SAP Dashboards life hack: Object favorites
I’m using SAP Dashboards (Xcelsius) for many years now but nevertheless I still discover some very useful tips & tricks now and then.
The last year, I’ve been heavily investing in my data visualization skills by attending courses, reading books and of course, practicing a lot. One of the things I learned is that the amount of different types of visualizations you’ll be using to visualize data in an optimal manner, is very limited. In most cases, you should mainly use bar/column charts, line charts (including sparklines) or a combination of these.
In fact, the gauges, pie-charts, tab sets etc haven’t been touched in a long while now and perhaps I should pull them off the object menu and slam them on the canvas just to check if they still work. I could almost feel sorry for them since it has large resemblances with Toy Story’s Woody being replaced by Buzz Lightyear. Although Buzz Lightyear has much more visual parade and drama with his sound effects, folding wings, etc so this feels more like trading in Buzz for good old Woody again, I guess. The statement “back to the basics” would apply. Enough Toy Story for now, back to Dashboards in SAP wonderland.
The conclusion is that during the dashboard development process, I use only a very small amount of available objects to create a dashboard to enlighten. Of course I could use exploding pie charts or lots of gauges but I think you’ll understand why I don’t.
Recently, my eyes bumped into the “Favorites” menu as part of the object browser of SAP Dashboards and I thought: “Hey! Wouldn’t it save quite some miles of scrolling the mouse wheel a year, if I added the most used objects into the favorites folder?” Perhaps you already know it but I started using it actively just a couple of weeks ago while setting up SAP Dashboard template XLF’s and custom themes.
All you have to do is open the component browser, right mouse-click an object, and select “add to favorites”
I selected my most used objects and arranged them into the “favorites” category. You cannot change the order of the objects in the favorites category. The object you click first, will be placed on top, the second object below the first one, and so on. It pays off to determine which objects you use most to arrange your clicking order so take a moment to identify the most used objects. Of course you can also delete them afterwards.
If you’re done, it might look something like the image below.
You might be wondering why I placed some of these objects in my favorites folder so let’s explain them a bit further.
I use the Push and Toggle Button very often to control dynamic visibility in dashboards. With these buttons I set, for example, a 1 or a 0 to switch between layers in a dashboard. Layers can be a top level dashboard and a drill down layer for example.
In the prototyping phase, I also often use the Rectangle object to draw objects like backgrounds. I use the Rectangle instead of the background objects because of it’s simplistic, non color gradient design.
The image component is sometimes used for customer branding or adding icons for drill downs. Many applications are possible here.
The Spreadsheet Table object is really crucial in the debugging process. I use this object constant to test data connections with for example SAP BW to quickly see if the data is retrieved correctly in the expected format.
That’s all for now so have fun using the Favorites life hack.
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