Help Sheet

Why use Research Insight?

  • Research Insight is the front end for Compustat and Global Vantage data.
  • Twenty years of U.S. and Canadian financial statement data and monthly stock closing prices. Six months of daily stock prices. Use Compustat through WRDS if you need more than 20 years of data.
  • Access to GlobalVantage's ten years of financial data for companies in more than eighty countries.
  • While harder to learn for first-time users than some of our other company resources, Compustat has more years of downloadable financials and provides more flexibility in downloading corporate data (to compare data from a set of companies or to look at time series of a few data elements, for example).

Getting Started

Click on the Research Insight icon or click on Start - Programs - Research Insight in Windows. Compustat/Global Vantage data can also be retrieved directly from Excel.


  • The most common cause for getting incorrect data is starting from the wrong database.
  • Compustat (North America) covers U.S. and Canadian companies.
  • Compustat (Classic) offers historical financial data as it was originally collected by Standard and Poor's.
  • Global Vantage covers the rest of the world.
  • To see what database you are in, click on Databases from the top menu and select Default Database. Use the drop-down menu to select the appropriate database.

To download a pre-formatted report

Convenient templates for Compustat and Global Vantage data have been saved as spreadsheets on the desktop. Users can open these files (PC+ Templates.xls and Global Vantage.xls) and change the tickers and variables as needed. Save your results as values on another spreadsheet.

To download a full income statement, balance sheet, or cash flow statement for one or more companies, use one of the pre-formatted reports, which cover up to ten years of data.


Download an income statement for Apple, Facebook and Amazon covering ten years of data.

Find the correct report type

  • Click on the Open Report icon.
  • If the above menu is not displayed on the screen, click the handshake icon on the top menu bar to show it.
  • Select the report type from the S&P Reports folder as shown below. For this example, select Annual Income Statement - 11 Years.

Add companies to the report

  • After you have selected the type of report you want, a menu will prompt you to add companies to the report.
  • Type the company ticker symbols directly in the box, e.g. GOOG, AMZN, or click the Look up button to search by company name. Click Paste to add tickers to the search box, then click Close to return to the previous menu.
  • Click OK to populate report with numbers.

Save the report

  • Reports can be saved as text files that are easily read in standard spreadsheets by clicking the Save icon in the top menu bar.

Reports can also be loaded directly into Excel.

  • Open Excel.
  • Click the Add-ins tab on the top menu bar, then click S&P and select Open Report.
  • You will be prompted to choose companies and time periods as outlined above.

Note: Before saving data directly retrieved in Excel, copy and paste the data as values. Otherwise the file can not be read on a workstation that doesn't have Compustat installed.

To Create a Custom Report

The Research Assistant lets you specify a set of companies, either by naming them or by screening for companies that meet your criteria, and then report on specific data elements for those companies.


Report on R&D expense for the past five years for companies with sales over $1 billion in the communications equipment business.

Identify companies that meet the search criteria

  • Click Research Assistant in the Tools menu.
  • Check SIC Code under Population Particulars on the right side. If SIC is not listed, click Customize below Population Particulars, then select SIC from the list of Indicator Items to add it to the list. Only 6 indicators may be included at one time, so you may need to deselect another indicator before adding SIC.
  • For this example, set SIC = 3576 from the related menus. Look up SIC codes for other industries.
  • Click on Fundamentals from the row of tabs next to Population Particulars.
  • Click on Sales and > 1000 from the adjacent menus. (Note: Compustat data is indicated in $millions.)
  • Click on Next>; and Compustat will screen for companies.
    • The companies that meet your criteria will be indicated.
    • You can save the set of companies to refer to later or continue to report on these companies.
    • You can also add to or remove companies from the set before saving them.

Launch Report Assistant

  • Once your list of companies is complete, click Next>.
  • Select Report Assistant, then click Next> again.
  • Choose the layout of the report. In this case Items vs. Companies under Historical Analysis works best. Select it and click on Next>.

Find companies' R&D expenses

  • Select Income - Ann from the Item Groups menu on the upper left. Look under the list of Items on the lower left for Research and Development. It is not listed.
  • Click Customize in the Item Groups menu.
  • Highlight Income - Ann under Item Groups on the left; then click New under the Items menu on the right.
  • Click Look Up in the resulting Item Definition screen.
  • Type R in the Select Items box. R&D Expense will appear on the list.
  • Click Paste; then click Close. XRD (the code for R&D) will appear in the Expression box in the Item Definition screen.
  • Click Accept Expression. Information about the variable will appear; click Definition for more information. Click OK to return to the customization box.
  • Click OK again from the customization box. You will end up back at Step 2 in the Report Assistant, but this time R&D expense will be one of the items under Income Statement - Ann.
  • Highlight it; then click Add to add it to the report.
  • Click on Next>.

Selecting the time period

  • Compustat has three ways of indicating time periods:
    • relative (to the current year)
    • absolute (fiscal year)
    • calendar (calendar year)
  • It often is preferable to choose absolute or calendar in a report where the time periods are not indicated since the current year will vary for the companies in the database.
  • Indicate your period choices and click Finish to generate the report.

Custom reports can also be created directly in Excel for ease of formatting and downloading.

  • Open Excel.
  • Click the Add-ins tab on the top menu bar, then click S&P and select Open Report.
  • Follow the same instructions outlined above.
  • If your report requires more than one table to display the data, there will be a drop-down menu to display the other data.

Note: Before saving data retrieved directly in Excel, copy and paste the data as values. Otherwise the file will not be read on a workstation that doesn't have Compustat installed.