference. You can use a site such as https://cssvalues.com/ to see available values for each property.

You can add additional properties by selecting them from the drop-down list under Select new property to add.  You can easily check which elements have been customised by clicking on the drop-down. All elements which have been customised will show a blue Customised tag next to them, for example:

Some elements have properties that will be inherited by other elements. For example the Headers element applies to all other headers, for example Header Level 1, Header Level 2 etc.

The Entire Report element contains styles that are used as base values for the entire report.


At any point, you can click the Preview Report button to see a sample web-based report rendered with your custom styles.

2. Excel Styles

Excel reports are styled by using the styles feature in Excel. We recommend using our master template as a starting point. After selecting the Customise Excel tickbox, click on the Report Template hyperlink to download a copy.

The base template is made up of a primary 'Template' sheet which acts as a basis for all pages produced by the Excel report writer. The 'Template' sheet is blank and acts as the page layout guide. Here you can modify the following properties:

Column WidthsChange the width of any of the standard columns to your preferred width. Note if this changes the number of standard columns that fit on a portrait or landscape page, update the No of Columns (Portrait) and No of Columns (Landscape) properties in the Excel Rendering Options area of the Report Style window (see below).
Default Row HeightSelect the DD column and update the font and font-size in order to change the default minimum row height.
Header and FooterAdd a header/footer to this page for it to appear on all pages of the report. Type in the text placeholder {{Footer}} (including the two curly braces) into any section within the footer where you want the report-generated footer text to be inserted.

In addition to these properties, you can change the style of the Every Report element by working with the Excel Styles menu (located on the Home ribbon in Excel). 

A sheet called 'Rep_Styles' contains a handy reference to these styles. DO NOT change the formatting in this sheet directly. Instead, click on an element that you wish to edit and you will find it highlights the relevant style in the Cell Styles drop-down. You can then right-click on the style and select Modify. Make any required changes (font, colour, size, etc) and click OK. The style change will be reflected in the 'Rep_Styles' sheet.

Number Formats

There are a series of report number formats that can also be edited. These differ from normal styles in that only the number formats are used within the style definition. Leave the default rounding (the global 'rounding' property of the report style set at the beginning of this document will override this), but you can change the appearance and formatting for positive amounts, negative amounts, and zero amounts.

Once all changes have been made in the Report Template, return to Active Ledger and upload the file.

Rendering Options

In addition to the Excel template, a number of rendering options are used to change the way the Excel report writer works. Detailed descriptions are included in the form per the screenshot below:

3. Word Styles

Word reports are styled by using the styles feature in Word. We recommend using our master template as a starting point. After selecting the Customise Word tickbox, click on the Report Template hyperlink to download a copy.

To finalise the new style, select Save and Close. You will then see a complete list of your styles. From here you can see whether the CSS/PDF and/or Excel style has been customised and whether one of your styles has been set as the default style for all reports. To edit or delete a style just click on it and make the relevant changes.

Using Styles

If you have selected the This is the Default Report Style checkbox, then this style will automatically be used for all reports.

If you have more than one style or don't have a default report style, then you can choose a style on a report-by-report basis by selecting it from the Style drop-down menu when creating a Report Master or a Report Template.

Next article: Reporting - Report Masters

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