A view is nothing more than a collection of data fields from the database. The basic aim here is to limit the number of fields from the entire database to a group of select fields that are related or of particular interest to you.
Views are used in several functions in Stock Investor, including browsing financial data using the View tab on the Stock Notebook Notebook, exporting data to a file, and printing reports.
The default view in Stock Investor is the Standard view and it the view always applied to the Stock Notebook when you first open the program. However, this view contains approximately 255 fields (which is the maximum number of fields that you can have in one view) and can sometimes seem a little unwieldy due to the amount of data is contains.
There are 20 predefined views that come with Stock Investor, each containing data from one of the major data categories in the program—Multiples, Ratios, Valuations, etc. The views that are prebuilt into Stock Investor are designated by an asterisk (*) before the View name.
Users create Views in Stock Investor with the View Editor. There are three ways to access the View Editor: click on the View Editor button on the toolbar, select View Editor from the Tools menu (Tools—View Editor), or simultaneously press the Alt and V keys on the keyboard (Alt + V). The View Editor (Figure 1) is divided into two main parts—the field picker on the left-hand side of the View Editor window and the text window on the right-hand side. The field picker is broken down by data category, which means that, beyond knowing which data fields you would like in your view, you need to know which data categories they are in. Let’s say we want to add Company name to our custom view (it is a good idea to add Company name and/or Ticker to a view, as this information is not automatically added to a view). If you are not sure which data category Company name resides in, don’t worry; this information is available in the Stock Investor Help System. Access the Help System by selecting Contents and Index from the Help menu at the top of the Stock Investor window (Help—Contents and Index). At the Help Contents window (Figure 2), select the Contents tab and double-click on Field Definitions. To locate the data category for Company name, double-click on Alphabetical Listing of Field Definitions and again on the “C” (for Company name). This will list all of the data fields in Stock Investor that start with the letter ”C” in alphabetical order. From here, double-click Company name to bring up its field definition window. The field definition window tells us that the Company name field is in the Company Information data category. To add Company name to the view, locate Company Information in the field picker on the left-hand side of the View Editor window and click on the “+” next to it. This will expand the data category to list all of the data fields that are part of the Company Information data category in alphabetical order. Next, scroll down the list of data fields in the Company Information data category until you find Company name. Add data fields to a view, in this case Company name, by either double-clicking on the data field or by highlighting the data field and using the Add button in the middle of the View Editor. As you add data fields in the view, the field names will appear in the text box on the right-hand side of the View Editor window. In addition, the number of data fields in the view is displayed in the bottom-middle of the View Editor window (the most data fields you can have in a view is 255).
You can keep adding data fields until the view is complete—in our example: Ticker (Company Information data category), PE (Multiples), Price/Book (Multiples), Yield (Multiples), EPS Cont-Growth 5yr (Growth Rates), EPS Growth Est (Earnings Estimates), Market Cap Q1 (Price and Share Statistics), and Relative Strength 52 week (Price and Share Statistics). Note that the order in which you add fields to a view is the same order they will appear on the stock notebook as well as in view reports, and when used to export data.
When you are finished creating your view, you can save it by clicking on the Save button on the View Editor. The program will then prompt you to name the view (Fundamental Data, in our example) and provide an optional description (Figure 3). When you are finished, select OK and Stock Investor will save the portfolio. To exit the View Editor, you can click on the “X” on the top right corner of the View Editor window or click on the Close button at the bottom of the View Editor window. Applying a View to the Stock Notebook The Standard view is the default View in Stock Investor and is always the view applied to the Stock Notebook when you first open the program. You can also apply different views to the Stock Notebook. To apply a view, click on the down arrow of the View pull-down menu on the toolbar to reveal the list of views in the program. The views whose names are preceded by an asterisk (*) are those that come with the program. Selecting the Fundamental Data view that we created earlier will display the data fields in the view for those companies that passed the *Zweig, Martin screen as of April 10, 2009, loaded in the stock notebook (Figure 4). Editing Views You can edit any view you have created and save the changes. In order to edit the Fundamental Data view, we need to return to the View Editor following the directions described earlier. Next, click on the arrow of the Name pull-down menu at the top left of the View Editor. Then scroll down the list and select the name of the view you wish to edit, in this case Fundamental Data. If you want to remove Ticker from the Fundamental Data view, click on the gray square found to the left of Ticker in the text box on the right-hand side of the View Editor. This will select Ticker. To remove the selected data field from the view, click on the Delete button in the upper-middle portion of the View Editor window. This will remove Ticker from the view. If you wish to overwrite the original view and save the view that reflects changes you have made, click Save. However, if you wish to keep the edited view as well as the original view, click on Save As. You will then be prompted to name and describe the altered view, at which point this view will be saved and the original view kept intact. Beyond adding or deleting data fields from an existing view, you can also change the order in which the fields appear. To do this, click and hold on the gray box to the left of any data field you wish to re-order until an up/down arrow appears in the box. Then drag it upward or downward until it is positioned where you want it within the list of data fields and release the mouse button. To keep this new order, you need to save the view. Sorting a Stock Notebook by View Fields Within the stock notebook, you are able to sort companies by any of the fields in the applied view (as well as by using the Rank function from the Tools menu). In Stock Investor, the default rank is by company name, ascending order. However, by right-clicking on any of the data column headings in the stock notebook, you can sort the companies by that particular field in ascending (lowest to highest) or descending order. Here, we wish to rank those companies passing the Zweig screen by market cap from largest to smallest (descending order). To do this, locate the Market Cap Q1 column in the stock notebook. Right-click on the Market Cap Q1 column heading and select Rank By Market Cap Q1, Descending (Figure 5). Once Stock Investor has ranked the stock notebook, Marvel Entertainment tops the list with a market cap of $2.23 billion. Generating Reports Using Views Stock Investor contains a myriad of reports to choose from. There are two ways to access the Available Reports menu: click on the Print icon on the toolbar or select Print from the File menu (File—Print). Figure 6 shows the available reports in Stock Investor: company summary reports, comprehensive company reports, view reports, statistical summary reports, and industry (and sector) median reports. Here we will focus on those reports that utilize views—view reports and statistical summary reports. View Reports Just as views allow you to display select data, they can also be used to print only the specific information that interests you. A view report allows users to print company and industry data in a tabular format. Data can be printed either vertically (with company names running across the top of the page) or horizontally (with company names listed down the side of the page). You can print view reports for either the selected company or the entire group of companies in the active stock notebook. Since we have not unloaded the *Zweig, Martin screen we used in prior examples, the passing companies still make up the active set of companies. To print a view report using the Fundamental Data view for these companies, go to the Available Reports menu (Figure 6), select View Report – All Companies in Active Notebook, and then click the Print button at the bottom of the Available Reports window. At the View Report window, you can select the view you wish to print (Fundamental Data) and whether you wish to display across by field or issue (company). Once you are finished, click the Ok button to generate the view report (Figure 7). Statistical Summary Reports Have you ever wondered what the median price-earnings ratio of the S&P 500 is? Or what the average market capitalization (shares outstanding multiplied by current share price) is for the results of a screen? A statistical summary report allows you to calculate this information. Statistical summary reports are similar to view reports in that both are based upon a view containing the data fields you specify. However, while view reports display the field values for each company, statistical summary reports calculate the average, median, high, low and standard deviation values for the generated fields based on the active set of companies in the stock notebook. Again, the active set of companies may be the entire database of companies, the companies in a loaded portfolio, or the results of an applied stock screen. Therefore, you can calculate various statistical data on the results of a screen, a portfolio of companies, or the entire universe of companies in Stock Investor. To print a statistical summary report using the Fundamental Data view for the Zweig passing companies, go to the Available Reports menu and select Statistical Summary Report – Active Notebook. At the View Report window, select the view you wish to print (Fundamental Data) and then click the Ok button to generate the report (Figure 8). Exporting View Data If you are interested in manipulating Stock Investor data outside of the program, you can export fields listed in a view. To begin, you need to make sure that the companies for which you wish to export data are in the stock notebook—the entire database, a portfolio, or the results of a screening filter. In addition, you can sort the data by a given data field—the order in which the companies will be exported. In Stock Investor, the default rank is by company name, ascending order. However, you can use the rank function (select Rank from the Tools menu) to order the companies in another way or use the right-click function described earlier. Next, select Export Data from the file menu. This will open an Export Data dialog box with pull-down menus where you can specify View, Type, and To, which is the location to which you want the data exported (Figure 9). We are exporting the companies passing the *Zweig, Martin screen, ranked in descending order by Market Cap Q1, using the Fundamental Data view. In addition, we are exporting the data in Excel spreadsheet format. However, data can be exported to several file formats, including Excel spreadsheet, Xbase database, and comma-delimited and tab-delimited ASCII text files. Once you are finished, click the Ok button to start the export process. When you export data from Stock Investor, two files are created during the export process. One is the file that contains the exported financial data, while the other is a so-called “key file” with a file name ending in _KEY. The key file contains the headings of the data points that were exported and consists of two columns of data—the short field name and long field name. The short name is limited to 10 characters and is the data field name used internally for Stock Investor and exported with any export file. The long name is the “plain English” name of the data field that is visible when you work with the field within Stock Investor. You can open the key file, copy the field names, transpose them, and paste them over the short names in your exported file for easier identification and analysis.