SAP BusinessObjects Design Studio 1.6 Preview

Posted by Xavier Hacking

SAP BusinessObjects Design Studio 1.6 is coming up later this quarter so it is time to do a little previewing! You can find the full roadmap for Design Studio here. Below I’ll discuss the highlights of all the new features that we can expect.

New Scorecard component

Design Studio 1.6 brings a new component that we have seen before in Xcelsius (SAP BusinessObjects Dashboards): the Scorecard component, or formatted table. This component can display multiple visualizations on a single table row. A table can display multiple of these rows, for example for each product type or region a separate row. We can show simple numbers but also charts (micro charts/trend lines without x/y-axis). Exceptions as defined in the underlying BEx Query can be shown as trend icons, colored text or colored cell backgrounds.

Very very useful if you want to display a lot of performance indicators in a compact way. Should also be easy to develop as you now only need a single scorecard component to achieve this, instead of using multiple text, chart etc. components to to the same.


New Spreadsheet component

A bit of a surprise is this new Spreadsheet component. It has the same functionality as the Crosstab component, so it can display data and has a context menu with all the OLAP features (filter, sort etc.). Difference is that you can now copy and paste data to and from this component. This is meant for planning scenarios, where you have to enter values (the planning template also uses the spreadsheet component). Now you can copy the data from a Design Studio app to Excel, make some adjustments there, and copy and paste them back into the spreadsheet component in the Design Studio app and use the planning functionality to save the data. The component also really looks like a familiar spreadsheet environment as in MS Excel, so that is also a plus. There is no info on using formulas or such as we are used to in Excel.


Geo pie charts

You can now use custom point markers (images) in the Geo Map component. Also pie charts can be plotted on the geo layers. Don’t use this, as pie charts suck.


Info charts + Chart feeding component

Design Studio 1.6 introduces a totally new charting component called the Info chart. The old chart component is still there, but for new developments we should use the new component. It has new chart types (bullet, combo, stacked), a context menu and support for BEx Query exceptions. It also supports the trellis chart feature we know from SAP Lumira, where you get multiple versions of the same chart to show different parts of a dataset.

The Chart feeding component lets the user set up a chart (Info chart) themselves on runtime.

So it’s a bit weird that they introduce a new component instead of updating the existing one, but anyway, more consistency in looks and usability between different applications (Lumira/Design Studio) is always a good thing.


More context menu options in cross tab/spreadsheet

End users can now add an additional column to a table with a different aggregation of a measure. These are the options:

  • Moving minimum value
  • Moving maximum value
  • Accumulative Sum
  • Accumulative Sum of Rounded Values
  • Accumulative Count of All Values
  • Accumulative Count of All Values that are Not Zero, Null or Error
  • Moving Average
  • Moving average for values that are not zero, null or error
  • Rank number
  • Olympic Rank Number
  • Percentage Contribution

Users can also create a new calculated measure (column) based on two other measures. The options for this are:

  • Add
  • Substract
  • Multiply
  • Divide
  • Percentage Difference
  • Percentage Share

In later releases a real formula editor will be added. So this is a nice first start, but probably a bit too limited/simple to be really useful. The column names of these new columns can be edited by the way. Another new feature is that end users can create top/bottom N filters on measures.



In local mode it is possible to use a CSV-file to load data for prototyping. It is even an option to download SAP BW data and use that for your prototype. This is great! This was always an important feature of Xcelsius, where it was easy to enter some dummy data in the spreadsheet to quickly create a good looking dashboard prototype.

Integrated CSS editor

We can finally edit and upload/update the custom CSS file from within the Design Studio client tool, instead of having to use Notepad++ or another CSS editor and manually upload the file to the BI Platform after each edit. Excellent!



This one has been on my wish list for a long time: Drag & Drop between the Navigation Panel and the Crosstab or Spreadsheet component is finally available. This means that the functionality as we know it from BEx Web/Analysis can now be fully replicated with a Design Studio application.


Export functionality has been improved a bit: Export to PDF now supports multi-panels and Export to Excel/CSV includes hierarchies.

There are two more new components that we know from SAP BusinessObjects Dashboards: Timer and Tree component. The Timer component can trigger scripts at a set interval, for example the refresh of a data source. The Tree component can display hierarchical structures.

An icon library is now included.



This is a great update and I can’t wait to try it out! Good stuff. For the next version I expect more on the Geo Map component, commenting in combination with BI4.2 and the formula editor for adding new measures and manipulating data. - Oct 29, 2015 | SAP BusinessObjects Design Studio
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  1. John Johnson
    November 22, 2015

    To whom it may concern, I am looking for some help with the following:
    I have BO Dashboard 4.1 SP 6 running in Win 10 x64 and Office 2013 Professional Plus. I work on the building management field and would like to build a dashboard with time series trends on all the equipment variables within a building. I can export the data into CSV files, but my challenge is how to set up this up the end to end workflow/process to get this into the dashboard visualization layer. I don’t have any SAP tools to create the universe (also need help how to use and set this up)….any help/guidance would be greatly appreciated.

  2. Ryan Goodman
    December 14, 2015

    Great summary.

    Have you found that the CSV file needs to be formatted in any special way? Tried a simple 2 column CSV files and when you go to edit the initial view, it throws a bunch of errors.

  3. Ian Mannion
    January 19, 2016


    Great post…

    Could I confirm that the option to create a ‘Combination Stacked and Line’ chart is now available ? The stacked chart was not available as a combined option in 1.5


    • Xavier Hacking
      January 19, 2016

      Hi Ian,

      Yes, the following charts types are available in the new Info chart component:

      ● 100% Stacked Bar Chart
      ● 100% Stacked Column Chart
      ● Bar Chart
      ● Bar Chart with 2 X-Axes
      ● Column Chart
      ● Column Chart with 2 Y-Axes
      ● Stacked Bar Chart
      ● Stacked Column Chart
      ● 100% Stacked Bar Chart with 2 X-Axes
      ● 100% Stacked Column Chart with 2 Y-Axes
      ● Stacked Bar Chart with 2 X-Axes
      ● Stacked Column Chart with 2 Y-Axes

      ● Line Chart
      ● Area Chart
      ● Combined Bar Line Chart
      ● Combined Bar Line Chart with 2 X-Axes
      ● Combined Column Line Chart
      ● Combined Column Line Chart with 2 Y-Axes
      ● Horizontal Area Chart
      ● Horizontal Line Chart
      ● Line Chart with 2 Y-Axes
      ● Stacked Combined Bar Line Chart
      ● Stacked Combined Column Line Chart
      ● Stacked Combined Column Line Chart with 2 Y-Axes
      ● Time Series Line Chart
      ● Horizontal Line Chart with 2 X-Axes
      ● Stacked Combined Bar Line Chart with 2 X-Axes

      ● Pie Chart
      ● Doughnut Chart

      ● Bubble Chart
      ● Scatter Chart

      ● Heat Map
      ● Tree Map

      ● Trellis Area Chart
      ● Trellis Bar Chart
      ● Trellis Column Chart
      ● Trellis Horizontal Area Chart
      ● Trellis Horizontal Line Chart
      ● Trellis Line Chart

      ● Radar Chart
      ● Bullet Chart
      ● Vertical Bullet Chart

      • Carlos
        March 4, 2016

        Hi Xavier

        Thanks for this DS 1.6 Components post. Do you know how to set up Conditional formatting in InfoChart components when data not sourced from SAP BW?

        Carlos W.

        • Michael
          June 6, 2017

          Hi Carlos,

          Did you get to know how to setup Conditional formatting in DS1.6 InfoChart? If yes, could you please help me?


  4. Sergi
    June 8, 2016


    I have a simple question.

    Is possible in any version of Design Studio connect to data source Excel?

    Thank you very much,

    • Xavier Hacking
      June 8, 2016

      Hi Sergi,

      There is no direct data source to an Excel source available (like in Webi). But, you could probably create an UNX universe on top of an Excel file, and connect to that.


  5. Colm
    June 27, 2016

    Hi Xavier,
    A bit of a detail question but having trouble finding any info, any idea if custom sorting on charts is finally possible in 1.6
    Using universe as source. Adding a second dimension to sort on work but cannot hide only that dimension.
    Trying to get away from awful display like 1.Jan 2.Feb

  6. Guy
    March 17, 2017

    Hello Xavier, I had a nice waterfall chart that worked perfectly with conditional formatting and all.

    However, now we have upgraded to 1.6 (SP3) the formatting no longer works. Most of the threads that I have read say the answer is to switch to the waterfall chart from the Info Chart option. This I have done but, my issue is that the new chart only picks up the first key figure from my data source – please note that I am actually using a structure with seven key figures to populate my chart rather than one key figure with a month drilldown for example.

    Does anyone have any advice on how to include all of my key figures because it doesn’t seem obvious in the chart configuration or any of the training material.

    Many Thanks.


  7. Ece
    May 18, 2017

    Hi Xavier,

    How did you do bubble chart in scorecard first screenshot at “Growth Rate” measure ? I try to set coloured ball to one measure according to one value.

    • Xavier Hacking
      May 18, 2017

      Hi Ece,

      In the Scorecard component you have to use the Binding Type “Conditional Format Value” for the Icon property. You can define a specific icon/image for up to 9 conditions. Display Mode should also be set to display the Icon. So, it’s not really a bubble chart you are seeing.?


  8. Baseer
    June 13, 2017

    Hi Xavier,
    There is requirement of gauge in Design Stuio , is there any workaround to develop or use gauges in Design Studio 1.6 ?

    Thanks in advance.

    • Xavier Hacking
      June 14, 2017

      Hi Baseer,

      You have to look for 3rd-party extensions for this functionality. For example VisualBI has a gauge component in its portfolio.


      • Guillermo
        December 6, 2019

        Thanks Xavier for sharing this information. My question is where I can find information about how to use Tree component.

  9. sanjeeve
    January 11, 2018

    please can you help me load the flat file in

    design studio .

    waiting for your response


  10. Beyz
    July 16, 2018

    To whom it may concern,

    Thanks for that essential txt. But I could not find any information about using gradient in bar charts at design studio. Can you please help me if you have any idea of it.

    Thank you

    Best regards.


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