The Task Pane is the core authoring tool used to create and modify Cosmos reports. It is an Excel add-in that makes it quick and easy to create reports in Excel Online.
This article walks through the main components of the Task Pane and how to use it to effectively create Cosmos reports.
Accessing the Task Pane
To access the Task Pane, you will first need to navigate to the Cosmos ribbon at the top of Excel and then click the Task Pane button.
Once the Task Pane has been opened once for a report, Cosmos will remember that it is a Cosmos report and will open the Task Pane automatically every time the report is opened.
Task Pane Navigation
The Task Pane consists of seven primary tabs located on the right-hand side:
- Report Options
- Excel Links
- Sheet Lists
- Range Lists
- Table Filters
- Field Lookups
Report Options enable the user to add report options (filters) quickly and easily to a report. These are filters that are going to be set when the report is run and will typically apply to most areas of the report.
Excel Links provide a powerful way for users to leverage the full power of Excel to create custom filters that can then be used within their Cosmos functions. A popular user case for this is by creating a wide range of dates for things like Year-to-Date, Month-to-Date, Prior Year, etc. that can then be easily referenced from directly within your Cosmos functions.
Sheet Lists are used to tell Cosmos that when the report is run the current sheet should be copied based on values that the user specifies. For example, if this were a financial statement and you wanted to have a sheet for each department within the organization, creating a Sheet List on department would accomplish this.
Range Lists control all the list functions in the current sheet. These are the functions that will create lists of data that the user would like to see, such as a list of all the GL accounts that had transactions last month or a list of all the customers associated with a particular salesperson.
Table Filters provide an easy way to apply filters to a table for an entire range of cells, and then enable other Cosmos functions, such as Range Lists or aggregates, to link to them and automatically inherit whatever filters are set for the Table Filter.
Aggregates provide an easy way to count or sum different values within a report. For example if you wanted to add up all the sales for a particular salesperson or group of sales people you would create a SUM aggregate on the Sales Transactions field.
Field Lookups control all the additional data that the user would like to add into the report related to list functions. For example, the user may want to create a list of customers using a Range List and then add Field Lookups to retrieve information such as the customer's name, city, state, country, and total sales for the year. Field Lookups are primarily used to add context to the values being created by list functions.
Located in the upper-right hand corner of any of the seven primary tabs there is a messaging icon. Clicking that icon will enable Caption Cosmos.
Captin Cosmos is a AI enabled chat bot that has been trained to help answer any questions you may have about the Cosmos platform or any of the functionality inside of it.
For example, Captin Cosmos was asked how to create an Excel Link. Captin Cosmos returned step by step instructions as well as a link to our How to Use Excel Links knowledgebase article.