Designing Stories with Best Practices

After completing this lesson, you will be able to:

After completing this lesson, you will be able to:

  • Design stories with best practices

Formatting Standards

Look at the dashboards in the figure below. Can you identify which one follows proper communication standards? Click the correct option.

Now, let’s look at why communication standards are so important for business communication.

The Need for Communication Standards

Communication standards are rules that specify how communications should be designed. They help us navigate daily life all the time. Consider, for example, traffic signals.

Could you imagine if traffic signals would look different in every city or country? In a case like this, standardization is literally a life saver.

But what about business reporting and analytics? Imagine different teams creating the same report with different designs. Without standardized notation, the consumers may interpret these reports differently. The time spent preparing and deciphering the charts is better spent on using the information to inform decisions.

To tackle this worldwide need, the International Business Standards Association has developed a set of rules to standardize business communications. Following these rules, results and information is higher quality, easier to understand, and more valuable.

The International Business Communication Standards

The International Business Communication Standards (IBCS) rules are broken up into three categories:

  • Conceptual
  • Perceptual
  • Semantic

These categories apply to the key areas of messaging, structure, visual design, and notation.

Some simple IBCS rules to follow include:

  • Have a clear message.
  • Identify content with a well-defined title concept.
  • Use a horizontal axis for data series over time.
  • Use solid columns for actuals, hatched columns for forecast data.
  • Use red and green for variances only.

With features like easy-to-build templates and flexible formatting, SAP Analytics Cloud makes it easy to incorporate the IBCS rules into your stories. By adopting IBCS it is easier to gain valuable insights faster, leading to better informed decisions.

Story Preferences

Set your story preferences to specify default formatting options in a story, such as the page size and background color. Set your story details to specify how to open the story.

Watch this video to learn how to set your story preferences.

Exchange a Model in an Existing Story

Quite often we have an existing story and we need to switch the model assigned to a chart/table. In most cases, the new model has the identical structure or it is very similar. If you switch models via the Change Primary Model option in the builder pane, then you need to rebuild the chart/table. In order to swap models without losing your configuration follows the steps below.

When you swap models, the results will vary depending on how similar it is to the existing model.


  1. In the story, go to the Data tab.

  2. In the drop down for the model, choose Replace <Existing> Model.

  3. Select the new model.


    Message: Before replacing your model, we'd like to let you know that your story may look a little different. This is due to potential differences between the data in your original model and your new model.
  4. Choose OK.

  5. Go back to the Story tab and you will see that all charts/tables in the story now use the new model.

  6. Save the story.

Create a Landing Page - Optional

Task Flow

In this exercise, you will perform the following tasks:

  • Copy an existing story
  • Use story preferences
  • Add text widgets to display the user and jump between pages and other stories
  • Use the RSS Reader widget
  • Inset point charts to display the most important KPIs

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