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Text & Commentary in Reports
Text & Commentary in Reports

Include your own custom text and commentary in reports

Tom Bilton avatar
Written by Tom Bilton
Updated over a week ago


Adding and editing text in your report

Fathom enables you to add a variety of text options in your customisable Fathom reports to tell a story or call out important information. To add and/or edit a text component in your report:

  1. From the content library on the left sidebar, select the 'TT’ icon

  2. Add a text component to your report by clicking on the component in the menu or dragging and dropping the component into the report.

  3. To edit the text component, simply double-click anywhere on the component or hover your mouse over it and select the green 'Pencil' icon.

Types of text components

  • Text - These are generic text boxes with a range of formatting options available.

  • Observations - These are logical ‘If, then’ statements, which allow you to automate commentary based on the performance of metrics of your choosing.

  • Executive Summary - This option simply allows you to add multiple observations to a report with one click.

  • Line, Page & Section breaks - Depending on the chosen option, this will move a reporting component to a new line in your report, a new page, or create a new section in your report.


After adding a text box or two-column text option to your report, double-click or hover over it and click on the green 'Pencil' icon.

This will allow you to type in the text component.

Formatting text

To format text, highlight any text that you have typed. You will see the following formatting options to provide emphasis, clarity, and structure to your writing.

  • Create headings using 'Title' and 'Subtitle'

  • Numbered and bullet lists

  • Bold, italicize, and underline

  • Hyperlink

  • Add a placeholder with the @ button on the keyboard


With Placeholders, you’re able to add text to your reports that references any financial or non-financial data in your actuals date range that has been defined within Fathom. This enables you to reference numbers within text without having to manually update them if you run the report again for next month or with a different company. All of the placeholders will automatically update with up-to-date data.

You can add a placeholder to your text box in two ways:

  1. Typing '@' (Shift+2)

  2. Selecting the '@' or 'Calendar' icon from the bottom of the text box

This will open the placeholder menu where you can select any metric that has been defined within Fathom. This includes:

  • KPIs. This includes any custom KPIs that you've created (eg. non-financials, formula KPIs) and default KPIs.

    💡Pro Tip: If you have divisions imported for your company, you can filter metrics by division. For more detail, see our ‘Using Divisions in Reports’ article.

  • Summary Profit & Loss or Balance Sheet classifications

  • Any account from your Chart of Accounts. This includes headings and subheadings that you've created in 'Step 3 - Chart of Accounts'.

  • Periods. If you selected the 'Calendar' icon, then you can add a period (e.g. October 2023) to your text box. You can add current or period periods with placeholder text.

    💡Pro Tip: Checking the option to 'Use long date formatting' allows you to show the month-end date (e.g. October 31st, 2023 when adding a period with placeholder text.

Once you've selected the metric for the placeholder, you can further filter the results for that metric by selecting the date range and the type of metric data shown, including:

  • This month

  • Prior periods (last month, same month last year)

  • Budget or target data

  • This quarter, YTD, rolling 12 months

Can I have variance calculations in a placeholder?

You cannot have variance calculations in a placeholder. But Key Number charts can be used to add variance figures into reports.


After adding an observation to your report, double-click or hover over it and click on the green 'Pencil' icon.

This will open the observation’s ‘Properties’ panel, where you can:

  • Change the title of the observation

  • The key metric being observed. This metric can be any KPI (default or custom), any Chart of Account line item, or any summary classification from the Profit & Loss and Balance Sheet. To edit the metric, select the 'Pencil' icon on the right-hand side of the metric.

    💡Pro Tip: If you have divisions imported for your company, you can filter metrics by division. For more detail, see our ‘Using Divisions in Reports’ article.

  • The time period for the metric (e.g. prior period results, same period last year, rolling 12 months average)

  • The condition for the if/then statement (e.g. greater than, less than, equal to, not equal to)

  • The comparative or the metric the ‘If’ metric is being compared to and the time period for the comparative.

  • Conditional text. The 'Then' field and text will display if the condition you have specified is satisfied or met. The 'Else' field and text will display if the condition is not satisfied or met.

    💡Pro Tip: Click the '@' symbol or 'Calendar' icon, to insert a placeholder. A placeholder allows you to insert the value of any metric defined within Fathom, which will automatically update for future periods.

  • The ‘Extra condition’ at the bottom allows you to hide the observation under specific circumstances. For instance, you could choose not to show a metric if it is greater than (or less than) a certain level of a metric. This can be helpful if you would prefer not to show this observation if the metric performs especially poorly.

Executive summary

You can also choose to add multiple observations at a single time by selecting 'Executive Summary' from the 'Text' tab in the sidebar. This will add a collection of 9 different observations to your report.

By default, the metrics included in the Executive Summary are:

  • Revenue

  • Profitability Ratio

  • Activity Ratio

  • Return on Capital Employed

  • Cash Conversion Cycle

  • Free Cash Flow

  • Net Variable Cash Flow

  • Net Debt

  • Interest Cover

For more information on the definition and formula of these metrics, view our KPI Glossary.

Line, Page & Section breaks

Line Breaks

Line breaks move a reporting component to a new row in a report.

When adding a line break to your report, you'll apply it to the component you want to be in a new row. The line break will appear above the reporting component you've chosen.

Page breaks

Adding a page break to a report will move a reporting component to a new page in the PDF version of a report.

When adding a page break to your report, you'll apply it to the component you want to be on a new page. The page break will appear above the reporting component you've chosen.

Section breaks

Adding a section break to your report creates a new section with a new title. Sections are meant as an easy way to organise your report, and they can be moved around and re-ordered with the ‘Outline’ option of the Report Editor.

A section will always start on a new page.

When you hover over a section title in a report, you’re able to:

  • Change the section’s page orientation by clicking on the ‘Portrait’ or ‘Landscape’ options. Whichever option is displayed will be the page orientation for the section.

  • Shade the background of the section by selecting the 'Three dots' icon

  • Add outlines around the report components in a section by selecting the 'Three dots' icon. This will outline any text components, charts, or tables in a section.

    💡Pro Tip: If you’ve shaded the background of the section, you can outline the reporting components in a section. This results in the reporting components having a white background in contrast with the section’s grey background and is a cool visual preferred by some users.

To learn about sections in more detail, arranging them, and using sections to organise your report, please see our ‘Outline & Organise your Fathom report’ article.

Next steps

Now that you've learned about the different text components available in a custom Fathom report and how they can be customised, choose to learn about one of the other areas of reporting to continue creating your custom report:

What you want to do next:

Where to go next:

Want to add financial statements and/or other tables to your report?

Want to add commentary and other text options to your report?

Want to add charts and visual elements to your report?

Want to add several charts and tables or some of the Analysis tools with page layouts?

Ready to white label or add a logo to your report?

Or is your report complete and ready to be shared or turned into a reusable template to generate scheduled reports?

What you want to do:

Where to go next:

Share your reports with others or enable them to comment on reports

Turn your report into a custom template to generate future reports from

Invite others into your Fathom account to share insights

Additional knowledge & common questions:

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