SAP BusinessObjects Dashboards 4.1 Cookbook

1959ENOver 100 simple and incredibly effective recipes to help transform your static business data into exciting dashboards filled with dynamic charts and graphics with SAP BusinessObjects Dashboards 4.1 (Xcelsius)

In this updated version of the SAP BusinessObjects Dashboards cookbook we broadened the scope a bit for the beginning SAP BusinessObjects Dashboards developer as well for the more experienced user. We now provide some more introduction to the SAP BusinessObjects Dashboards tool itself before diving into the practical step-by-step recipes right from the start. For the more seasoned users we added chapters about dashboard performance tuning and development productivity, plus a bunch of new tips & tricks throughout the book.

The original cookbook was released almost five years ago and covered version 4.0 of SAP BusinessObjects Dashboards. The second edition is updated up to the latest version of SAP BusinessObjects Dashboards 4.1. Together with a team of technical reviewers, existing of some world class SAP BusinessObjects Dashboards developers, we checked the existing content from the first cookbook on its relevance, correctness and completeness. Most recipes have been updated, some a bit more than others, and we decided to keep a few of them out of the new book.

Of course we also added a lot of new recipes to feature the new 4.1 features and include more tips & tricks. We discuss all the new components, the new mobile dashboards concept and the new connectivity options, complemented with new chapters on performance tuning and development productivity. At the end of the book the other dashboarding solution by SAP (Design Studio) is introduced.

With about 100 recipes and over 450 pages of content (100 pages more than the first edition) this is thé ultimate and definite guide for SAP BusinessObjects Dashboards 4.1 developers!

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

SAP BusinessObjects Dashboards 4.1 Cookbook, by Xavier Hacking and David Lai, Packt Publishing, ISBN 9781784391959, 452 pages.

SAP BusinessObjects Dashboards 4.1 Cookbook on (paperback + kindle)

SAP BusinessObjects Dashboards 4.1 Cookbook on Goodreads

SAP BusinessObjects Dashboards 4.1 Cookbook FAQ

About This Book

  • Create impressive dashboards with SAP BusinessObjects Dashboards 4.1 (formerly known as Xcelsius)
  • Find solutions for everyday development challenges using Dashboard Design components
  • Step-by-step recipes with practical real-world examples

Who This Book Is For

If you are a developer with a good command and knowledge of creating dashboards, but are not yet an advanced user of SAP BusinessObjects Dashboards, then this is the perfect book for you. Prerequisites include a good working knowledge of Microsoft Excel as well as knowledge of basic dashboard practices.

The Cookbook Concept

This guide to SAP BusinessObjects Dashboards 4.1 (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. The reader will be guided by a step-by-step method to accomplish specific 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.

What You Will Learn

  • Become fully equipped with best practices when using the SAP BusinessObjects Dashboards spreadsheet
  • Present data using a wide variety of data visualization components
  • Discover how to make dashboard components interactive for an enhanced user experience
  • Take advantage of Dynamic Visibility features
  • Connect your dashboard to live data sources
  • Export and publish the SAP BusinessObjects Dashboards model into several environments
  • Improve the performance of your dashboards and increase your productivity as a dashboard developer

The widely used SAP BusinessObjects Dashboards software lets you transform data from any source into interactive dashboards.

The recipes begin by covering best practices for using the SAP BusinessObjects Dashboards spreadsheet. The book then guides you through the exploration of various data visualization components and dashboard interactivity, as well as using alerts, dashboard connectivity, publishing the dashboard, and making the most of the aesthetics of the dashboard. Finally, the recipes conclude by considering the most important add-ons available for SAP BusinessObjects Dashboards, performance tuning, and tips on increasing development productivity.

Sample Chapter

You can check a sample chapter of the cookbook at or browse through the Slideshare below.

Where To Get The Book

You can get the book in paperback and eBook edition at Packt, Barnes & Noble and all other major book vendors.

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

eBook Version

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

  • The eBook is available in PDF, ePub, Mobi and Kindle 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.
  • You can also read the book online without the need to download.

Other vendors like Amazon, Kobo and Barnes & Noble NOOK also sell eBook version of the book, but those editions are DRM-protected.

Where To Get The 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 PacktPub website or from your PacktPub account page.


David Lai

David Lai is a SAP BusinessObjects consultant and specializes in data visualization and data warehousing. He graduated with a degree in computer engineering from the University of Toronto. He has a passion for providing organizations with smart Business Intelligence solutions that encompass best practices and techniques. In addition, he is an active contributor to the community and provides his knowledge in best practices and solutions.

He started his Business Intelligence blog ( in 2008, where he provides tips, tricks, and best practices for Xcelsius and BusinessObjects-related material. He is a bronze-level contributor to the SAP community network, has presented at SAP InsideTrack, and provides BusinessObjects training to students.

Aside from work, David enjoys physical activities such as weight training, basketball, volleyball, and skiing. He also has a strong passion for Latin dance.

David is the owner of Xinfinity Solutions, where he provides consulting services as a SAP BusinessObjects consultant. He has worked for a long list of satisfied clients in various industries.

Xavier Hacking

Xavier Hacking is an SAP BI specialist from Eindhoven, the Netherlands, and works as a consultant for Interdobs. He has a master’s degree in industrial engineering and management science from the Eindhoven University of Technology. He has worked with a wide range of products from the SAP Business Intelligence portfolio, including SAP BW, SAP BusinessObjects Dashboards, Design Studio, Web Intelligence, Crystal Reports, and the SAP BusinessObjects BI Platform. His main focus is dashboard development within the various SAP environments.

Xavier is the coauthor of the first edition of this book and the book Getting Started with SAP BusinessObjects Design Studio, SAP Press. He writes for the SAP Experts BI Hub and has his own blog related to Business Intelligence at ( You can follow Xavier on Twitter (

Table of Contents

  • Introduction
  • Using the Object Browser
  • Searching for components
  • Grouping the canvas components
  • Making the spreadsheet more readable with colors
  • Making the spreadsheet more readable with comments
  • Making the spreadsheet more readable with borders
  • Using named ranges
  • Copying the format of one cell to another cell or range
  • Debugging the spreadsheets
  • Navigating between worksheets
  • Introduction
  • Adding a line chart to your dashboard
  • Using a bullet chart
  • Using sparklines
  • Using a combination chart
  • Using a waterfall chart
  • Using a pie chart
  • Using a scatter plot chart
  • Using a bubble plot chart
  • Using a radar chart
  • Using an OHLC chart and a candlestick chart
  • Sorting series
  • Zooming in on charts
  • Scaling the y-axis
  • Using a tree map
  • Showing a trend without a chart
  • Displaying raw data
  • Illustrating single values
  • Introduction
  • Selecting your data from a list
  • Drilling down from a chart
  • Using the Filter selector component for hierarchies
  • An alternative hierarchy selection method
  • Using the Hierarchical Table
  • Using Filtered Rows
  • Using maps to select data of an area or country
  • Adding a Mac OS X-looking dock to your dashboard
  •  Resetting your data (the reset button)
  •  Making selections from a custom image (the push button and image component)
  •  Inputting data values
  •  Using the Play Selector / Play Control component
  •  Opening up a Web Intelligence report using dashboard parameters
  •  Selecting calendar dates
  •  Using sliders to create a what-if scenario
  • Introduction
  • Switching between different charts
  • Building a pop-up screen
  • Creating a mouseover help text popup
  • Password protecting your dashboard
  • Introduction
  • Adding alerts to a column chart
  • 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
  • Introduction
  • Printing your dashboard
  • Grouping and organizing components with the Canvas Container
  • Using dashboard scenarios
  • Using the Grid component
  • Creating a slideshow
  • Using the Panel Set component
  • Using the History component
  • Inserting data with the Source Data component
  • Analyzing trends
  • 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
  • Dynamic XY positioning and sizing of components
  • Using the Panel Container
  • Using the Tab Set container
  • Making tables look pretty
  • Using quadrants smartly
  • Creating/using a dashboard template
  • Introduction
  • Creating a news ticker with Excel XML Maps
  • Using Query as a Web Service (QaaWS)
  • Using Live Office Connection
  • Using BI Web Services to consume a Webi report
  • Using the SAP NetWeaver BW Connection
  • Using the Query Browser
  • Passing values from dashboard to dashboard with Flash Variables
  • Introduction
  • Exporting to SWF, PPT, PDF, and other file types
  • Publishing to SAP BusinessObjects BI Platform
  • Housing your dashboard in a BI Workspace
  • Publishing to SAP BW
  • Going mobile
  • Introduction
  • Managing add-ons in SAP BusinessObjects Dashboards
  • Connecting to CSV files with the CSV Connector
  • Integrating Google Maps with the CMaps plugin
  • Connecting to with DashConn
  • Presenting micro charts in a Tree Grid
  • Integrating Web Intelligence with Antivia XWIS Advantage Express
  • Advanced printing with Xcelsius Dashboard Printer
  • SUCCESS with graphomate charts
  • Introduction
  • Improving Excel spreadsheet performance
  • Using scheduled Webis to save on querying time
  • Running connections after loading the dashboard
  • Checking master data loading performance of connections
  • Optimizing BEx Query performance
  • Using Fiddler to identify the cause of performance issues
  • Introduction
  • Using the Spreadsheet Table component to debug
  • Time-saving tips during dashboard development
  • Fixing corrupt XLF files


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  1. Gil Baca
    April 8, 2015

    I purchased the book but the download files are not available at packtpub. Can you make the files available asap please?

  2. Xavier Hacking
    April 8, 2015

    Hi Gil,

    Please check this page:

    You can also find the code files in your account.

    Let me know if you are able to download them.


  3. krishna
    June 23, 2015

    Hi, i need to a SAP Book
    “Transportation Management with SAP TM
    written by Bernd Lauterbach, Dominik Metzger, Stefan Sauer, Jens Kappauf, Jens Gottlieb, Christopher Sürie”.

    Please help.


  4. Atur
    September 28, 2015

    is there any book on design studio as well

  5. huberth
    May 5, 2016

    hi where i can download bo dashboards 4.1 sp 5?


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