Explore Zoho Reports Series: Part II – Colors

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In the first post of this series, we got to know all about ‘Formula Column‘ – the various formula types we support, how/where to use them etc. In this post, let’s see another little explored feature of Zoho Reports – Colors.

As you know, Zoho Reports allows you to easily create various types of reports like charts, pivot tables, summary tables, dashboards etc. Charts are particularly liked by many due to their visual appeal and the easy manner in which they get to convey trends and to interpret or segregate large amounts of data. When it comes to charts, color is an important aspect as it helps differentiate one metric/measure from another. There are two different aspects of color when it comes to Zoho Reports. Let’s illustrate them here with examples.

Using the Color Palette

Let’s say you want to plot monthly sales and profit numbers. Drag-and-drop ‘Month’ in the X-axis and ‘Sales’ & ‘Profit’ as the two Y-axes. When you plot the chart, you will have something like the below.

Default colors for ‘Sales’ and ‘Profit’ are assigned by Zoho Reports. Go to the design mode by clicking on the

Edit Design

button. Click on the legend (‘Total Sales’ or ‘Total Profit’) and you’ll get to see the color palette. 

Choose the colors you want.

Using the Colors Shelf (Field)

Let’s say you want to plot monthly sales. But you would need to know how different regions contributed to sales. For this, you will be dropping ‘Date’ in the X-axis and ‘Sales’ in the Y-axis. And to plot the sales region-wise, you can drop ‘Region’ in the 



And you’ll now have the monthly sales for different regions.

You can change the default colors here too by clicking on the legend and choosing the

Change the Legend Color

option. That’s it. Hope it was simple and easy. Work with Colors in

Zoho Reports
 and do let us know how it goes.

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Zoho Creator Simplifies Data Management for Providence Community Action – A Case Study

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Providence Community Action is a private, non profit organization, dedicated to improving the quality of life for low income Providence residents. Their services include heating and weatherization assistance, consumer credit and debt counseling, clinical services (counseling), case management, an affordable housing program, Interim Middle School for youth excluded from regular public school and

much more
We spoke to Damian Costantino, the organization’s IT director who’s responsible for networking communications, system administration and database creation.

Damian had implemented an application using Zoho Creator, and they had about five users using it extensively. These five users in turn would deal with 100′s of clients. Damian, being the database administrator, was very well-versed in programming languages like Python and SQL, and had previously experimented


Google Forms, Filemaker, Microsoft SharePoint and 



 Complexity was not a concern, but the cost certainly was. They wanted something affordable, yet robust, especially because they were operating from four different locations, but not on the same VPN. No client should be serviced at more than one location, and details of the services provided had to be reported to their funders and agencies which refer clients. 

“What I like most about Zoho Creator is that you can make it as
complicated as you want or drill down as you want. The limit is what you
put on it.” – Damian Constantino, IT Director 

The integration between Zoho Creator and Zoho Reports is what they use extensively, second to sharing forms. Damian has made union queries a big part of the reports they generate, so that the graphical representation of data is self-explanatory; people don’t have to filter data. He says this application has improved their data collection and reporting efficiency 100%. They also appreciated not having to configure a connection to a back-end database and constantly ensure the connection is sound. Eliminating usage complexities for those who collect and report on data is an advantage with Zoho Creator, he said.

Zoho Creator turned out to be all that they were looking for in a database application,
efficiently refining the way they collected and reported on data. We’re also proud of the fact that Damian, a system administrator and a
network engineer who holds data security as a primary responsibility trusts Zoho Creator with their organization’s sensitive

Watch out for some more myth-busting stories about Zoho Creator. Coming soon.

Just in: Tax Groups in Zoho Invoice & Zoho Books

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Join us in welcoming tax groups to Zoho Books and Zoho Invoice. Tax groups will revive the way you work with your taxes.

there’s a need to use more than a single tax to your line items, you
have the option to group those taxes into a tax group and associate
that tax group to the line items, instead of the individual taxes.
example: In the US state of Alabama, a federal tax, a state tax and a local  tax are applicable. For ease of use, the three taxes could be grouped together into a tax group named “Alabama Taxes”. While invoicing customers in Alabama, this tax group would be used in place of three separate taxes.

In the example above, if the Federal tax is 15%, the state tax is 5.6% and the local tax is 3.5%, the tax group “Alabama Taxes” would impose a 24.1% tax on a line item. Besides this, you could also mark one of the taxes in the tax group as a “compound tax”.

Here are some FAQ which we presume would help you get started with using tax groups.

What if you use only one tax?

If you deal
with just a single tax, you can apply the tax directly to your line
items. Things change only for those who deal with more than a single

Why tax groups?

To make your invoicing simpler and to avoid any errors
while associating taxes. Earlier you’d have selected from two
drop-downs a tax 1 and a tax2. Now, you’ll have one drop down to select
from. Your tax selection could either be an individual tax or a tax group.

Here in our example, though the effective tax rate is 24.1%, on the invoice you’d see a clear break up of each of those taxes. 

How easy is it to set up tax groups?

Very easy, we would say. We’ve provided an interactive wizard within your account, to help you set up tax groups. This
wizard will show you the combination of taxes that you’ve used in your
invoices. You can name and create a tax group out of each of those
Now that’s
more than what you bargained for, right?

Wait no more, head straight to your Zoho Invoice or Zoho Books account and set up your tax groups.

If you haven’t been following us on twitter it’s high time you did because we’ve been tweeting some all our updates there by the day.

Maximize Your Productivity With Zoho Mail For Business

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As Business-Owners or Professionals, we’re constantly looking for ways to enhance our work productivity by accomplishing more in lesser time. A recent article at GigaOm, titled ‘15 Tips For Accomplishing More In Less Time‘ gives some advice on how this can be achieved. Many of the tips mentioned in the article talk about how email can affect your productivity. With the right features, of course, email can be transformed into a powerful Business tool that helps you maximize work productivity. This was also the main objective with which we recently launched Zoho Mail for Business, a powerful hosted email solution that includes several inbuilt productivity-oriented features.

Today, we’d like to highlight Zoho Mail’s Business features that go hand in hand with GigaOm’s productivity tips:

  1. To start with, Zoho Mail can help you stay focused on the important work with its integrated Tasks app. ​The Tasks app lets you add or assign tasks with options to include start/end times, not just dates and set reminders by pop-up or email. Task-tracking is made highly effective with features such as color-coding, status-tagging and a compact graphical report of the overall status of tasks. Here’s what one of our users, Angela had to say about the Tasks app..”I have been searching for a task management software and found some really expensive ones that are not nearly as effective a tool as the Zoho email task app. I love this system!

  2. Using Keyboard shortcuts for 35 commonly-used actions in Zoho Mail can save you quite a lot of time from not having to maneuver your mouse around, enabling you to check, read and respond to messages faster. You can even customize these shortcuts with your own keystroke definitions in the Mail Settings section.

  3. Unlike many other webmail interfaces, Zoho Mail supports multi-level folders and its Filters feature includes additional options such as ‘Begins with’, ‘Is not’, ‘Ends with’, etc. By being able to filter incoming messages and automatically organizing them into specific folders or sub-folders, you can spend more time focusing on critical stuff.

  4. More often than not, as you tend to respond to messages one at a time, the most important messages get lost in the Inbox pile, which builds up to an unmanageable scale. With Zoho Mail, you can take immediate action on every email by assigning flags and labels, moving them to archives or other folders with a simple drag & drop. By effectively utilizing the three types of flags, that is Info, Important and Follow-up, you can greatly simplify categorization of your messages.

  5. The Integrated Calendar app with shareable calendars helps to keep people together and up to date with important events, within teams or with customers. The app includes features such as the ability to check when people are free / busy while scheduling events, a smart add that automatically fills in available slots in your calendar with a single line input as well as email reminders for events. Together, these features help ensure that you can be in control of your calendar and stay organized while handling events.
  6. Ever been overwhelmed with situations where you had to interact with individuals from different teams or projects within a particular company? With Zoho Mail, you can now work in chunks and focus better by creating a main folder with the company name and sub-folders within this folder with the team names. Then, you can filter and organize incoming messages to these sub-folders and manage them more efficiently, one team at a time. Additionally, you can create email templates for different situations, common questions and insert relevant template chunks at compose time.

  7. When it comes to keeping it simple, Zoho Mail is equipped with features that simplify many otherwise complex tasks down to a click of a button. The best example of this is the ‘optional’ conversation view that unveils the history of a thread in a neat tree format, saving you the burden of manually searching for related messages. Also, the ‘Edit as new’ feature, that makes it easy to pick up and edit a previous email. Zoho Mail includes many such easy-to-use but powerful shortcuts for important actions.

So, those are 7 tips / features that make Zoho Mail an ideal choice for your Business communication needs. We hope you found these tips and features handy. If you haven’t already looked at Zoho Mail for your Business, now would be a good time to give it a try! To receive more updates and productivity tips, connect with Zoho Mail on Facebook and Twitter.

IT company Ondimar uses Zoho CRM + Google Apps to run its business

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The challenge for small business owners has long been finding a CRM application that is both effective and affordable. One such business is Ondimar.com, a Brazilian information technology company owned and
operated by Ondimar Jose de Morais. The company specializes in
demonstrating systems, training users, and presenting IT alternatives to its client base.

Ondimar realized that the effectiveness of any CRM installation depends on the users’ ability to understand the process flow, share knowledge, and understand the utility of CRM as a fundamental business process. Meanwhile, the company’s CRM users were often spread thin engaging a variety of clients and business partners.

Ondimar.com started working with Zoho CRM two years ago and is quite happy with the decision. The company is now taking advantage of Zoho CRM’s integration with Google Apps.

“Zoho CRM has assisted me in tracking tasks,” says Ondimar. “We use Gmail, so I can monitor all requests that come to my team via email. Then, I can email the file after it is resolved. By integrating with Google Apps, Zoho CRM lets me share without difficulty or duplicating effort.”

Continue to read
 on how Zoho CRM’s straightforward interface helped Ondimar.com’s employees.

If you’d like to share your Zoho CRM story too, write in to us at support@zohocrm.com, We look forward to hearing from you!

Zoho Docs Gets A Fresh New Look And Feel

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You probably must have noticed the changes in the Zoho Docs UI by now. In an update done yesterday, we’ve completely redesigned our user interface with a fresh new look to improve navigation and to easily manage your documents in the cloud. The new Zoho Docs UI has a cleaner, sleeker interface that will make it easier for you to navigate through your Folders, Workspaces etc.


Let us look in detail at what is new in this update

Easy-to-use Navigation
The new navigation system is simple and intuitive. It focuses on things that users do most often like say, going to a specific folder, workspace or group.

Drag-and-Drop Files
Uploading files to Zoho Docs just got easier. You can now upload files by just dragging and dropping them from your desktop on to the desired folders in the “Personal Folders” section. You can also drag multiple files at once. There are no plugins needed for this feature to work. This new feature uses HTML5 and so will work in browsers that support HTML5, like Firefox 3.6+ and Chrome 6+.

Attach From Zoho Docs
We love listening to our customers and quite a number of you had told us that finding documents when using Zoho Mail’s

Attach from Zoho Docs
was not flexible enough. We have now provided more options to easily find and attach the documents from Zoho Docs.


Other Enhancements

  1. If you have documents shared to you, which are not relevant to you anymore, you can use the new Remove Share option to remove the sharing. An email notification will be sent to the author of the shared document.
  2. Using the Unsubscribe option, you now have control on what Workspaces you would want to view in your Workspace section.
  3. You can now email documents present in Workspaces using the Send Mail option.

Like Mark Ford who tweeted the below, we hope you too like the new look and feel of

Zoho Docs


Please do share your views and suggestions by dropping us a comment here.

Break Free Alliance manage their information repository using Zoho Creator: A success story

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Break Free Alliance is a program of the Health Education Council, and is funded by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. They are using Zoho Creator for their online data collection, sharing and collaboration needs. Lisa Houston, the Program Administrator of Break Free Alliance was more than happy to explain how Zoho Creator was deployed for their requirements. Even if not directly, we are extremely privileged to be associated with this healthy initiative.

Disadvantaged populations are the ones suffering the most from tobacco-related diseases. The primary motive of Break Free Alliance is to ensure that every person has access to tobacco education resources, cessation support and prevention programs, regardless of education level, income or occupation. They do this with the help of states, national organizations, researchers, community-based agencies, medical experts and volunteers, who help advocate policies and programs that help the poor quit tobacco and prevent youth from starting.

Their repository of endless information was previously maintained in hardbound files on their computers. Some were essential to program-organizers and some were needed by participants, so user role-based sharing had to be implemented, keeping it accessible at the same time.

“Before, whenever people asked for contact information and resources, I
would have to ask a staff person to search through files in order to
send them the information. I was not aware of web-based applications for
this kind of data management then.” – Lisa Houston

Lisa embedded all the required information on their website, which made it much easier to direct users to the repository than looking around for the information in their files. They like it that Zoho Creator is easily searchable. Lisa had built all four applications by herself, of which three are embedded on their website. She appreciated our support team too, saying I
got some great support from Zoho Creator. Whenever I couldn’t figure
something out myself, Zoho staff got back to me right away.

She had seen Zoho Creator being embedded on the website of The National Latino Tobacco Control Network, yet another national network like Break Free Alliance. Both their requirements were similar, so she considered trying Zoho Creator. They ended up liking it. Well, we couldn’t be happier.

If you have a Zoho Creator success
story to share, write to us at creator-marketing@zohocorp.com; we’d
love to feature it here!