Column Selections & Filters

A number of PensionPro's features are chiefly used to perform one action across many different records. This requires having full control over which records will be affected by this action. In these cases, PensionPro provides the means to return customized data sets: by using Column Selections to pull in the data that is relevant, and Filters to exclude the records that are not.


This filtering process can be found in the following areas:


  • Blast Email
  • Power Tools


Tier Availability: Track, Team, Business


Article Contents




Understanding the Process


When using a feature or tool that is meant to perform an action on multiple records, PensionPro breaks down the process of choosing the relevant records into two basic steps:


  1. Apply settings to pull records into a grid in such a way that selecting the necessary records is as simple as possible.
  2. Review the results in the grid and select the necessary records.


To illustrate this in practice, imagine a scenario where the Administrator needs to be updated to a different Employee for a number of Plans. Updating each Plan individually would be time-consuming, so the Employee Role Power Tool is used instead.


In Step 1: Options, the desired action is defined. In this case, the action will be that Employee Plan Roles will be assigned to an Employee—for this example, their name will be Jane Smith.


At some stage in this process, it will be necessary to review each current Employee Plan Role for each Plan and determine if that Role needs to be reassigned to Jane Smith. This task starts to become very intimidating if there are hundreds of Plans, each with a handful of Employee Role assignments. Step 2: Filters is designed to make the process much less daunting.


The first part to this is using Column Selections to retrieve the data that will be most helpful to reference when records are later returned into the grid for consideration. In this case, a few are selected by default—the Plan Name, Employee Plan Role, and Employee Plan Role First & Last Name fields are included, because it will be necessary to review each Plan, the Roles for each Plan, and who is currently assigned to each of those Roles. There may be no need to select any additional columns; alternately, other fields—perhaps Plan Status or Admin Type—may be helpful to refer to later on, depending on the situation.


The second part involves applying Filters to limit the number of records that will have to be considered. When used correctly, Filters can drastically reduce the results that will be returned. Some filters that could be relevant to this example scenario might be:


  • Employee Plan Role | is equal to | Administrator – To filter out all other Employee Roles, which are not being reassigned
  • Plan Status | is not equal to | Terminated – To focus only on active Plans
  • Plan Type | is equal to | 401(k) – In the event that Jane Smith will only be administering a certain Plan type
  • Employee Last Name | is equal to | Jones – In the event that Jane Smith is replacing another Employee named Michael Jones.


When multiple Filters are used in tandem, it's not difficult to imagine how the potentially thousands of records can be reduced to a much more manageable number!


In Step 3: Selections, the results of the Column Selections and Filters are shown. In this example, each record represents an Employee Plan Role. The Plan's name, the Role, and the current assignee can all be reviewed, along with any other Column Selections that were made in the previous step. Any Plan Roles that are selected in this step will be reassigned to Jane Smith once the Power Tool is executed.



Applying Columns & Filters


This section provides detailed instructions for applying Column Selections and Filters to the relevant areas of PensionPro's guided tools, such as within the Filters step of Blast Email.





The Column Selections pane is used to determine what fields will be shown in the subsequent step of the tool by "building" the grid of results. The records that will be returned are formatted based on these Column Selections.


Selecting the checkbox next to a column adds it to the Columns pane, which provides a quick overview of the fields that will be displayed in the grid. Some useful columns may be present by default, based on the tool in use. If unsure which columns should be selected, it is OK to use these defaults.


Many of the fields used throughout PensionPro can be found nested within the various categories, although whether or not a specific field is available depends on the tool.





The Filtering pane is used to narrow down the total number of records that will be returned. Each potential record must meet all criteria established in this pane to be eligible for selection. To prevent large data requests, at least one filter should be applied.


Filters are made up of three parts:

  • Column is the specific column (i.e., field) that is being evaluated by the filter.
    • The formatting for items in this dropdown is CATEGORY - COLUMN NAME (or CATEGORY - SUBCATEGORY - COLUMN NAME). This formatting generally matches the hierarchy of the Column Selections pane.
    • When using Power Tools, a column needs to be selected in the Column Selections pane to be used as a filter.
  • Operator is the evaluation logic used by the filter (such as is equal to or is less than).
  • Value is what the Column should (or should not) match based on the Operator.


A sample filter may say Plans - Plan Type | is equal to | 401(k). In this case, to be returned in the grid of results, the Plan associated with the record must have its Plan Type field set to 401(k).


PensionPro supports the following Operators for filtering:


  • Is equal to: Returns records that exactly match the filter value.
  • Is not equal to: Returns records that do not exactly match the filter value.
  • Is less than / Is greater than / Is less than or equal to / Is greater than or equal to: Returns records based on value comparisons. Intended for use with numerical values.
  • Starts with / Ends with: Returns records that begin or end with the filter value text.
  • Contains: Returns records that contain the filter value text anywhere within them.
  • Does not contain: Returns records that do not contain the filter value text anywhere within them.
  • Contained in: Returns records that exactly match one of the filter values. Each value must be separated by a comma.
  • Not contained in: Returns records that do not exactly match one of the filter values. Each value must be separated by a comma.


Additional filters may be added by selecting Add new ruleadd_2.png below the currently-applied filters. Conversely, a filter may be deleted by selecting Remove filtersubtract_2.png to its left.



Selecting Records


This section provides detailed instructions for selecting the records generated based on the Column Selections and Filters during the operation of PensionPro's guided tools, such as within the Recipients step of Blast Email.


The grid shown in this portion of the process will contain all of the Column Selections chosen during the previous step. Each row in this grid represents a single record, comprised of data from each of these Column Selections.


To choose a record, select its checkbox on the left side. Multiple records can be selected in this manner. To choose all returned records, select the checkbox in the header at the top-left of the grid. Any selected record will be affected upon execution of the tool that is in use.


The columns of the grid can be sorted in ascending or descending order by selecting the column header. Columns can be rearranged by clicking a column header and dragging it to a new position. The contents of a column can be further limited by selecting Filterfilter.png in the column header.


The list of returned records can be refreshed at any time by selecting Refreshrefresh.png at the top-right of the grid.


If a specific record is missing from the grid: This is likely the result of one of the following issues:


  • The Filter criteria is too strict and filtered out the record.
  • A Column Selection references data that does not apply to the record.
    • For example, if Plan Name and Project Name are Column Selections, a Plan will not be returned if no Projects have been launched under it.
  • One of the other criteria for the tool in use is not being met.
    • For example, the Plan Contacts Mailing Type for Blast Email will not return a Contact who hasn't been assigned as a Plan Contact Role.


If records appear to be duplicated: Review the Column Selections in use. This occurs most often when Column Selections are inadvertently referencing multiples of the same record type. This can be resolved by removing Column Selections or applying additional Filters.


  • For example, assume Plan Name and Project Name are Column Selections. The XYZ Company Plan has three Projects titled 401(k) Annual Administration, representing the past three Plan years. The grid will return "XYZ Company" and "401(k) Annual Administration" on three lines, appearing to be duplicates. Adding Project Period End as a Column Selection will show that these are not duplicates, as each Project will have a different Period End date; a Filter can be applied for the desired Plan year. Alternately, removing the Project Name column will only return Plan Name once, because no Project data is being referenced.