SAP BusinessObjects Dashboards: Variable maximum limits in charts

Posted by on Sep 24, 2012

If you use a chart in SAP BusinessObjects Dashboards (Xcelsius) you have the option to adjust the scale of the y-axis. By default Dashboards uses the automatic axis and makes up its own minimum and maximum limits. The biggest drawback of this feature is that it won’t let the y-axis start at zero all the time; this depends on the data set the chart is displaying. To make honest comparisons of data I believe a chart should show the complete picture and start its value axis at zero.

The example below shows the same numbers in two bar charts with different limits on the y-axis. Do you see what is happening here? The left chart might give you the impression of a giant decline in market share; losing more than half it. In reality, market share is down from 60% to 56%, which is a decline of only 6,67%.

In Dashboards I always use the option to manually set the limits of the y-axis. But, what if you don’t know what value ranges have to be shown in the dashboard? And what if want to display multiple different sets of data in the same chart? Or you have created an option in your dashboard to filter the data and want to show some drilled subsets of the data? If you set the maximum limit too low there is a risk some values won’t be shown on the chart. If you set the maximum limit too high a data set with smaller numbers won’t show any differences between the values anymore.

So we have to make the maximum limit variable to tackle this problem. We are going to use some MS Excel formulas to do this. Make sure you check the example at the end of this post.

Let’s say we’ve got a data set with the monthly results for some products. First we set up the chart and the data insertion with a selector component so we can choose which product should be shown.

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Posted in: Knowledge sharing, SAP BusinessObjects Dashboards, Xcelsius

Free Mr. Excel ebook

Free Mr. Excel ebook
Posted by on Nov 3, 2010

Microsoft Excel is a major part of SAP Crystal Dashboard Design (Xcelsius) and to build advanced dashboard you need some proper Excel knowledge. Today I was browsing for some info on a few Excel formulas when I came up to this Mr. Excel site, offering a free 900+ pages best practices book on Excel called Learn Excel 97-2007 from Mr. Excel: 377 Excel Mysteries Solved!. The video below shows some of the tips & tricks that are covered in the book.

The ebook is in low resolution so it is good enough to use as a reference guide to take with you on your laptop or iPad. Download it here (no login/registration required!). You can get the printed version here.

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Posted in: Books, SAP BusinessObjects Dashboards, Xcelsius

Powerpoint, Xcelsius and Twitter DIY

Powerpoint, Xcelsius and Twitter DIY
Posted by on Nov 29, 2009

A few weeks ago Timo Elliot (SAP BusinessObjects) launched his free PowerPoint Twitter Tools on his SAP web 2.0 blog. With these tools you are able to integrate Twitter in you presentations and use it i.e. to receive live feedback during your presentation. Lots of updates and improvements have been published since then and the high number of positive comments (on Twitter) confirm what a great idea this is.

A drawback of the tool is that you can’t configure the layout yourself. Also there is a SAP logo on every slide plus the e-mail address of the author. I like SAP but I think it is a bad thing to stuff your slides with logo’s. Also, why would your audience care?

So, let’s build a custom Twitter tool for PowerPoint ourselves, step-by-step.

Requirements:
– A copy of Xcelsius Engage or Xcelsius Engage Server (get a free 30-day trial here);
– MS Excel;
– MS Powerpoint.

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Posted in: DIY, Featured, SAP BusinessObjects Dashboards, Xcelsius