Oracle releases BI extension for Open Office

Oracle released a new BI extension for Open Office with the latest Open Office release (v. 3.3) . This extension gives us the ability to embed information from BI EE 10g into Open Office Calc, Writer and Impress documents (equivalents of Excel, Word and Powerpoint).  OO Calc supports the ability to embed entire reports including tabular views, pivot tables and charts. OO Writer and OO Impress only support embedding of charts into the documents.

Installing the BI extension is very simple. After walking through the simple Open Office Install, open up any Open Office tool. Select Tools -> Extensions Manager. Click Add and select the Oracle BI extension (Available under oracle-openoffice-3_3_0-enterprise-tools-ent-kit\extensions\oracle-office-bi-server as a part of the Open Office Enterprise Tools download).

OO Extensions Manager

Once  the extension is added, a new menu for Oracle BI is now visible across the tools.  You can setup access to all your Oracle BI instances, by adding them in the extension options.

OO Oracle BI Server Extensions

Once this is done, use the Oracle BI menu to Login and presto! The web catalog is available at your disposal. Select Presentation Catalog from the Oracle BI menu to look at the reports at your disposal.

Double clicking any chart on the list will insert it with the default Open Office formatting. Unlike the Excel Add-in this extension does not feature the ability to insert BI chart as images containing the default Answers formatting. One can change the chart types and formatting using the standard chart options.

OO Impress

The Open Office extension has a modify link that will let you modify the report from a web browser if needed. The Refresh option under the Oracle BI menu allows you to keep the Impress Presentation up to date with the latest data from the BI system. You might need to reimport the chart using the Edit Prompts and Levels menu option if your source report has changed in structure.

OO Impress Charts

You might recall the BI Plug-in for Ms Office was only applicable to Excel and Powerpoint. The Open Office extension however works with OO Writer as well. It features exactly the same functionality as with OO Impress.

OO Writer

The Open Office extension for OO Calc has the ability to import tables and pivot tables apart from the charts. You will notice the Table view and  Pivot table objects are now visible from the presentation catalog. Double clicking on any object adds it to the spreadsheet. Inserting the complete request data as a pivot invokes the DataPilot where you can chose the columns that make up the rows, columns and parameters of the pivot.

Data Pilot

Data Pilot

The resultant pivot can be pivoted freely using drag-drop methods or by using the context menu. You can add multiple such reports into single spreadsheet and add your own calculations to the mix.

Editing Pivot Views

Apart form adding calculations, you can also add conditional formatting and column text formatting on columns using Open Office styles and formatting tools.

OO Calc Styles

The Open Office extension for BI Server is also available on other platforms including the mac. Other Connectors apart from the Oracle BI extensions like the JDeveloper plugin, MS Sharepoint extension and E-Business suite are also available with this release. For more information on these products, visit the official Oracle.com page.

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