Using queries to find information

Using Light Blue means that all of the useful information about your business is in one place. As you go about the day-to-day running of your business, all of the data that can help you to see the bigger picture is being gathered and linked together.

There are various ways of finding and showing useful information in Light Blue, including running a quick search from the toolbar, the Charts section, and powerful reports. In this article, we going to show you how you can use Light Blue’s query tool to be really specific about the information that you want to find.

The query tool

You can open the query dialog by clicking the “Query” button in the toolbar, or using the Cmd-F keyboard shortcut on macOS or Ctrl-F on Windows.

Choose which of Light Blue’s main sections you want to search by selecting it from the popup menu at the top of the query dialog. You can search for shoots, contacts, quotes, sales, purchases, or payments.

A simple query

Queries can be simple and search for records that meet just one criteria:

Adding more elements to your query

You can narrow down the results by adding more criteria to your search:

Advanced options

Your queries can be even more specific with the advanced options available in the query dialog. Normally, the criteria of your query are joined together so that records need to meet all of the criteria – imagine saying “and” between each row of the query.

However in the advanced mode, you’ve got the option to group criteria within brackets and also swap some “and”‘s for “or”‘s; think of it as your query now becoming a more complex formula! Simply click on the grey brackets to add another bracket and click on the black brackets to remove them.

Run and refine (load last query)

Once you you’ve created your query, click the “Query” button to display the records that match it. If you need to refine the query, click on the “Query” button again and then click on the “Load Last Query” button to load it again.

Saving queries

If you might want to use this query again in future, you can save it by clicking on the “Save Query” button. This will add it to the “Quick Queries” list for that section. To load a quick query, simply go to the relevant section and click on it: Light Blue will show you the matching records.

Viewing queries on the Home Screen

You can also use quick queries to show a list of records or totals in widgets on your Home screen.

“Quick Query” widget

The “Quick Query” widget shows a list of records that match one of the quick queries from any of the main sections in Light Blue, e.g. the “Awaiting Payment” query from the Sales section, or the “Confirmed With No Spend” query from the Shoots section.

“Query Totals” widget

The “Query Totals” widget allows you to get a quick overview of lots of information at once by showing the number of records or financial totals that match quick queries from any of the main sections in Light Blue. e.g. showing the “This Year” and “Last Year” queries from the Shoots section allows you to see how your bookings are doing compared to last year, or showing the “This Month” query from the Sales section shows how much you’ve billed so far this month.

Viewing query results in List View

Light Blue’s List View gives you a great way of seeing lots of records all at once, and can be customised to group records together and show the columns that you’re most interested in.

Customising List View

When you go into List View by clicking the button in the toolbar, Light Blue will show you a default set of columns. You can customise it to display the fields that are most relevant to you. e.g. you might be interested to see how profitable the previous month’s shoots were. Having queried for those records, you can customise List View (by clicking Window > Customise List View) to show columns of the most relevant information.

In List View, you can view the found records as one big list, or you can group them to give you a more helpful view of your data. e.g. you may want a breakdown of where this year’s work has come from. Viewing the “This Year” quick query in the Shoots section shows a simple list of shoots, but grouping by the enquiry source lets you see which shoots came from what source.

Saving a list as a custom report

There’ll be some cases where you want to run a one-off analysis like this, but plenty of other cases where you might want to keep an eye on a particular set of figures regularly.

Light Blue allows you to save a query and the customised list view as a custom report, so it’s ready with a couple of clicks. It’s a huge time-saver for anyone who’s interested in getting the most out of their data.

Whenever you want to re-run your report, you’ll find it in the “Custom Reports” submenu of the Reports menu.

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