Skip to Main Content
banner NOAA logo            NOAA's National Marine Fisheries Service
            NOAA Fisheries Toolbox

row of waves


 Model List

Visual Report Designer

Visual Report Designer



|  About  |  Downloads  |  Screen Shots  |  Version History  |



Version 1.6.1 (April 2008)

Research Model


Visual Report Designer is a tool that can be used to visually depict trends in tabular data. It is well suited to facilitate the evaluation of data relating to stock status and in the communication of information from noncommensurate quantities.  The Visual Report Designer translates the information in a numerical data range to a set of color-coded symbols.  Observations can be sorted and grouped into quantiles, with each quantile assigned a color-coded symbol. Comparison tables can be constructed using a 5-category (quintile) color scheme in a two hues of varying lightness style similar to "Consumer Reports" comparison tables, or into a 2- or 3-category color scheme similar to traffic light charts.


If desired, a measure of dispersion (Max-Min)/Mean can be displayed next to the comparison table. This property can help focus attention on quantities with a wide dynamic range and reduce attention on quantities with little variation.

Example of Visual Report layout

Example of a Visual Report Designer chart.

Image of the symbol sets available

Eleven symbol sets are available.


Data can be imported into a Visual Report Designer project are stored in a master compilation called a "data collection." From this master dataset you can construct up to 15 reports, each of which is automatically saved with the project data . Reports can be edited at a future date if necessary.


The current version of Visual Report Designer allows you to import time series data directly from several NOAA Fisheries Toolbox models: AGEPRO, AIM, ASAP, ASPIC, CSA, and VPA / ADAPT, as well as SAGA length-weight files. This can be useful, for example, in comparing and contrasting results from different Toolbox models. For more information on the versions supported, and which types of data can be imported, see the help manual (which you can download below).


You can also import time-series data stored in text files, spreadsheets or other applications by copying the data to the Windows clipboard and adding it to Visual Report Designer's data collection.


Any changes you make to the project are recorded into a log file. Visual Report Designer automatically saves the project data and reports as you make changes. To help prevent accidental loss of data, Visual Report Designer also includes an automatic backup feature and the ability to restore projects from a backup copy.


Visual Report Designer saves the report in an HTML file, a format that web browsers and many applications can read. You can view the report file from within the Visual Report Designer application or you can select another application. You can also open the report with a word processing program and make minor edits. If the report is viewed from within Visual Report Designer, you can save an image of the report as a Bitmap image file, or copy it to the Windows clipboard so that it can be pasted into another application.


Other Uses of the Visual Report Designer


Visual Report Designer automatically saves the imported time series data in a comma delimited (CSV) file. It can also be saved in a database style format. The data files can be a useful way to analyze the results of many different Toolbox models outside of Visual Report Designer without having to convert between data formats by hand.




Please note that Visual Report Designer uses a Microsoft Internet Explorer component as a helper tool to view report files. For computer safety reasons, the installation package doesn't contain this helper component but most Windows computers will already have Microsoft Internet Explorer installed. If you don't have Internet Explorer installed you can go to Microsoft's web site to download it for free: You can always use Visual Report Designer without the Internet Explorer component if you wish, although some features may not be fully available.


Back to Top 




Download Visual Report Designer Now


The help manual (VRHELP.chm) is also available. Click here to download it now.


Back to Top 


Screen Shots


A sample report, viewed from within the Visual Report Designer application using the built-in report viewer:


A sample report


The view of all the data in the project:


View of all the data in the project


Adding data to the report and setting display options:


Setting data display options


The report design view:


Report design view


Back to Top 


Version History


Visual Report Designer 1.6.1 (April 2008)


This version replaces version 1.6.


  • Visual Report Designer now includes the ability to import AIM Version 2.0 files and ASAP Version 2.0.x files.

  • Fixed a bug in the AIM import utility that prevented data files with a blank model description from being imported.


Visual Report Designer 1.6 (February 2008)


This version replaces version 1.5.1.


New Features:

  • You have the option to print a dispersion statistic next to each line of data in the report.

  • Missing data in the Data Collection Grid are allowed.

  • You can select a missing data indicator (e.g., "N/A", -9999, etc.). Any datum that exactly matches this value will be excluded from the binning calculations.

  • You can globally replace values in the Data Collection Grid that represent your missing value indicator with a different missing value indicator.

  • ASPIC files containing missing data can be imported with a user-selected missing value indicator, or as missing values are displayed in ASPIC (any negative number for input data; zeros in output data).

  • Better handling of Data Type and Item descriptors when importing ASPIC data.

  • New Backup capabilities: Backups of your project are created automatically when you open an existing project and before you close the program. You can create a backup manually at any time. Up to 20 backups can be created before recycling the old backups. You can restore a backed up project from the saved copies.

  • The set of symbols used in quintiles have been improved for better clarity.

  • Minor enhancements to the graphic interface.

Bug Fixes:

  • Fixed a bug that incorrectly changed the project's start and end years when adding user-supplied data which falls outside the existing data's year range.

  • Fixed a bug that did not allow Toolbox models to be imported using the Add Data button on the Data Collection form.

  • Fixed a bug that incorrectly re-loaded data into the Data Collection Grid for an existing project in cases where commas were present in any of the descriptive fields.

  • Fixed a bug that didn't automatically write out the Report Layout file when the report's Page Preferences are changed, and so modifications to the page preferences may not have been saved right away.

  • Fixed a bug that erroneously excluded the Starting Biomass from imported ASPIC files.


Back to Top 


Older Version Changes 


Visual Report Designer 1.5.1 - BETA (April 2007)

  • Primarily a bug fix version.

  • Fixed a bug that disallowed spaces or periods in the file name or directory name.

  • Fixed a bug that began the data collection years at zero for new cases.


Visual Report Designer 1.5 - BETA (December 2006)

This version replaces Version 1.4.4 (August 2006). Many improvements and new features were added to version 1.5:


  • The process of creating reports was streamlined.

  • Data can be added to a report or edited within the report in batch mode, reducing the time necessary to design or modify reports.

  • All reports as well as data that have been imported into Visual Report Designer can be saved automatically.

  • Year ranges for the imported data as well as each report are handled automatically in the background, eliminating the need for you to set the year ranges explicitly.

  • More symbol sets are available.

  • Reports are more fully customizable and include integrated copy and save functions.

  • Reports are saved as HTML files allowing for greater portability and can be edited outside of Visual Report Designer.

  • Entering custom or user-supplied data into the User Added Data grid is easier and more intuitive.


Back to Top 


NOAA Fisheries Toolbox Version 3.1

website last modified May 16, 2016


Printer friendly view

Link disclaimer | Email webmaster | Privacy policy |     File Modified Mar 28, 2008