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True Excel Templates for EBS – An Introduction

Posted on by Brent Lowe

Excel based output from BI Publisher has been around for some time, however it wasn’t really Excel data (essentially XHTML that Excel knows how to read) and was created with a RTF template.  Mid-2011, Oracle released a patch for EBS that would allow what they labeled as ‘True’ Excel output.  It is considered ‘True’ in that it creates a binary Excel file and allows you to create the template in Excel.

As an introduction to Excel Templates in EBS, here are some things to keep in mind and a quick list of resources to get you started.

Things to Keep in Mind

  • As of this writing, True Excel templates are NOT supported in 11i10.  This is contrary to some information FROM Oracle that is out there (even in the resources I mention below).  Turns out that information was wrong and has been recanted.  Oracle’s stance is to use BIP Enterprise to run Excel based templates under this scenario.  Unknown as to whether this will ever be backported.
  • Even though Excel Templates are implemented in R12, there are some limitations.  For example, bursting control files are unable to make use of Excel based templates.
  • Oracle provides a plug-in for MS Excel as part of the BI Publisher Desktop package.  Caveat here is that you must use the latest BI Publisher Desktop version INSTEAD of the version specific for EBS (10.1.3.2.1 Patch – 12395372).  Both versions cannot be installed at the same time, so if you have one developer creating both RTF and Excel based templates, they will need to install/uninstall the correct BI Publisher Desktop package depending on what they are working on.
  • The plug-in for MS Excel is not as robust as the plug-in for MS Word and RTF templates.  The Excel plug-in only allows you to ‘Preview’ the finished output.
  • Excel 2007 not yet supported in EBS.  Must save file using MS Excel 97-2003 format (no .xlsx extension).

Resources:

  • Start here: Great webcast put on by the ATG folks about how to create and use an Excel template: MOS 740964.1 (Search for ‘True Excel Templates’ within this note).
  • The actual Patches for Excel based templates in R12.0 and R12.1 are documented on MOS 1343225.1
  • Reference: BI Publisher 11g Report Developer’s Guide - Creating Excel Templates chapter.  Note this is NOT the EBS specific documentation.
  • Latest BI Publisher Desktop (11.1.1.5.0) for Excel Template building.
  • After you install this version of BIP Desktop, there are examples of Excel templates in the “Samples\Excel templates” folder under the installation directory.

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