IBM Cognos Reporting Tools: Feature Set Comparison

Cognos Analytics 11.1 puts an arsenal of reporting tools at your disposal. The challenge is determining which one to use: Framework Manager modules, data modules, Report Studio, Active Reports, dashboarding, CAFE or MS Office. In this visual reference guide, we list all the tools along with more than 60 capabilities so you can quickly identify the right tool for the job at hand. Use our guide to quickly reference information by report type and functionality, formatting style, output type, visualization support, query support, prompting, printing, security and more. We even rate the tools on their ease of use and development speed.

Presentation outline

The following capabilities are evaluated for Framework Manager Modules, Data Modules, Report Studio, Active Reports, Dashboarding, CAFE and MS Office Integration.

Software type

  • Requires Server Software Installation
  • Desktop client (Windows)

Browser support

  • Internet Explorer
  • Google Chrome
  • Mozilla
  • Apple Safari
  • IBM Cognos mobile app

Data source & package support

  • Relational package
  • Dimensional package
  • External data sources
  • Access multiple packages

Supported report types

  • List reports
  • Crosstabs
  • Charts
  • Maps


  • Immediate data preview

Report functionality

  • Filtering
  • Advanced filtering
  • Slicers
  • Create calculations
  • Create complex calculations
  • Copy report to clipboard
  • Drill through definitions
  • Drill up/drill down
  • Variable support
  • Layout calculations
  • Complex nesting & row selection
  • Tuples/intersections
  • Expand-collapse built-in

Query support

  • Multiple queries
  • Joins
  • Unions
  • Excepts
  • Outer joins
  • Member sets
  • MDX functions
  • Link dimensional & relational data


  • Basic prompting
  • Controlled filtering & sorting (on the fly)
  • Cascading prompts
  • Cognos prompt API
  • Prompting page design

Report formatting

  • Blocks & tables for layout control
  • Box type
  • Background effects
  • Alignment
  • Size & overflow
  • Conditional styles
  • Advanced conditional styles
  • Data formatting
  • Multiple tabs
  • Multiple pages (report books)

Report outputs

  • HTML
  • PDf
  • Excel
  • CSV
  • MHT

Printing & distribution

  • Page layout control
  • Multi-object page printing
  • Single frame printing only
  • Bursting
  • Saved prompt values


  • Supports row-level security in Framework Manager model
  • Supports row-level security in cubes
  • Supports portal/folder security
  • Interactive report can be emailed

Other miscellaneous criteria

  • Supports write-back
  • Result set size constraints

Ease of use & development speed

  • Ease-of-use (scale: 1-5, where 5 is most difficult)
  • Development speed (scale: 1-5, where 5 is fastest)

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