ACL Certified Data Analyst

Basic Usage of ACL Analytics

In the previous edition, we talked about how to get the latest gear, so we hope you had a chance to activate and install ACL Analytics 12.5. Now it’s time for us to take a more in-depth look at the ACL Analytics application. In this edition, you will be taking a tour of ACL Analytics and learn how to perform some very basic analysis on your data.

First of all, let’s sort out the terminology.

So you may have heard terms like ACL Analytics, ACL for Windows, Analysis App window, and others, but do you know what they all mean? Let’s take a closer look at the definitions so we are all on the same page:

1. ACL for WindowsA single entry point that provides access to ACL Analytics, the Analysis App window, Offline Projects, and Results. Access to each component is determined by subscription type.

  • Looking at the screenshot below, you may find that ACL for Windows almost looks like a desktop version of Launchpad since you can access a ton of relevant resources from this entry point

2. ACL AnalyticsAn application that provides a combination of data access, data analysis and integrated reporting capabilities.

  • Click on “Analytic Project” to open an existing project and the ACL Analytics application will open

3. Analysis App windowA freestanding component of ACL Analytics that guides a user through running analytics, and provides advanced data interpretations and visualizations based on analytic results.

  • Click on “Analysis App” to start the window

4. Results LiteFree access to the Results module with restrictions on data volume. It is included with every ACL Analytics license.

  • Click on “Workflow” to open Results module in a browser

5. Offline ProjectsA component of ACL for Windows that allows users to use Projects without an internet connection.

  • You can only access the Projects module if you have an active license of ACL GRC. If you do not, the “GRC Project” button will be grey out, just like how it is in the image.

ACL for Windows

A tour of ACL Analytics

Now that we have a better understanding of the difference between ACL for Windows and ACL Analytics, let’s take a closer look at the ACL Analytics application.

Here are three simple ways to open an existing ACL Analytics project:

  • Open from Recent Analytics Files list in the ACL for Windows launcher
  • Open using the Analytics Project button in the ACL for Windows launcher
  • Double clicking the project.acl file wherever you have saved it on your computer

Once you have opened a project, you will see the ACL user interface of ACL Analytics.

ACL Analytics Interface

Number Element Description
1 Title Bar Displays the name of the opened ACL project
2 Main Menu Provides access to most ACL features
3 Toolbar Buttons here are shortcuts to common actions
4 Navigator Displays information in three tabs about the opened ACL project:

  • Overview – displays all items that belong to the project
  • Log – displays the ACL command log
  • Variables – displays the names, values, and data categories
5 Command Line Allows you to enter ACL Script commands
6 Filter and Quick Search A text box and drop-down list that allow you to perform two different tasks
7 Index Allows you to apply existing indexes to the table and to see if an index is currently applied
8 Display Area Displays different types of information in four tabs:

  • View tab – displays the active ACL table
  • Results tab – displays the results of an analytical operation when output to screen or graph
  • Script Editor tab – displays the contents of a new or existing script
  • Workspace Editor tab – displays the field definitions in a new or existing workspace
9 Status Bar Displays information such as:

  • Name of the active ACL table
  • Record count
  • Name of the currently running script
  • Details of any filters currently applied to the table

For a more in-depth explanation of all the elements, take a look at our Help Docs >>

An overview of some basic analysis

Now you have learned how to open an existing project and had a look at the ACL user interface, you are now ready to complete some basic data analysis.

Take a deep breath and relax.

Here are five simple features and commands that you can try out:

Feature/Command Description
Quick Sort A feature in ACL Analytics that sorts a table by right-clicking a column heading in a view.
Quick Search A feature in ACL Analytics that lets you search a view by entering a search term.
Quick Filter A feature in ACL Analytics that lets you use the mouse to select filter values and criteria when applying a filter to a view.
Summarize An ACL command that groups the records in a table based on identical values in one or more character, numeric, or datetime fields.
Count An ACL command that counts the number of records in the active table, or only those that meet a specified condition.

Frequently Asked Questions

Here are some Frequently Asked Questions for ACL Analytics:

  • How do I activate my ACL Analytics software?
    1. After you have installed ACL for Windows 12.5, click on the icon to start the application
    2. An activation window will appear – enter your ACL Launchpad credentials
      ACL Analytics Activation
    3. Select “Activate Analytics” on the next window. If you belong to more than one account (e.g. trial environment), you can select it before clicking on “Activate Analytics”
    4. If successful, you will see the ACL for Windows launcher
  • Where do I find the Help Docs for earlier versions of ACL Analytics?
    • You can find them in ACL Community. Follow these easy steps:
      1. Log into ACL Launchpad
      2. Click on “Help Docs” on the right panel. This will bring you to the Help Docs homepage in ACL Community
      3. Look for “ACL Analytics” and click on the drop-down menu to see the help docs for earlier versions
  • Our organization has limitations on using the latest version of ACL Analytics. How can I download an earlier version of ACL Analytics?
    • Contact our Customer Intensity Agency directly by emailing them at support@acl.com
  • Where can I find ACL’s Knowledge Base articles?
    • You can find them in ACL Community. Follow these easy steps:
      1. Log into ACL Launchpad
      2. Click on “Peer Community” on the right panel. This will bring you to the ACL Community homepage
      3. In the search bar, click on the drop-down menu (by default, it says “Discussions”), select “Articles”, type in what you’re looking for, and click “Search”

Tip of the Month

Do you always find yourself unable to locate the ACL projects that you have saved in your computer? Need help staying organized?

Here are four handy tips for you to stay organized:

  1. Organize your files by creating separate folders and sub-folders for each audit project
  2. Use naming conventions
  3. Organize your project by creating folders for project items (e.g. results, scripts and logs) and creating views to organize which columns to display
  4. Adjust display formats (e.g. date to comply with regional standards)

For more details on these tips, be sure to check out Chapter 1’s Best Practices section in the ACL Analytics Foundations course in Academy! You will need to enroll yourself into the course before you can have access to the content.

Learn more best practices and how to make the most out of your ACL technology at ACL Connections, September 24-27 in Nashville, TN. This event features four days of training and offers 21.5 CPE credits. Access the full event details here >>

ACDA Bootcamp Series News

Interested to see a demo of the ACL Analytics interface and the basic analysis functions mentioned in this blog post? Click here to watch a recording of the May ACDA Bootcamp webinar led by ACL experts, Leodith Tenorio and Shane Grimm.

Did you miss previous editions of the newsletter series? Don’t worry, just visit here to check out the past editions.

In next month’s edition, we will be going over how to import data from Excel spreadsheet into ACL Analytics manually and by scripting.

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