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We have all seen questions with sample data provided as text like this...

ID | Some Description | Some Date | Some Number
1  | Whatever…        | 1/15/2024 | 150
2  | Something else…  | 1/31/2024 | 200
3  | Still more…      | 2/1/2024  | 500

Or in a table...

IDSome DescriptionSome DateSome Number
2Something else...1/31/2024200
3Still more...2/1/2024500

Or even worse, as an image...


Regardless of the question, I am more likely to work out an answer if easily usable data is provided. I may know the answer or have an idea or something to try, but I want to test it out to make sure my solution works before posting it.

With a few simple steps you can provide the sample data you posted as text, a table, or in an image as a free-hand SQL statement with which anyone wanting to attempt to answer can build a report in their environment. I my example I will be using SQL Server syntax which I understand will not work for everyone.

  1. Mock up data in a spreadsheet
    Create your sample data in Excel, Google Sheets, or whatever spreadsheet software you use.
  2. Convert sample data to SQL
    Copy your sample data from your spreadsheet and paste it into a CSV to SQL conversion tool. I like to use


    There are a lot of options. Take some time to experiment. Ultimately, I want a series select statements (one for each row of data) unioned together. Remember, we cannot create tables within a free-hand SQL statement.

  3. Test SQL in Web Intelligence
    Drop that SQL into a free-hand SQL query.

    You may need to adjust the SQL to force some data types to be what you want.


    As you can see the Some Date object is being recognized as a "String". I want it to be a "Date/Time". To force that, I just need to add a function around the date value in the first line like this (the other lines will follow suit)...


    You many need to change the Qualification of some objects to match your exact situation.

    And there you have it...
  4. Share your free-hand SQL
    Now you could just post that generated free-hand SQL as it is...

    SELECT 1 AS ID,'Whatever…' AS [Some Description],CONVERT(DATE, '1/15/2024') AS [Some Date],150 AS [Some Number]
    SELECT 2,'Something else…','1/31/2024',200
    SELECT 3,'Still more…','2/1/2024',500

    However, if it is more than a few rows that can be cumbersome. I prefer to use a tool like db<>fiddle. I can work with my SQL code there to ensure that it is working how I want it to.


    Each execution of a SQL statement in db<>fiddle with generate a its own unique URL which you can then copy and share. Then, whomever wants to work on your question can navigate to that URL, copy the SQL, and paste it into their a free-hand SQL query in their BusinessObjects environment.

I hope this helps drive better questions and more answers.



1 Comment

Excellent. Note that on the CSV to SQL Output Options, you change the text displayed for the Some Date field by either

1. modifying the Template for it (last column in Output Options) using CONVERT(DATE,{f})   {f} is the text in Some Date so when expanded it's creates:  CONVERT(DATE,'1/15/2024'). Alternatively use template CAST({f} AS DATE) 

2. Enter YYYY-MM-DD in "Output Format for Dates". Dates are automatically recognized and this is a way to reformat them. Some systems will automatically recognize dates in this format.

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