IBM Cognos Analytics – Reports – default action

In IBM Cognos 8.x/10.x Report Authors the option/property “default action” had the choices of “View the most recent output”, “Run Report” or “Open with Editor”. Feeback from QueryVision customers and Cognos customers in general is that the “Run the Report” option is heavily used.

For IBM Cognos Analytics 11 (ICA 11) the new portal/UI the current behavior is fixed as “View the most recent output”. There is a Request for Feature/Enhancement (RFE) to restore the options which can be found here, which customers can vote on to raise the priority of the enhancement.

This is not an issue for customers QueryVision SharePoint Web Parts for Cognos using our Report Viewer allows setting of those options independent of the Cognos Portal behavior. However, if you are using our Cognos Component web part to embed the ICA 11 portal/UI in SharePoint, you should understand your options.

The Details

For the IBM Cognos Analytics (ICA) 11.0.3 portal/UI, the “default action” when clicking on a report is dependent on whether the report is configured as a (new for ICA 11) “interactive” report vs. a “non-interactive” report and whether there are saved outputs.

For Reports imported from 8.x/10.x, the “default action” behavior will be “View the most recent output”.

When 8.x/10.x reports are imported and upgraded they become “non-interactive” reports. When editing these reports or creating a new report with the new report authoring/studio tool, the report author has the option of setting the interactivity of a report via the runInAdvancedViewer report property (true= interactive, false = non-interactive). 

Non-interactive reports act like those in 8.x and 10.x and can have HTML and JavaScript embedded in prompt pages and the report itself and are displayed in the “classic” viewer.

Interactive reports now allow ad-hoc in-report changes of components/elements on the page without having to add prompt or other controls to the report and are displayed in the “advanced” viewer. An example of interactive behavior is the ability to change the filtering on individual list/cross tab tables and charts within a report. Interactive reports will strip any custom HTML or JavaScript prior to execution.

The “default action” is applied (in ICA 11) when the user clicks on the report name in the navigation fly-outs and is defined as follows:

Report is Interactive:

  • Display as interactive HTML

Report is Non-Interactive:

  • [Saved] output exists – View the most recent output
  • [Saved] output does not exist – Run the Report (as HTML)

ICA 11 UI does not provide either users nor administrators a way to select between the 10x “default action” options of “View most recent output”, “Run the Report” or “Open with Editor”.

Some additional details:

  • Legacy Portal – in ICA 11.0.3, you can enable the 10.x Cognos Connection portal which can be accessed via a separate URL.
    • Reports in the legacy portal allow the “default action” to be set for a report in the Report Properties interface, however:
      • While this does change the behavior when the user clicks on a report in the “legacy” portal, it does not change the behavior in the ICA 11 native interface, suggesting the report object “default action” property is set, but the ICA 11 native UI is not using that property value.
      • The “legacy” interface option “Open with Editor” is changed to only “Open with” and acts like “view most recent report”.
  • ICA 11 portal
    • “Interactive” Reports – if a report has the new property “runInAdvancedViewerField” = true, then the report is run in “interactive” mode in the new UI, in HTML mode
    • “Non-interactive” Reports – reports tagged with “runInAdvancedViewerField” = false (which is true of any IC 8.X or 10.X reports which are upgraded to ICA 11) they will show the latest saved output or run the report if there is no saved output

The only way to guarantee running a report in the ICA 11 portal  is to click on the “…” beside the report name in the navigation fly-outs or right click the report name and select “Run As”, which offers HTML and other output options to run immediately or in background (which is the save output workflow)


A useful tool for addressing this issue is the “legacy” portal option, which allows enabling a limited version of the IBM 10.x Cognos Connection portal (see QueryVision Guide to Installing and Configuring IBM Cognos Analytics 11 on how to enable the “Legacy” portal)

  • Use QueryVision’s Report Viewer SharePoint web part- which supports Run/View options independent of the Report properties
  • Allow users direct access to the “legacy portal” for running/viewing reports
  • For the ICA portal/UI, leverage Report Views. Have one Report View (A) with saved outputs and another with no saved outputs (B). Users wanting the “Run Report” behavior would click on (B).

Note: the ICA 11 interface can present Report Views and Shortcuts, but currently does not provide for the creation of Report Views (or shortcuts). However, that can be done from Report Properties using the “Legacy” portal