MCR is a macro-enabled Microsoft Excel workbook that enables users to automatically compile detailed and individualized reports for study participants. MCR source code, example files, and a detailed instruction manual are available in an online repository at https://github.com/cmilando/reportback-vba (available as of 1 June 2021). The Visual Basic for Applications (VBA) functions that compose MCR sequentially insert a participant’s numerical, text, and graphical results into a report-back template (a Microsoft PowerPoint file) and save individual reports (as either a PowerPoint file or a PDF file). Users of MCR create report-back templates, prepare individualized participant results, run MCR, and then distribute reports to participants. We summarize the components and implementation of MCR below and provide an example of a blank template and an “individualized” report in the Supplementary Materials (note that the supplemental report-back template demonstrates MCR’s capabilities rather than provides an example of the best report-back practices).

The report template contains the layout for each page of the individual report. Template design is at the discretion of the research team. Generally, templates contain generic information present in all reports (e.g., a description of common indoor pollution sources), blank space for graphical results, and placeholders for individualized numerical or text results. Placeholders are composed of (variable) bracketing characters (e.g., “{“and“}”) and a unique identifier for the result to be inserted (e.g., “{participant_name}”). The inserted text matches the format of each specific placeholder. Researchers prepare individual numerical, text, and graphical results using software of their choice; the research teams in the applications below used R [23] and VBA. A Microsoft Excel workbook (e.g., participant_results.xlsx) is the container for all participant results, with worksheets for participant-specific numerical and text results (e.g., words, phrases, sentences), graphic results, and instructions for any special formatting characters (e.g., subscripts in chemical formulae). For numerical and text results, each worksheet row corresponds to results for an individual participant, with column headers corresponding to specific template placeholders and column cells representing individualized results to be inserted into the report-back template. Figure 1 provides an example of insertion of numerical results into an individual report and Figure 2 provides an example of insertion of graphical results. For the sheet of graphical results, each row corresponds to a single graphical result for a specific participant and contains the graphical result file path, the report-back page number, and the insertion parameters (e.g., changes to the image aspect ratio, distance from the top or side of the specified page).

Visual representation of the steps necessary to insert numerical and text data into the report-back template using MCR.

Visual representation of the steps necessary to insert graphical results into the report-back template using MCR.

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