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Using the Cube Viewer

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Modified on Wed, 19 Jun 2013 01:32 PM Categorized as Data Connectors, Data Preparation, OLAP
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Overview

The Cube Viewer lets you perform basic analysis on a discovered cube at the data connector stage. You can review the source cube's elements (⪚ measures and dimensions) and see actual data values displayed in an OLAP data grid.

Use the Cube Viewer to verify that your source cube contains the data you are interested in before going to the next stage to create a virtual cube.

The Cube Viewer.

The Cube Viewer.


Elements of the viewer

The Cube Viewer appears as a set of user interface panes or axes:

Elements of the Cube Viewer.

Elements of the Cube Viewer.


  1. Toolbar
  2. Cube Tree
  3. Slicer axis
  4. OLAP data grid
  5. Measures axis
  6. Categorical axis
  7. Grouping axis

To build the view of the data you are interested in, simply drag items from the Cube Tree onto a compatible pane/axis. The OLAP grid will adjust itself automatically to display the corresponding data. See the following section for more details.

Tip: You can resize the width or height of the various panes by dragging the splitter bars inbetween the panes.

Example cube

The examples in the sections that follow assume that a data connector has been created for a SSAS cube, which is configured as follows:

  • Measures:
    • Fact Downloads count
    • Sale Amount
    • Sale Amount Target
    • Unit Count
    • Hours
    • Hours Target
    • Support Ticket Count
  • KPIs:
    • Sales
    • Support
  • Dimensions:
    • Campaigns
    • Customer
    • Employee
    • Product
    • Support Medium
    • Time

Browsing cube elements

Use the Cube Tree to view the hierarchy of cube elements such as measures, KPIs, and dimensions:

  1. Move the splitter bar on the right to adjust the width of the Cube Tree as needed.
  2. Expand the top-level Measures folder and measure group sub-folders to see individual measures. The sub-folders and measures are sorted alphabetically by default.
    Sales-related measures.
  3. Expand the top-level Product dimension folder and sub-folders to see the relationships between the attributes (⪚ Product Group Id) and hierarchies (⪚ Product Group - Product) of the dimension.
    The Product dimension.

Tip: Search for items in the cube tree by using the Filter textbox at the top of the pane. But note that for performance reasons, the filtering for dimensions is limited to the first level (&ie; searching within hierarchies/levels is not done).

Measures and KPIs

Measure and KPI values are displayed in the cells of the OLAP data grid.

To add a measure for display:

  1. In the Cube Tree, expand the top-level Measures folder and measure group sub-folders to see individual measures.
    Browsing measures.
  2. Drag a desired measure and drop it onto the Measures axis.
    Adding a measure.

Note: The OLAP data grid won't display any values until categorical dimensions have been added.

To remove a measure from the Measures axis:

  • Drag the measure back to the Cube Tree. The measure will be removed from the Measures axis.

To update the list of measures in the Measures axis:

  1. Double-click on a measure in the Measures axis. The Edit Measures dialog is displayed.
  2. Use the toolbar at the top of the dialog to:
    • Select all items (⪚ measures)
    • Deselect all items
    • Sort items by ascending alphabetical order
    • Sort items by descending alphabetical order
  3. Use the Filter textbox to narrow the list of measures.
  4. Check or uncheck measures in the list as required.
    Edit measures.
  5. Click OK.

Similar steps as above apply to KPIs.

Categorical dimensions

Categorical dimensions define the rows (&ie; row labels) of the OLAP data grid.

To add Product as a categorical dimension:

  1. Select the Product top-level item in the Cube Tree.
  2. Drag the Product item and drop it onto the Categorical (Dimension Rows) axis. It appears as a Product Type Id item by default.
    Drag Product item.
  3. The OLAP grid is populated with rows that correspond to products.
    A categorical dimension.
  4. Expand the Audio row label to see more detail.
    Expand the Audio row label.

To remove a dimension from the Categorical axis:

  • Drag the dimension back to the Cube Tree. The dimension will be removed from the Categorical axis.

To choose specific dimension members for display:

  1. Double-click on the dimension in the Categorical axis. The Edit dimension dialog is displayed.
    Edit dimension.
  2. Use the toolbar buttons to move up or down a level in the dimension hierarchy (if applicable).
  3. Use the Filter textbox to search for dimension members. You have the option of searching the hierarchy or just the current level.
  4. Check or uncheck members of the categorical dimension as required:
    • Use a single checkmark to select an item and all of its children in the hierarchy.
    • Use a double checkmark to select an item and a subset (potentially none or all) of its children. In this case, a child item without any checkmarks will be excluded.
  5. Click OK.

Dimensions for grouping

Grouping dimensions define the columns (&ie; the top row of column labels) of the OLAP data grid.

To add Campaigns as a grouping dimension:

  1. Move the splitter bar on the left to adjust the width of the Grouping (Dimension Columns) axis as needed.
  2. Select the Campaigns top-level item in the Cube Tree.
  3. Drag the Campaigns item and drop it onto the Grouping axis.
    Drag Campaign item.
  4. The columns of the OLAP grid will be grouped according to the members of the Campaigns dimension.
    Added a grouping dimension.

Tip: Hover with your mouse over a cell in the OLAP data grid to see a tooltip that shows the row, column, and measure/KPI values.

Tooltip for a cell.

To remove a dimension from the Grouping axis:

  • Drag the dimension back to the Cube Tree. The dimension will be removed from the Grouping axis.

To choose specific dimension members for grouping:

  1. Double-click on the dimension in the Grouping axis. The Edit dimension dialog is displayed.
    Edit dimension.
  2. Use the toolbar buttons to move up or down a level in the dimension hierarchy (if applicable).
  3. Use the Filter textbox to search for dimension members. You have the option of searching the hierarchy or just the current level.
  4. Check or uncheck members of the grouping dimension as required:
    • Use a single checkmark to select an item and all of its children in the hierarchy.
    • Use a double checkmark to select an item and a subset (potentially none or all) of its children. In this case, a child item without any checkmarks will be excluded.
    • Use the toolbar buttons to move up or down a level in the dimension hierarchy (if applicable).
  5. Click OK.

Slicer dimensions

Slicer dimensions are used for filtering and cannot appear at the same time in the Categorical or Grouping axes. Use slicer dimensions to narrow the focus of the data displayed in the OLAP grid.

To add a slicer dimension:

  1. Drag a dimension (or dimension attribute) from the Cube Tree and drop it onto the Slicer axis.
    Drag a slicer dimension.
  2. Double-click on the dimension in the Slicer axis. The Edit dimension dialog is displayed.
    Edit slicer dimension.
  3. Use the toolbar buttons to move up or down a level in the dimension hierarchy (if applicable).
  4. Use the Filter textbox to search for dimension members. You have the option of searching the hierarchy or just the current level.
  5. Check or uncheck members of the slicer dimension as required:
    • Use a single checkmark to select an item and all of its children in the hierarchy.
    • Use a double checkmark to select an item and a subset (potentially none or all) of its children. In this case, a child item without any checkmarks will be excluded.
    • Use the toolbar buttons to move up or down a level in the dimension hierarchy (if applicable).
  6. Click OK. The data in the OLAP grid is filtered accordingly.
    Slicer dimension members.

Tip: If you select a single dimension member, the slicer axis displays the member name (⪚ “Canada“). If you select multiple members, the slicer axis displays the word “Multiple”.

Named sets

A named set is a MDX expression that returns a set of dimension members. You can create named sets in SSAS and store them as part of a cube definition. For more details, see Defining Named Sets.

You can drag a named set from the cube tree to an axis in the same way as dimensions. However, there are some limitations:

  1. Only one named set can appear on an axis (&ie; no other named sets or dimensions).
  2. Drill-down is not supported for named sets.

Named sets.

Named sets.


Using the toolbar

Use the toolbar at the top of the Cube Viewer screen to:

Cube Viewer toolbar.

Cube Viewer toolbar.


Show or hide totals

Toggle the Totals button in the toolbar to show or hide total values in the OLAP grid. Total values are displayed in extra rows or columns with bold text.

Total values displayed in OLAP grid.

Total values displayed in OLAP grid.


By default, the Totals button will show or hide totals for both columns and rows in the grid. If you want to show/hide totals for just columns or just rows, you can do this by clicking the arrow in the Totals button. This opens a menu which lets you toggle totals for either the categorical axis and/or the grouping (series) axis.

Totals menu.

Totals menu.


Show or hide empty cells

Toggle the Empty button in the toolbar to show or hide empty cells in the OLAP grid. By default, empty cells are hidden.

Configure paging

Click the Paging button in the toolbar to adjust the page size (⪚ the maximum number of categorical rows and grouping/series columns that can be displayed in the OLAP grid). Paging controls appear in the Categorical and Grouping axes based on the page size and your data.

Select the Don't Query CellSet Size option to aid performance by eliminating a second query to get the page count for the pager. In this case, the pager will show Page 3, for example, instead of Page 3 of 5. You typically use this option when you are building analytical dashboards using analytical charts (which don't require page counts).

The Use Totals Paging option lets you count total and sub-total rows as part of the page size. Although this option also helps performance, you generally do not enable it when using charts because charts do not display totals.

Setting the page size.

Setting the page size.


Paging controls for categorical rows.

Paging controls for categorical rows.


Transpose rows and columns

Toggle the Transpose button in the toolbar to transpose the rows and columns of the OLAP grid.

OLAP grid before transpose.

OLAP grid before transpose.


OLAP grid after transpose.

OLAP grid after transpose.


Freeze cells

Toggle the Freeze button in the toolbar to freeze (or un-freeze) the cellset displayed in the OLAP chart/grid. The chart/grid won't be updated until the cellset is unfrozen.

A typical usage is to freeze the cellset first, then drag the measures and dimensions that you are interested in to the various axes. When you are ready to view the results, simply click the Freeze button once more to unfreeze the cellset and see your changes applied.

Undo and redo

Click Undo in the toolbar to undo a previous operation, such as expanding a row label.

Click Redo in the toolbar to re-apply a previous operation which you chose to undo.

Copy and paste

Data that is displayed in the OLAP grid can be copied to the Windows clipboard, for example, and then pasted into an external application such as Microsoft Excel or Notepad.

To copy data that is displayed in the OLAP grid to the clipboard:

  1. Select the grid row containing the values you want to copy.
  2. Press CTRL-C to copy the values in the entire row to the clipboard.
  3. Go to your external application (⪚ Excel, Notepad) and paste the (tab-delimited) values as desired.

Selecting a row for copy/paste.

Selecting a row for copy/paste.


Related topics


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