For the few of us who use Oracle EPM products with a Mac, working with Smart View has up until now required some complications. It has meant running a virtual PC and using Excel or Word on that. In June 2019 in the EPM Cloud release, Oracle introduced a Smart View that you could use natively on Mac. Can I finally turn off my virtual PC? It’s time to give the Mac version a go. Here’s my take on Smart View for Mac.
Smart View for Office (Mac and Browser), as it’s called officially, provides connectivity between the browser version of Excel in Office 365 and selected Oracle EPM Cloud software. It works with both Windows and Mac operating systems, with Chrome on Windows, and both Chrome and Safari on Mac.
More supported platforms are to come. For now, you can connect to Financial Consolidation and Close Cloud, Planning, and Tax Reporting Cloud (TRC).
As the Smart View for Office (Mac and Browser) only works with Excel in Office 365, there are no components installed locally on the computer. You “install” and create connections by creating a declaration file. Follow the steps in the Deployment and administrator’s guide on Oracle’s website. If you are not an admin in Office 365 at your company, you can create the declaration file for Chrome. This declaration file can be used by others in the organisation.
Note that only a few Oracle EPM Cloud products are supported data sources. For the purpose of this blog post, I’m testing against Financial Consolidation and Close.
In the common Smart View functionality, only ad hoc analyses and forms are supported on the Smart View for Office (Mac and Browser). These features work pretty much the same as in the conventional Smart View on Windows.
On the ad hoc analysis, you can’t double-click to start the ad hoc analysis or to zoom-in, nor is there a Smart View menu available when right-clicking the cell. All these operations are available in the ribbon.
Data forms created in the application are also available in Smart View for Office (Mac and Browser). They are located in the Smart View panel under Library. Note that if you submit data into Financial Consolidation and Close, the number format must remain unchanged.
In my brief test, I came across a couple of tips I’d like to share with you when using the Smart View for Office (Mac and Browser).
First and foremost, you’ll need to allow pop-ups for the Office 365 site.
One Office 365 feature you should consider turning off is AutoSave which continuously saves the document you are working on. Setting up the POV or working with the data means a lot of clicking and when the document is automatically saved after virtually every click, the frustration levels are bound to rise. Depending on your organisation’s O365 policies, AutoSave can be turned off for individual files or by default for all Excel files using the desktop application. See instructions here.
As you need the desktop Excel for turning off AutoSave, here is another issue for you to consider. Smart View (Mac and Browser) works only in the web version of Excel and the desktop application is pretty much only needed for disabling the AutoSave feature. PowerPoint and Word are not supported at the moment.
The long wait is therefore over now that Smart View is available for Mac. Nonetheless, the virtual PC won’t end up in the corner of the room collecting dust. Even if the EPM Cloud would be the only environment available in the organisation, the limited functionality of the Smart View for Office (Mac and Browser) means that at least this Mac user will continue using the virtual PC and the traditional Smart View for Office.
As with many of the Oracle EPM Cloud products, Oracle is committed to further developing the Smart View for Office (Mac and Browser) so it’s definitely worth keeping an eye on the releases and testing the new functionality.