A retrieval is an on-screen lookup and should be used in the following cases, rather than a report:
Large Files — Retrievals function by loading a large file very quickly, but only showing a small subset of data per page. This makes your data load extremely quick.
On-Screen Lookups — Retrievals come with, pre-loaded, the handy features of Advanced Sort and Advanced Search. This capability allows your users to navigate through records very quickly and very efficiently.
Smartlinks — While it is possible to pass parameters in a report, the ability within a retrieval is very straightforward. If you are building multiple applications that will pass values to one another, consider using a retrieval.
Dashboards — Due their flexibility and customizability, consider utilizing retrievals when creating dashboard applications.
Header/Detail Applications — With the help of Smartlinks, Multi Record Retrievals, and Single Record Retrievals, making header/detail applications are a snap with Retrievals.
Learn more about when Reports should be used. Click here to find out more.