What Is a Tabular Report?

By Emily Ediger

Tabular reports display selected information from your relational database.
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Tabular reports display information from a relational database in a column and row format. Tabular reports include column and row headers forming a grid pattern that displays fields from one or more sources. The complexity of information in a tabular report depends on the type and number of sources you use.


Relational databases contain powerful tools to maintain, gather and display data, including the ability to connect multiple sources together. Joining sources makes your reports more efficient. Just as a query can display fields from one or more tables, a tabular report can connect sources to show more specific information. For example, if one table stores customer contact information and another table stores invoice details, you can create a tabular report to display both sources of information simultaneously.


Effective reporting depends on your report's ability to display the right amount of information. Reports with too much information are confusing and reports with insufficient information are misleading. Tabular reports allow you to select certain fields of data from your sources. For example, instead of displaying the entire contact information for a company, your report can display just the name and phone number. If you combine sources, carefully choose which fields are most relevant together.


Tabular reports follow the same organization as a table, with distinct column headers and row headers. Other types of reports may contain empty spaces and groupings of information. Tabular reports fill the cells of data continuously unless certain fields contain no value. For example, a tabular report for invoices may have "Customer," "Date," "Invoice Number" and "Description" along the top of the report, with each record contained in rows beneath the column headers.


Tabular reports provide more freedom than tables and queries because they allow you to customize the format for each cell. You can highlight certain cells that contain anomalies or bold an entire row to bring attention to it. You can also change the justification, font, color and size of your text. You can make format changes to single cells, rows and columns or to entire data sets to create a custom tabular report.