SAP Knowledge Base Article - Public

2673992 - Live data / Advanced Reporting query exports blank file or file with strange characters - ""

Symptom

When exporting a Live Data / Advanced Reporting query either from the preview screen or through the report distributor, the following behavior can be observed:

  • Export in XLS/XLSX format:
    Empty file with no column headers.

  • Export in CSV format:
    Empty file when opened in a text editor like notepad++
    Special characters "" displayed in the first cell when opened in Microsoft Excel

Environment

SuccessFactors Online Report Designer

Reproducing the Issue

  1. Design a Live Data / Advanced Reporting query and modify people scope / add filters in such a way that does not fetch any results.
  2. Attempt to export the report in one of the following options:
    • From the preview screen in xls
    • Export in background option from the preview screen
    • Add the query as a CSV table (Add CSV Table) to a report distributor bundle and execute the bundle
    • Add the query as an Excel table (Add Excel Table) to a report distributor bundle and execute the bundle
  • Exports in XLS/XLSX format:
    Empty file with no column headers.

  • Exports in CSV format:
    Empty file when opened in a text editor like notepad++
    Special characters "" displayed in the first cell when opened in Microsoft Excel

Cause

Blank File (even columns headers are missing):
If the query is exported directly, headers will not be included.
Queries are intended to be used as building blocks for reports and not as a replacement for reports.
Hence the behavior is expected. 

Special characters ("") when opening the csv file in Microsoft Excel:

The special characters visible while opening the csv file in MS Excel are BOM(byte order mark) characters used in UTF-8 encoded files.
(UTF-8 is the format used for all csv exports by the report distributor).
In UTF-8 encoding,  "" is used at the start that the text stream is encoded in UTF-8.
More on BOM characters: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Byte_order_mark

The application used to access the file should not display these characters.
This is an issue / bug in Microsoft Excel.

Resolution

Blank File:
As mentioned above, the blank file export is expected behavior and cannot be changed.
Workaround to ensure column headers are included even if the report does not have any matching data:

  1. Create a Report and a Report page in Online Report Designer.
  2. Add the required Query as a List report component to the report page created in Step 1.
  3. Create a new Report Distributor Bundle.
  4. Add new item in the desired format (CSV Table / Excel Table) and select the List Report component from the newly created Report Page (Step 2).
  5. Execute the bundle in the required format (Offline / e-mail / csv) either through the Run Report Distributor option or through a scheduled run.

Special characters (""):
Since the issue is with Microsoft Excel, we (SAP) have no control over the behavior.
Please contact Microsoft Support for the issue.

Keywords

""

Special Characters CSV
Live Data Query export
Advanced Reporting Query export
REALMS Reporting Query export
Report Bundle
Report Distribution bundle
Headers missing , KBA , LOD-SF-ANA-RDT , Report Distributor , LOD-SF-ANA-ORD , Online Report Designer , Problem

Product

SAP SuccessFactors HCM Core all versions