Viewer License adjustments (suggestion)

After purchasing several viewer licenses, we are finding them to be far more limiting than anticipated. I thought I would list the 2 elements I consider a viewer should be able to do.

My understanding is a viewer can use the data they see, they cannot edit or make their own reports, only deal with the data they are provided. As to be expected the license is restrictive, but with the current viewer settings as they stand I don’t see much difference with the share a dashboard with anyone feature and the question has been legitimately asked why are we paying for viewer licenses when there is negligible difference to the share option.


  1. Count Sum Average Option.
    In the profile there is an option regarding the end user being able to click on the cells and see the Count, Sum & Average. This option is disabled on Viewer, I consider this still a means of “viewing” data. For example the Sales Reps need to see the data of specific products and not having the ability to quickly sum things on screen is a problem. Here is a full users ability
    Why can I do this on Share a dashboard (which is free) but NOT on viewer?
  2. Export.
    If the viewer can print, they should be able to export. This is critical. For example, we have a sales rep dashboard, which they would filter to a customer. This information should be able to be exported for customer presentations (if no internet is available). Also coupled with the product suggestion Export option on dashboard widget

These are the limitations as I see it with the viewer license. I discussed these elements with a Phocas representative a couple of weeks ago and I would welcome Phocas to confirm if the restrictions can be adjusted (even a little) to provide a fairer distinction of the viewer license compared to the full license.

Low Level = Share a dashboard with anyone (url)
Medium Level = User gets what they see, but can do printing/Export options and view/export/ (possibly) subscribe to favourites (viewer license)
High Level = Ad-hoc reporting, favourites, dashboards (Full license)

Thanks for taking the time to read. I would welcome your thoughts.

Kind Regards,


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This is good to know, we were also discussing these viewer licenses but not if they can’t do as you mention.

I had the same expectation, “use” but not “build”

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To me, the biggest benefit of the viewer license vs sharing a link is the ability to add db restrictions for individual users. (i.e. Salesrep number, or Warehouse number). The only way to accomplish this without the viewer licenses would be to have a separate shared dashboard for each possible value.

The biggest limitation that I ran into for my use, was with the transaction mode. If I save a favorite using transaction mode, a Viewer user can not see the data. However, if I add that favorite as a widget on a dashboard, the Viewer user can see the transaction data just fine. It was a bit of an inconsistent experience.


CON to link: It is a LOT of work to publish a web link to a dashboard where filtering is required. If I want to filter on an account manager for example, every single widget must be separately filtered.

PRO to link: Free (if you don’t count your labor)

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I like the control of a viewer only license and think they’re useful where you want to restrict access or avoid time wasted with an inexperienced user trying to build reports instead of using the ones provided.

I do think though that maybe the feature set should be from the top down so start with a full license and remove things they don’t need rather start with a nothing and add things.

E.g. first to go would be the ability to build, save or edit anything. This should not be allowed in a view only license obviously.

I think dashboards should still be interactive but question whether the click through to analyse should be active? Would be useful from my view as long as they can’t save the view afterwards.

Maybe subscriptions are active but only if you are subscribed to a report by a full user, you can’t subscribe yourself.

Just some ideas but I agree it’s better than using an external link where you need the security.

I wonder though how many licences are not bought by a business due to cost or ability to restrict building of reports and how big the average number of licenses would grow across the customer base with more flexible options?

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Hi @Steve_Shuman,

Thanks for pointing this out, you are correct with this comment, but the cost of licenses (at the moment at over 50 viewer) vs the cost of dev time to generate the dashboard as a URL share link (which is the same dashboard but with a regional filter) would be more cost effective in our case. I think @StuartH nailed it further down, there should be a top down approach to options to be enabled. I feel the viewer license is inconsistent in its current form and not fully fleshed out.

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@JonKemp It does seem to make perfect sense that sum/count/average should be included in the viewer license. I’ve logged it for future consideration. The request to export has been made by other customers too, and is already logged.

Otherwise @aaron.roma and @Steve_Shuman are correct - the main benefit of a viewer licence is that restrictions will apply, which can be both a time saving and security feature.

Viewers also get a Phocas homepage with potentially many favourites and dashboards. External links are individual and there is no home page or login.

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