Interacting with Documents in Reading Mode


After completing this lesson, you will be able to:

  • View and interact with a Web Intelligence document
  • Identify the different properties of the Main Side Panel

Open a document in Reading mode

Web Intelligence shows complex and varied data in reports that you can understand quickly and easily.

Web Intelligence documents, based on queries created in one of several available applications, are designed in Design mode to be viewed in Reading mode.

File: Save

In SAP BI 4.3, you may come across error messages in which you are advised to save your document to improve its next loading time. These messages are replaced by a bullet on the Save button in the toolbar. A tooltip appears when you hover the mouse over the button letting you know why it is recommended to save the document, i.e.:

  • either because the was created in a much older release
  • or because the document’s data source was modified.

In both cases, the links of the document with the data source are updated thanks to this saving process and have not to be recreated when the document is opened the next time.

File: Export, Microsoft Excel

When exporting to an Excel file, if you have several reports in your document, you can decide to export all of them or explicitly select the ones to export. Each report is saved as a spreadsheet in the Excel file. You can select between two options:

  • Check Prioritize the Formatting of the Document to keep the formatting in the .XLSX file.
  • Check Prioritize Ease Data Processing in Excel to avoid merging multiple cells into Excel cells as much as possible and benefit from the data processing features of Excel.

File: Export, CSV

You can export either:

  • Reports' data, by selecting the Reports radio button, and selecting the reports you want to export.

  • Documents' raw data by selecting the Data radio button, and selecting the queries you want to export.

You can also configure the text qualifier, column delimiter and charset. In the column delimiter drop down, you can also directly type in a custom character you want to use, such as the pipe (|) for instance.

The class name is added to objects with identical names when exporting query data to a .CSV file. If the class names are also identical, then the parent class name is also attached.

Warning message management

When a document is refreshed, several queries may display the same warning message(s), for example No Retrieved Data or Partial Data. These messages are gathered into one group warning allowing users to close all warnings in one shot rather than closing them one by one. The number indicated in the group warning corresponds to the number of queries the warning applies to. Click this number to display the names of all related queries.

If you prefer not to see these warnings, select the Hide Refresh Warnings Messages option in the Main Side PanelProperties tab. They will not be displayed after the refresh, however a yellow bullet appears on the Refresh toolbar button if a query was partially refreshed (you can open the Advanced Refresh dialog box to find out which queries were partially refreshed).

Filter bar

In Reading mode, the Filter bar is the single place where you can see and, when possible, modify the filters and input controls that impact your document’s dataset.

In detail, the Filter bar contains the following items:

  • The Reset button to reset all input controls to their default values and remove the element linking filtering.
  • The prompts that have been answered during the document’s queries execution. Click Prompts to see these values. To modify them, refresh your document and provide new values for the prompts.
  • The document’s input controls that apply to the whole document, and the report input controls that apply only to the current report. Click an input control to modify its values using list, multi-list (checkboxes), slider, spinner… depending on the document’s designer choice. For list and multi-list, a search text field can be used to find only the values that match a search string. For a group of input controls, click the group and select the input controls to add. The order in which you select the input controls defines the filter path, i.e. the input controls’ dependencies. For example, if you select Country before City, the selected countries filter your choice of cities.
  • Element linking through which a block is filtered by a value selected in a table. Click the element linking icon to display the value of this element linking and reset it, if needed.

Freeze Header

The Freeze Header functionality offers the following improvements:

  • It is available in both Reading and Design modes.
  • You can enable it for all tables of the report by clicking the Freeze Headers button on the toolbar.
  • You can enable it for every individual table and additionally define the number of rows or columns you wish to freeze. In Reading or Design mode, click the Freeze Header button or command in the table’s context menu. This opens the Freeze Header dialog box in which you can define these options
  • Scroll through the report in Freeze Header mode is smoother.

Watch this video to learn how to use the Freeze Header option:

Presentation Mode

The Auto-refresh mode that is available since SAP BI 4.2 SP6 allows users to automatically refresh a document and avoid the session to time out. The Auto-refresh mode can be used to show a document on a public screen for an extended period of time, while automatically and regularly refreshing it.

In SAP BI 4.3, this mode has been improved and renamed into Presentation Mode. This new mode proposes new options such as the ability to switch from one report to another and full-screen display.

In Reading and Design modes, click the Presentation Mode button in the Display section of the toolbar. The Presentation Mode dialog box is opened and offers the following properties:

Auto-refresh everySpecify the frequency of refreshes.
Switch reports afterSpecify how long a report should be displayed.
Display in fullscreenSpecify whether you’d like to see the report in full screen.
Show reports tabsSpecify whether you’d like reports tabs to be visible or hidden in the toolbar.
Show refresh barSpecify whether you’d like the refresh bar to be visible or hidden in the toolbar. The refresh bar display the exact date and time of the last refresh.
All reportsSpecify which reports you’d like to refresh.

Watch this video to learn how to use the Presentation Mode:

Sort data

In SAP BI 4.3, you can sort data in Reading mode.


For more information, please refer Unit 5: Designing Documents to Analyze Data - Lesson 1: Sorting Data.

Rank data

In SAP BI 4.3, you can rank data in Reading mode.


For more information, please refer Unit 5: Designing Documents to Analyze Data - Lesson 5: Ranking Data

Main Side Panel

The Main Side Panel group several tabs:

  • The Map tab allows you to navigate the sections of the report you're viewing.
  • The Comments tab allows you to view, add and manage comments in the document.
  • The Properties tab displays the document properties and statistics, and allows you to edit some of its options.
  • The Prompts tab displays responses to prompts and allows you to change the order in which prompts are displayed.

The Document Options recaps the properties and options enabled in a document:

NameThe name of the document in the BI launch pad. This is displayed above the general properties and cannot be edited.
AuthorThe creator of the document.
The creator of the documentThe date the document was created.
DescriptionOptional information that describes the document.
KeywordsOptional keywords that can be used to search for the document in the BI launch pad.
Last refresh dateThe date of the last data refresh.
Last modifiedThe date of the last modification made to the document.
Last modified byThe last person who modified the document.
Duration of the previous refreshThe duration of the last refresh.
Data tracking for current reportIndicates whether data tracking is turned on or off.
Chart animationsTurns on/off chart animations.
Hide refresh warning messagesHides refresh warning messages when only partial data is loaded or no data has been retrieved.
Permanent regional formattingFormats the document according to the format locale with which it was saved.
Refresh on openAutomatically refreshes the document with the latest data from the database each time you open the document.
Apply security filtering on openAutomatically applies the security on data when opening the document, without any need to refresh the document. This option is only available for a document created on a relational unx universe with Business Security Profiles.
Use query drillUse query drill

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