Building Queries on Universes


After completing this lesson, you will be able to:

  • Use a universe as data source
  • Use prompts in query filters

Use a universe as data source

Web Intelligence makes it easy for you to access your corporate data by enabling you to work with familiar business terms to retrieve data from a database rather than using technical code required by the data source. One of the possible methods Web Intelligence uses to accomplish this task is to use a universe.

An universe is the semantic layer that maps everyday business terms to the data stored in the database. Using a universe, you can retrieve data that interests you by dragging and dropping the desired objects.

In your company, universes are created by a universe designer using the information design tool. The designer then makes the universes available to you and other users in your organization so that you can select the appropriate business terms to create queries and retrieve data from the database. Within each universe, these business terms are listed as objects, while similar types of business terms are grouped into classes.

Watch this video to learn how to build queries on universes:

Refresh and purge data

The Refresh menu of the toolbar’s Data section contains the following commands:

  • Refresh All to refresh all authorized queries.
  • Advanced Refresh to open a dialog box that provides some statistics about the queries’ last refresh. You can explicitly select the data sources to refresh during the next document refresh.

The toolbar’s Data section also contains the Purge Data command that opens the Purge Data Poviders dialog box. The content of this dialog box is the same as in the Refresh Data Providers dialog box. However here, you can explicitly purge data from the data providers of your choice by selecting the checkbox in front of the data providers and clicking Purge.


Prompts support a new text property named hint. This hint is displayed when the user must answer these prompts in the Prompts dialog box. It can be used by document designers to help their users answer these prompts.

In Design mode, you can define this hint in the Prompt Hint text field available when creating or editing:

  • A filter prompt in the Edit Prompt dialog box.
  • A member prompt in the Member Selector dialog box, Prompt tab.
  • A ranking prompt, in the Prompt Properties dialog box when defining a ranking in the Query Panel.

The buttons in this text field toolbar allow you to bold, italicize or underline the selected text or add a hyperlink.

Prompt order

In Design mode, the Main Side Panel contains a new tab named Prompts listing all the prompts of the document. If you select a prompt, the Build Side Panel, Properties tab displays the properties of this prompt, including its hint and the queries it is coming from (this may be useful if the prompt has been factorized).

If your document contains prompts coming from several queries, you can define in which order they are displayed in the Prompts dialog box. Use the Move Up and Move Down buttons and click Apply to change the default order of the prompts. Click the Reset All button to restore the default order.

If variants have been defined for your prompts, you can click the Shared Variants button to open a dialog box where you can decide the ones to be public or to remain personal.

This Prompts tab is also available in Reading mode but it displays only the prompts answers and you cannot change prompts properties.

Public variant

Variants are lists of predefined answers to prompts. Since their release in SAP BI 4.1, they are only available to the users who have created them. Now, you can also share your variants so they can be used by any users.

When you save your answers as a variant, select its type in the drop-down list of the Create Variant dialog box:

  • Personal: to be the only one to use it, as in previous releases.
  • Public: to share it so that it can be used by any users.

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