SAP BusinessObjects Dashboards 4.0 cookbook

SAP BusinessObjects Dashboards cookbook

SAP BusinessObjects Dashboards 4.1 Cookbook has been released. Check this page for more information!


Over 90 simple and incredibly effective recipes for transforming your business data into exciting dashboards with SAP BusinessObjects Dashboards 4.0 (Xcelsius)

In this book we discuss over 90 so-called recipes that give a step-by-step explanation of the possibilities of SAP BusinessObjects Dashboards, formerly known as Xcelsius to create advanced dashboards. We cover the ins & outs of the Dashboard Design components, creating drill-downs, applying dynamic visibility, alerts and exporting & publishing. Also we show you how to improve the look and feel of your dashboard and how to use the spreadsheet in an optimal way. Furthermore dashboard connectivity options (i.e. SAP BW, BI4, XML) are included and we discuss the top third-party add-ons for SAP BusinessObjects Dashboards like the GMaps plugin and Antivia XWIS.

Each recipe is supported by a large number of screenshots and for most of the recipes we included XLF source files for even better understanding. Throughout the book you will find lots of tips, tricks and best practices.

To learn more about the book you can read the FAQ below.

SAP BusinessObjects Dashboards 4.0 Cookbook

Book overview

Xcelsius 2008 was recently included in SAP’s BusinessObjects 4.0 family, rebranding “Xcelsius Enterprise” as “SAP BusinessObjects Dashboards 4.0”. With features like flexible design and what-if scenarios, the powerful dashboarding software allows enterprises to make business decisions at a glance, and this book allows you to go far beyond the basics of these techniques.

This cookbook full of practical and applicable recipes will enable you to use the full latest capabilities of SAP BusinessObjects Dashboards (Xcelsius) to visually transform your business data. A wide range of recipes will equip you with the knowledge and confidence to perform tasks like configuring charts, creating drill- downs, making component colors dynamic, using alerts in maps, building pop-up screens, setting up What-If scenarios, and many more.

The recipes begin by covering best practices for using the Dashboard Design spreadsheet, the data-model, and the connection with the components on the canvas, later moving on to some from-the-trenches tricks for using Excel within Dashboard Design. The book then guides you through the exploration of various data visualization components and dashboard interactivity, as well as offering recipes on using alerts, dashboard connectivity, and making the most of the aesthetics of the dashboard. Finally, the recipes conclude by considering the most important add-ons available for Dashboard Design and enabling you to perform relevant and useful tasks straight away.

What you will learn from this book?

  • Become fully equipped with best practices for using the Dashboard Design spreadsheet
  • Present data using the wide variety of data visualization components
  • Learn how to make dashboard components interactive for an enhanced user experience
  • Take advantage of Dynamic Visibility features on the dashboard
  • Master manipulating the look and feel of your dashboards
  • Gain confidence in using alerts on charts and other components
  • Get to grips with advanced Dashboard Design components like the Trend Analyzer, Fisheye Picture Menu, History Component, and the Canvas Component
  • Optimize the user experience of the dashboard
  • Connect your dashboard to live data sources
  • Export and publish the Dashboard Design model into several environments.
  • Learn about the most applicable add-ons available for your dashboard requirements.
  • Master setting up alerts on charts, gauges, maps and scorecards


This guide to SAP BusinessObjects Dashboards 4.0 (formerly Xcelsius) is a cookbook packed full of practical recipes written in a clear, concise manner with annotated examples to empower readers to quickly accomplish specific dashboard tasks.

Each recipe is supported by a large number of screenshots and for most of the recipes we included XLF source files for even better understanding. Throughout the book you will find lots of tips, tricks and best practices.

Who is this book written for?

If you are a developer with a good command and knowledge of creating dashboards, but are not yet an advanced Dashboard Design user, then this is the perfect book for you. You should have a good working knowledge of Microsoft Excel as well as knowledge of basic dashboard practices, though experience of Dashboard Design as a specific dashboard tool is not essential.

Where can I get the book?

You can get the book at Packt or Barnes & Noble.

At Packt Publishing you won’t have to pay shipping costs and you can also get the eBook version here.

Is there also an eBook version available?

Yes! At Packt Publishing you can also get the eBook version of the cookbook.

  • The eBook is available in PDF and ePub format.
  • You can download Packt eBooks from your account as many times as you like.
  • Packt eBooks are DRM free and you can copy and paste from them.

Where can I get the XLF source files?

We included a lot of XLF source files and SWF files to support the recipes in the book. You can download these files freely from the support section on the PacktPub website.

What do others say about the book?


Dr. Bjarne Berg book review (5/5 stars)
Dallas Marks on Business Intelligence book review (4/5 stars)

Ryan Goodman book review (5/5 stars)

Centigon Solutions company blog post
David Moss’ blog post


Who are the authors?

The book is written by Xavier Hacking and David Lai.

The foreword is written by Donald MacCormick, Chief Product and Marketing Officer of Antivia.

Table of Contents

Table of Contents

Chapter 1: Staying in Control
Chapter 2: Data Visualization
Chapter 3: From a Static to an Interactive Dashboard
Chapter 4: Dynamic Visibility
Chapter 5: Using Alerts
Chapter 6: Advanced Components
Chapter 7: Dashboard Look and Feel
Chapter 8: Dashboard Connectivity
Chapter 9: Exporting and Publishing
Chapter 10: Top Third-Party Add-ons
Appendix A: Real World Dashboard Case Studies
Appendix B: Additional Resources—Supported Excel Functions and System/Software Requirements

  • Preface
  • Chapter 1: Staying in Control
    • Introduction
    • Making the spreadsheet more readable with colors
    • Making the spreadsheet more readable with comments
    • Making the spreadsheet more readable using borders
    • Using named ranges
    • Selecting all worksheet cells with one click
    • Copying the formatting of one cell to another cell or range
    • Debugging your spreadsheets
    • Navigation between worksheets
    • Grouping the canvas components
  • Chapter 2: Data Visualization
    • Introduction
    • Adding a line chart to your dashboard
    • Using the bullet chart
    • Using sparklines
    • Using the combination chart
    • Using the pie chart
    • Using the XY chart
    • Using the bubble chart
    • Using the radar chart
    • Using the OHLC chart and candlestick chart
    • Sorting series
    • Zooming in on charts
    • Scaling the y-axis
    • Using the tree map
    • Showing a trend without a chart
    • Displaying raw data
    • Illustrating single values
  • Chapter 3: From a Static to an Interactive Dashboard
    • Introduction
    • Drilling down from a chart
    • Selecting your data from a list
    • Using the Filter Selector component for hierarchies
    • Alternative hierarchy selection method
    • Using Filtered Rows
    • Using maps to select data of an area or country
    • Adding a MacOSX loading dock to your dashboard
    • Resetting your data (reset button)
    • Making selections from a custom image (push button and image component)
    • Inputting data values
    • Using Play Selector/Play Control
    • Opening up a Web Intelligence report using dashboard parameters
    • Selecting calendar dates
    • Using sliders to create a what-if scenario
  • Chapter 4: Dynamic Visibility
    • Introduction
    • Switching between different charts
    • Building a pop-up screen
    • Creating a mouse-over help text pop-up
    • Password protecting your dashboard
  • Chapter 5: Using Alerts
    • Introduction
    • Adding alerts to a column chart
    • Using alerts in a gauge
    • Making alert ranges dynamic
    • Displaying alerts on a map
    • Displaying alerts of different thresholds on a map
    • Using bindable colors to control alert coloring from a central location
    • Using alerts in a scorecard
  • Chapter 6: Advanced Components
    • Introduction
    • Printing your dashboard
    • Grouping and organizing components with the canvas container
    • Using dashboard scenarios
    • Using the grid component
    • Creating a slide show
    • Using the panel set component
    • Using the history component
    • Data insertion with the Source data component
    • Analyzing trends
  • Chapter 7: Dashboard Look and Feel
    • Introduction
    • Changing the look of a chart
    • Adding a background to your dashboard
    • Using color schemes
    • Sharing a color scheme
    • Working with themes
    • Making component colors dynamic
    • Using the panel container
    • Using the tab set container
    • Making tables look pretty
    • Smart use of quadrants
  • Chapter 8: Dashboard Connectivity
    • Introduction
    • Creating a news ticker with Excel XML Maps
    • Using Query as a WebService (QaaWS)
    • Using Live Office connection
    • Connecting to SAP BW
    • Using Universe queries
    • Passing values from dashboard to dashboard with Flash Variables
    • Accessing dashboards with live data outside of Infoview using CELogonToken
  • Chapter 9: Exporting and Publishing
    • Introduction
    • Exporting to a standard SWF, PPT, PDF, and so on
    • Exporting to SAP Business Objects Enterprise
    • Publishing to SAP BW
    • Housing your dashboard in Dashboard Builder
    • Creating Adobe Air Applets from Dashboard Design
  • Chapter 10: Top Third-Party Add-ons
    • Introduction
    • Managing add-ons in Dashboard Design
    • Connecting to CSV-files with the CSV-connector
    • Integrating Google Maps with the GMaps plugin
    • Connecting to with DashConn
    • Transferring data between dashboards with Data Sharer
    • Presenting micro charts in a tree grid
    • Integrating Web Intelligence with Antivia
  • Appendix A: Real World Dashboard Case Studies
    • What-if scenario: mortgage calculator
    • Sales/profit dashboard
  • Appendix B: Additional Resources—Supported Excel Functions and System/Software Requirements
    • Online resources
    • Supported Excel functions
    • System and software requirements
  • Index


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