Create a new report from a web map

This guide describes the steps to create a new report from a web map. Note that if you have access to the InstantAtlas Data Catalog we suggest to create a report with this guide instead.

Step 1 – Pick a web map

The first step involves picking the web map you wish to create a report for.  Use the link on the home page to ‘Sign In‘ with your ArcGIS Online account.  You will be presented with a view of the folders available in your ArcGIS Online account.  Something like this:

Click on the orange ‘New Report’ button to create a new report. You will be presented with a list of web maps in your organization. For this tutorial select ‘United States – Demo Map’ and click on ‘Choose’. If you don’t see the map right away, you can look it up by using the search box.

Another way to create a new report is to start from one of the tiles in the main view. Make sure that you select ‘Web Maps’ in the top left corner first as the folder view is showing ‘Reports’ by default.

For this tutorial click on the ‘Web Maps (InstantAtlas Samples)’ tile and then move the mouse cursor over the ‘United States – Demo Map’ in this folder. This will bring up the options for this map.

Click on the page icon to create a new report based on the US map.

Tip: To start with your own data, we would recommend picking a fairly simple web map.  For example, one with a single feature layer.  The feature layer though should have a good set of fields in it.  You should also make sure your field names are user friendly. You can easily change the fields in your web map in ArcGIS Online by setting aliases in the Configure Attributes dialog.

Step 2 – Pick a layout

You will now be presented with a list of layouts that are available for you to build your report from.  Some layouts are optimized for on-screen display while others are best suited for print out reports. Here you can select the ‘1000px Wide’ under ‘Screen Sizes’ tab and then ‘Create’.

Step 3 – Choose Feature ID and Feature Name field

Before you start editing your report you need to specify fields which hold unique IDs and names for each of the areas in your layer. This is required in order to attach data later on and to identify areas by name. You can have a look at the available fields by clicking on the small ‘show data’ button. For the US Demo map, select ‘ST_FIPS’ as ID field and ‘STATE_NAME’ as name field. Click on ‘Create’ to proceed.

Tip: If your web map contains more than one suitable layer you will need to pick the one you wish to create a report for. 

Step 4 – Add a Text widget to your design canvas

To start and fill the blank canvas you can drag and drop widgets from the Toolbox tab on the left hand side onto the canvas. We suggest you start with a Text widget to create a heading for your report. Ensure the ‘Text’ group is expanded and then drag the text icon onto the canvas. Whilst the mouse button is still pressed you will see a light yellow box with a red dashed line indicating where the widget will appear.


After releasing the mouse button the text widgets appears in edit mode already containing some sample text. Here you can change the text and its formatting. For example you could write ‘My First Report for’ and then click the ‘Feature Name’ button. This will insert a variable which will be replaced by the name of the selected feature.

Now highlight the whole line of text and change the formatting from ‘Paragraph’ to ‘Heading 1’. Also change the text color to Royal Blue.

When you are done with your changes you can save them using the floppy disc icon in the toolbar. The text widget will now show in the set formatting and the variable will be replaced with the name of the first feature in your feature layer.

You can change the selected feature by clicking on the ‘View’ button at the top menu. Here you can also toggle widget borders on and off.  As you can see, settings and design are kept for all areas.

Step 5 – Save your report

You should now save your report using the ‘Save’ button at the top menu. The first time you save your report you will be prompted to enter a title. Optionally you can enter one or more tags which would allow users to find your report within ArcGIS Online. If you have multiple folders set up in your ArcGIS Online account, you can specify which folder the report will be saved into.

Whilst you are designing your report you should regularly click on the ‘Save’ button to ensure you don’t lose any work.

Step 6 – Add further widgets to your report

You can now add further widgets to your report. For example drag a Data Table widget onto the canvas. By default the table will show the selected area in one row and the first 5 fields of your feature layer in columns.

You can change the layout and data displayed in the table by either double-clicking on the widget or right-clicking on it and selecting ‘Properties’ from the context menu.

In the first tab you are presented with a number of ‘Quick Picks’ these are quick ways of changing the layout of your widget. Try a few of the ‘Quick Picks’ options to find one that matches as closely as possible your desired table layout. For example if you would like to show the selected area in a column and the data fields in rows you should select the ‘Single Area, One Column per Area’ option.

In the ‘Data’ tab you can specify which fields of your feature layer are used for the table. First click on ‘select none’ and then choose the fields you wish to see by ticking the box in front of each field. Click ‘Apply’ to see your changes take effect in the Data Table.

In the ‘Settings’ tab you can now change particular settings of your widget to change its look and feel. The ‘Spacing’ tab allows you to add margins around your widget which can help position the widget in the report layout. For the purpose of your first report, however, you can ignore both of these tabs for now.

Now let’s add a Bar Chart widget to the report. If you open the Properties of the widget you will again see a number of predefined Quick Picks which may help you to get close to the kind of bar chart you wish to show. For example, if your layer doesn’t contain a lot of features (30 or less) you may wish to show a bar chart showing all features of one single indicator with the selected feature highlighted. To achieve this simply select the Quick Picks option ‘All Areas, One Indicator’. You can select the field(s) used in the bar chart widget in the same way as you have done it for the data table. Once you are done with your changes click OK. The bar chart widget should update to show your changes. You may wish to extend the height of the widget to prevent long x-axis labels (feature names) to be truncated. You can do this simply by dragging the bottom grab handle downwards.

In the same manner you could add further widgets to your report layout. You can add further pages by clicking on the ‘New Page’ button from ‘Report Settings’ tab on the left hand side.

Step 7 – Preview and share your report

To preview your report, click on the Preview button at the top menu to open the report in a new tab. Once you are happy with your final report, click on ‘Share & Embed’ under ‘Actions’ section at the ‘Report Settings’ tab on the left hand side. Here you can share your report with people of your organisation, certain user groups or make it available for everyone.

CONGRATULATIONS! You have successfully created your first InstantAtlas Report. You can now try some more advanced features, such as adding a background image to all report pages though the Page Properties or adjust each widget by modifying the widget specific settings.