Is excel even the right solution? Technical reports.


New Member
Mar 21, 2014
I have been trying to use excel to generate quarterly TECHNICAL report printouts related to preventative equipment maintenance. We use a specialized program to generate the actual data for each individual report, so there is no accuracy nightmare with the actual data. The program generates a three column CSV file that I have been pasting into its own worksheet in an excel workbook.

Serial No.#.####.###

Repeat for 70-500 lines, depending on the facility.

I print out a report for the facility as soon as we analyze the data. I need the report to look the same every quarter, regardless if we took measurements on the equipment (i.e. Facility A must always have 40 pieces of equipment that fit on 20 pages). I started out using VLOOKUP to basically plug the data into a report. (Prior to this, someone had been spending a couple hours manually entering the numbers into a word document).

The first issue I ran into is that an excel document, even set up in page layout view, does not print the same from every computer.

The solution seemed to be to just save as PDF. However, with some reports being about 100 pages long, I needed a working table of contents. Each area of the facility is hyperlinked within excel (Right click>hyperlink>place within this document). Saving as a PDF breaks all these hyperlinks.

Next "solution" was to recreate the report in Word, with linked excel objects in between each hyperlink. So Word pulls the report format from excel, but hyperlinks within itself. When this combination is saved as a PDF, it works as intended. However, as soon as the worksheet is opened from the other computer in the office, it corrupts all the linked objects, either breaking the links, or corrupting them so the document can no longer open.

The reports are viewed both on screen from two computers in the office, and then from several different computers at their own facilities, and then printed out and handed to operators on the floor.


All I need is to change the format of a long list of data about 20 times quarterly, while maintaining working hyperlinks within the document, in a PRINTABLE format that does not change depending on printer or computer.

Should I be using excel or something else?

My company is very small (only two of us in the office, six total employees) and cannot afford a big fancy specialized program, but we need to generate these reports regularly, and quickly. Would getting Adobe Acrobat solve my hyperlinking problem if there is no "free" solution within MS Office Professional Suite? Someone recommended using MS Access, but after looking at it, I'm not sure it is actually what I need. the equipment won't ever change, but the data attached to it changes every three months, and it comes pre-validated by the specialized software used to analyze it (but that program cannot generate reports).

Excel Facts

Why does 9 mean SUM in SUBTOTAL?
It is because Sum is the 9th alphabetically in Average, Count, CountA, Max, Min, Product, StDev.S, StDev.P, Sum, VAR.S, VAR.P.

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