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Visual BI Extensions – Feature Highlight: Advanced Table Component

One of the common feedback we received from our customers about the crosstab in SAP BusinessObjects Design Studio was, that it was “complicated” to format the standard crosstab and that they were missing the typical “Excel like” sorting option. After we heard the feedback and discussed the details with a few customers we decided, that we are going to develop our own Advanced Table component, and in the next few sections I would like to provide a short introduction to a few highlights of this new component.

Simple Table

We will start with a very simple table definition based on a data source as shown in Figure 1

Figure 1

In this example we have three measures and one dimension.

So our advanced table component in SAP BusinessObjects Design Studio (Design Studio) will look like shown in Figure 2.

Figure 2

Now looking at the Additional Properties of our Advanced Table, we can activate the search option and the sorting option.

Figure 3

After we activated these options, our table automatically is offering the new functionality (see Figure 4) and we can now sort each column independent of each other and we are able to search in the complete table.

Figure 4

Now looking at the Data Series category of the Additional Properties, you can see that you have the option to define the format of each column.

You can decide if you would like to show the dimension Product Group with the key, or text, or both – as shown in Figure 5 –  and you can define the format of the measures as shown in Figure 6.

Figure 5

Figure 6


Now let’s move on to a more important feature – the dynamic alerting capability. Design Studio does support the Exceptions from SAP NetWeaver BW, but what if you would like to highlight data coming from SAP HANA or from a Universe ? That is why our Advanced Table allows you do define the alerting directly as part of your dashboarding project.

Figure 7

Figure 7 shows for example the details of an alerting condition for measure Product Cost where a red arrow up will be shown in cases where the value is greater than the defined comparison value.

You have the option to define alerting conditions for each measure in the table and you can setup multiple conditions for each column.


Another great feature of the Advanced Table is the ability to add a simple calculation. In our example we have two measures: Product Costs, and Transport Costs. If we now wanted to know what the Total Costs are, we can quickly add such a calculation to our table.

Figure 8

Figure 8 shows the definition of the calculation for the new measure Total Cost. Right now our Advanced Table does support the following operators: Add, Subtract, Divide, and Multiply.

So far we changed the display of the measure Net Value, we changed the display for dimension Product Group, we activated search, we activated the sorting, we added a calculation, and we added alerts – and this is how our table looks like:

Figure 9

Table Layout

Last but not least we can define the general layout of the table structure itself. In the Additional Properties of the Advanced Table we have all the different options available – see Figure 10.

Figure 10

We can use all those settings and quickly change the look and feel of our table without having to worry about CSS classes and having to write CSS code.

Figure 11

I hope that I was able to give you a quick introduction to the Advanced Table component as part of our Visual BI Extensions for SAP BusinessObjects Design Studio. In case you are interested, you can register for a 30 day Trial on our website and experience the Advanced Table with your own data.

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  • Hi Ingo,

    A couple of questions:

    1.  Does the Advanced Table support hierarchies?

    2.  How does the data volume capability of the Advanced Table compare to the standard Crosstab?



    • Hello Mustafa,

      yes the component does support hierarchies and in regards to the data volume we are right now in the process of removing the 10.000 cell limit from several components and we are running performance / benchmark testing right now to see what a proper limit / volume is



  • I like the alerting functionality, is there any future possibility of being able to format the actual value under alert rather than adding a symbol in the cell?  i.e., changing the color of the text if the alert conditions are met in lieu of the arrows, circle or square...


  • Hello Ingo,

    This advance table from VisualBI supports the Context Menu feature that allows to Drill-Down, Filter, Drill-Across, etc.?

    If not, you will add it in a future release?


  • Hi Ingo,

    The standard Design Studio crosstab component offers the possibility to export to xls, xslx, csv, which is quite often used. Does your custom crosstab component support this as well?


    • Hello Toon,

      standard Design Studio offers a Excel export on an application level. its not a specific features from the crosstab but instead it exports the data source.

      yes that will work with our components as well.


      Ingo Hilgefort, Visual BI

      • hello Ingo

        What you say is true when exporting to lums (lumira). There indeed the export happens on datasource basis.

        However, when exporting to xslx, xls & csv standard Design Studio does not export the datasource but the crosstab itself. (Don't ask me why SAP has different approaches for exporting lums vs xlsx/xls/csv).

        Indeed, when exporting to xslx, xls or csv you need to specify which crosstab exactly you want to export:

        "export(exportType, crosstab?, exportSettings?)

        Exports selected components. Currently only the Crosstab component is supported. "

        Omitting the crosstab parameter will result in exporting all crosstabs available in the application.

        Now, we tried already using different types of custom crosstabs (e.g. ui5table from the community sdk package) but these do not support exporting. Hence my question whether your custom crosstab does support it or not.


        Toon Francx

        • Hello Toon,

          that type of functionality is not available yet. We did already receive that request as people would like to see a much richer export than what is there today.


          Ingo Hilgefort, Visual BI

  • I Really like this table compared to other ones I've tried but is there a possibility for the headers to be fixed? Or can I do it via CSS?

  • Hello Ingo,

    For this custom crosstab:

    We have a requirement where horizontally we would like to display few measure and vertically a single dimension(say country) and the cells of the table will contain the calculated measure on the dashboard(say percentage {num/den*100}). Can the custom crosstab handle that type of situation?

    If yes, will this custom table behave properly with the filter panel and all?



    • Hello Himanshu,

      so basically a table like this ?

                          January     February    March

      Product 1

      Product 2

      Product 3

      The table will basically display what the underlying source returns. In your example the actual calculations would already be in the underlying data source.


      Ingo Hilgefort

      • Hi Ingo,

        Our requirement is something like:

                                           Africa     Algeria     Germany

        Measure Name-1          value1     value2     value3

        Measure Name-2           ......                                  

        The values(value1, value2, ...... will have the measure value with respect to the measure mentioned measure name horizontal to that and the country vertical to that.

        The values calculation should be customizable such as (num/den*100) where num and den are obtained from dimensions in the universe.

        And the same component should behave properly with other components like filter panel etc.

        Can this be achieved with the current customized table?



        • Hello Himanshu,

          so in your case you have measures in the rows and dimensions in the columns. The calculation would be done in the backend already.

          The layout is for sure not an issue and it does work with items like a filter, panel, ...


          Ingo Hilgefort