Headers & footers are a great place to put report metadata, especially for high-level summaries designed for PDF or other similar document formats. They can be repeated on every page, so that useful info is always visible. Alternatively you could show the header just on the first page, or mix and match how each element is shown.
On detailed data dumps, destined for excel or similar, you’re usually better off having a separate sheet which holds all this type of info, so it doesn’t get in the way during data processing.
Here are some ideas for what metadata to include:
- Company Name / Logo – especially for external reports, though even internal reports might benefit from the consistent branding. Logos can increase the file size significantly if you repeat on every page, so usually better to just show on the first.
- Report Name – a reminder of what it is that you’re looking at. Maybe a quick description of the report and its purpose too.
- Report Date – The date on which the data is based. Essential for interpreting results and recreating the report.
- Creation Date – The date/time at which the report was produced. Not essential, but may prove useful for queries over data differences. Maybe who produced the report too, for internal documents.
- Parameter List – Useful for debugging / further investigation. If you know what parameters were used to run the report, you should be able to recreate it.
- Parameter Reference Number – If there are a large number of parameters, you might want to encode all the values into a unique reference number and show this on the report instead. You can still show the most important values, but the number makes it easy to look up against a table if there are any issues.
- Copyright Info – always useful on any company documents. Usually found in the footer.
- Page Numbers – especially useful for printed documents. Usually found in the footer.
PDF example: HeadersFooters