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As mentioned in my last post, the usage of color can have a great impact on your dashboard and misuse of color can negatively affect how your dashboard is understood. Using some principles and research derived from others in the field of Data Visualization, (and a comment tip by Matt) it is now possible to create some ‘perfect palettes’ for usage with Xcelsius that can be shared with everyone.

Disclaimer: You should try to avoid having more than 5 categories on any chart, my only intention of showing all 12 here is to show the limits of Xcelsius and showcase all the colors in the scheme.

Using ColorBrewer, I selected 3 different palettes that would offer 12 distinct colors. A pastel palette with mixed colors, a paired palette, and a bold palette. While I prefer the bolder palette, I know that its not the best choice for a dashboard. Softer colors like the pastel palette tend to be more soothing and less alarming. You can also choose to use bold colors in combination with softer ones to create emphasis. That’s why the pastel palette below is probably the best starting point.

Pastel Mixed Colors (Set 3 from Color Brewer)

Paired Colors (Paired from Color Brewer)

Bold Colors (Set 3 from Color Brewer)

 

The following XML sets are based on the Grayscale scheme that comes with Xcelsius. I have modified the  data series colors using Color Brewer. The XML sets are no where close to perfect, but should provide a great foundation for making effective dashboards, where the data comes to life without being difficult to decipher and distinguish. Some color settings in the XML files had to be modified manually, I will list the changes I made below:

  • Changed canvas background colors to white instead of the Grayscale default of black
  • OHLC colors were manually changed to green and red for postive/negative
  • Other grayscale colors that use the first data series color, were manually changed to gray

To download the XML color schemes I created, right click on the following links and select ‘Save As‘.

Pasted Mixed

Paired

Bold

You can then copy the files to the \Business Objects\Xcelsius\assets\themes\custom directory and these will be available for you.

Enjoy!

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5 Comments

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  1. Alexander Schuchman
    I must say that this has been one topic which has created much debate within our company.
    All of a sudden everyone is focused on colors for a dashboard.  Many of our business owners are adding their input as to what scheme we should be using.
    I don’t recall any of these conversations in the standard SAP development world, it really makes you wonder who should be making these decisions, IT or Business owners?
    (0) 
    1. John Kurgan Post author
      Everyone will have their own personal preference. Similar to other requirements, you have to make one decision to encompass the whole. Satisfying everyone is almost never possible. I personally believer drivers such as visibility to color blind people, visibility when printed or gray-scaled, and easiness on the eyes, should dominate scheme choices.
      (0) 
    2. John Kurgan Post author
      Everyone will have their own personal preference. Similar to other requirements, you have to make one decision to encompass the whole. Satisfying everyone is almost never possible. I personally believe drivers such as visibility to color blind people, visibility when printed or gray-scaled, and easiness on the eyes, should dominate scheme choices.
      (0) 
  2. hema latha
    I have created Custom Color Scheme in Xcelsius.I checked the following folder.
    C:\Program Files\Business Objects\Xcelsius\assets\themes\custom
    But there is no XML file.
    How can I get the XML file?

    (0) 

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