How to Create a Report Writer Report Form to Display Documents in the Parent Portal

Modified on Tue, Jun 25 at 12:56 PM

in progress

Report Writer can be used to create simple single page PDF documents with prefilled fields and then store those documents in a student's documents tab within Genesis.  

We have some report writer report examples here that you can import and then customize in your Genesis instance.

We have some webinars on this topic in our Report Writer video library here.

This can be useful if you have a certificate (such as a grading or honor roll certificate) that you want to generate and then push to the parent portal for parent users to see.

Step 1. Creating a background PDF form

You likely have some sort of letterhead or design already in mind for this. This is up to the district to create. If you create a document, you would just have to save it as a PDF file to upload as your background "Form" on the report writer report's Form subtab. For example, if you have it in Microsoft word, you can simply save it as a PDF from there. To save a PDF copy of the template, just click File, Save As and choose PDF from the Save As Type drop down list.

Example of a generic certificate:

Screenshot of the Report Writer Report>Modify>Forms subtab where you will eventually upload this:

Step 2. Creating your Report Writer Report

To start creating your report, you should go to Report Writer>Reports and click "Add Report Writer Report":

When you click that, you will get a pop-up prompting you to name your new report.  If it's a Middle School Honor Roll Certificate, for example, you can name it that (this can always be modified later).  Enter the name and click "Add Report Writer Report":


After you create and name it, you will be brought to the "Table" selection.  For this, it will depend on what information you're actually trying to generate.  For example, if you only need to pull the Student Name and something simple like Grade Level or Homeroom, you can simply select the "Student" table from the list.  If it's grading related, you would select Grading etc.


After selecting something like the "Student" table, you will then be directed to the Columns subtab.  This is where you would start to add the fields that you need to pull to the certificate.  For example, if you need to just add Student Name, you would click into the "Add a column from Student" and locate and select "StudentName" and click "Add":

Report Parameters

After you finish adding in your columns, you can click into the "Report Parameters" tab.  This is where you would enter any field that you want a user to select when running. For example, you can add a parameter to run this by a student list.  


After you finish adding in any report parameters you might need, you should go to the Filters subtab and review the options. Typically, you will see School Year, School Code, and Enrollment Status filters there by default - these are required most of the time, so you should leave them in place.  If you add a report parameter on the previous tab, you should make sure it is filtering here. For example, if you are using a student list parameter, you would add in a Student list filter based on the Student ID column:


After finishing with any Filters, navigate to the Sorting subtab.  This is how you will sort how the certificates get printed out. So, for example, if you want it to sort by Last Name or Student Name, select that in the list and click Add.

Sections and Totals

After finishing up the sorting area, navigate to the Sections and Totals subtab.  This is actually a crucial piece to getting the report writer Form reports to work successfully. You will need to add a PAGE BREAK on STUDENT ID. Otherwise, when you go to run the report initially, you'll only get one student result.  To do this, click "Add Section" - you can name it whatever you'd like, such as Student ID:

After it's added, you should see a "Break on these columns" dropdown - select Student ID in that dropdown, and click the Add button to the right:

That's all! But it is an important step to do for forms/certificate reports etc.


After you finish with the Sections and Totals, click into the Form subtab.  This is where you will select your PDF and upload it. Click "Choose File" to select the PDF on your computer, and then click "Upload File:"


After you upload the form, you can move to the Fields tab. This is also an important part for any report writer form.  This is the spot where you will map your columns onto the background form using X and Y coordinates.  And you can also adjust the font size to make the values larger/smaller etc. So, for example, if you only need the student name to pull in the center of your PDF, you can add a code such as StudentName and select "StudentName" in the column dropdown, and enter an X and Y value (for the placement) and click "Add Field" to get started:

The mapping will involve some guess and check work to make it fall where you need it to fall on the form.  You can navigate back to the Form subtab and click the "View Form with Rule" button to see what the X and Y values are as a reference point:

This is an example of how this would look:

After you get things looking how you want, you can run the report to see how it looks.

Other Options

On the Report Info subtab, you can set the "Orientation" dropdown to Landscape to match your background PDF as needed.

You can also select "Form" as the "Default Output Format."

Step 3. Generating and Pushing the Report Writer Report Form to the Parent Portal

Security Access

Before running this report and sending the output to student's document folders, you must grant your account the right to do this. You do this Setup>Security>Modify User page. On the Modify User screen, there is an "Export to Student Documents" option to check off.  Once this is checked off for a logon ID, they will see the "Store in Student Documents" section when running the report:

Document Management Setup

You must select a "Document Type" when running this and sending it out to students. You must choose a document type and a enter a title for the documents that this report will create. If either of those fields are not filled in, the documents will not be exported to the students folder. If you need to add an option in the "Document Type" dropdown, you should navigate to the Document Management>Setup>Doc Types subtab to add it in. If you have never used this module before, I would recommend review the documentation first. The key options for a new Doc Type for report writer forms are: 

  • Allow document type to be stored to student docs
  • Visible in the Parent Portal

If you have questions about this setup, reach out to the help desk.

Options available when running:

Overwrite any existing Student Documents created by this report

When a report is scheduled to run, this option will appear if you have permission to create a PDF report as a Student Document. By selecting this option, Genesis will overwrite any existing student documents previously created by the running of this report for a student.

Visible in parents module

To these types of accounts: Student, Any Guardian, G1, G2, G3, G4

Suppress Parent Alert from being created

When creating report writer forms to Parent Module, the checking off of this option will prevent a Parent Message Alert from being creating.

Running the Report

With the security access and document types updated, you can now run the report when ready to do so.  

TIP: you may want to run this with a smaller selection of students to avoid the headache of having to delete and re-run the reports etc.

Example of how this may look:

Step 4. Reviewing the Data

After you schedule the report with the "store in student documents" and "visible in parents module" options checked, you can review the student data to see if it got pushed successfully.

You can navigate to a student's Documents subtab via Student Data>Modify Student>Documents to see if it is listed:

And you can check a parent portal account or ghost in as the parent portal user to see if the document got pushed to the Document folder within the portal itself as well:

Deleting any Published Reports

If needed, you can always navigate to the Report's Published Documents subtab to delete a run of published forms from students.  You should see a delete icon to the right of it:

That will remove it entirely from the student's Documents subtab and from the Parent Portal.

Creating a Student List of Published Documents

In Report writer, go to the Published Documents tab.   There you will see every run of this report. Click the "Create Student List" button.  Type in a name of for the list you wish to create. A dynamic list will be created that has all of the students that received this document.


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