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 Build Side Panel and the Main Side Panel

Main Toolbar

In Web Intelligence 4.3, the Main Toolbar refers to the topmost horizontal bar or menu that provides various options and tools for navigating, customizing, and interacting with the data in Reading mode. This toolbar typically includes buttons or icons for actions such as refreshing the data, applying filters, exporting the report, … It allows users to perform tasks and manage their reading experience efficiently.

File: Save

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.:

  • 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.

Query: Refresh with Warning Messages

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 PanelDocument Properties 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).

Query: Advanced Refresh

In Reading mode, you can select the queries to refresh:

  • If you simply click the Refresh button in the toolbar, all refreshable data sources are refreshed.
  • If you open the menu in the Refresh button and select the Advanced Refresh command, the Advanced Refresh dialog box opens in which you can select the queries to refresh. This dialog box is identical to the one used in Design mode, except that it does not display the data sources’ path.

Analyze: 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.

For more information, please refer to Unit: Adding Interactivity to your Document - Lesson: Filtering Documents and Reports through Input Control.

Display: 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 freeze table headers:

Display: 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 bar

Specify 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 feature:

Display: Maximizing Charts

When a chart or custom element is maximized via the Maximize button in the floating toolbar, a navigation window is displayed in the top left corner of the chart. This window displays a full preview and the zoom area of the corresponding chart.

You can click on this window to move the zoom area around or reposition it through drag and drop.

You can hide or display this window by clicking the Show/Hide Navigation Window button in the floating toolbar.

In this floating toolbar, you can also use the Zoom In and Zoom Out buttons to define the zoom level. This is an alternative to the mouse wheel button or the pinch gesture on touch screens.

Report Selection and Vanishing Toolbar

In Reading mode, you can move from one report to another by clicking the corresponding tabs displayed under the toolbars.

To navigate in the report, you may use the Vanishing toolbar at the bottom of the page. This toolbar appears when you move your cursor to the bottom of the page and disappears when you stay idle for a few seconds.

This toolbar contains the following commands:

Build Side Panel

In Reading mode, two buttons are displayed at the right side of the toolbar, one for the Build Side Panel and one for the Main Side Panel.

The Build Side Panel group several tabs:

  • The Sort tab allows you to arrange and organize data within a report according to specific criteria.
  • The Rank tab allows you to isolate the top and/or bottom records in a set based on a variety of criteria.

Sort Data

You can add a sort to a table to help organize your data. If you're working with multiple sorts, you can arrange their priority to better control how your data is displayed.


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

Rank Data

This feature is useful when users want to identify the top or bottom values in a dataset or group data based on specific conditions. The Rank feature can be applied to tables, charts, and crosstabs to enhance data analysis and visualization.


For more information, please refer to Unit: Designing Documents to Analyze Data - Lesson: 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 Document 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 Comments functionality allows users to add and view comments associated with a specific report element or data point. This feature enables collaboration and communication between users by providing a platform to discuss, explain, or provide additional information about the data or report elements.

The purpose of using comments in reading mode can include:

  • Collaborative analysis: Users can ask questions, clarify information, or provide insights regarding specific data points, allowing team members to collaborate effectively.
  • Report enhancement: Users can suggest improvements, provide feedback, or contribute additional analysis through comments, which helps in enhancing the report quality.
  • Data validation: Users can use comments to document discrepancies or errors in the data, allowing them to call attention to potential issues and facilitating data validation processes.
  • Knowledge sharing: Users can share their expertise or provide context around specific data points, helping others to understand the data better.
  • Documentation: Comments can be used to record any changes, updates, or explanations related to the report or its elements, serving as a historical reference for future analysis.

Document Properties

The Document Properties functionality allows users to view and modify certain properties of a document.

The table below shows the main properties of the General theme:

Created by

The creator of the document and the date the document was created.


The document ID in the SAP BI Platform Repository.

The table below shows the main properties of the Statistics theme:

Last refresh date and duration

The date of the last data refresh and its duration.

Data tracking for current report

Indicates whether data tracking is turned on or off.

The table below shows the main properties of the Document Options theme:

Chart animations

Turns on/off chart animations.

Hide refresh warning messages

Hides refresh warning messages when only partial data is loaded or no data has been retrieved.

Hide warning icons in chart

Hides general warning icons to enhance readability.

Update shared element(s) on open

Defines if shared elements used in the document must be updated in the document when it is open in case new versions of these shared elements exist.

The table below shows the main properties of the Data Options theme:

Refresh on open

Automatically refreshes the document with the latest data from the database each time you open the document.

When Refresh on Open is on, data tracking doesn't display the difference between the data prior to the refresh and the data after the refresh. Data after the refresh is treated as new data because the refresh purges the document.

Apply security filtering on open

Automatically 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.

Auto-merge dimensions

Automatically merges dimensions with the same name and from the same universe. You see the merged dimension in the list of available objects with the dimensions merged within it below.

Merged dimensions are the mechanism for synchronizing data from different data providers.

Extend merged dimension values

When selected extends values of merged dimensions. Merged dimensions are the mechanism for synchronizing data from different data providers. This controls the results when a table contains synchronized data.

If a table contains a dimension used in a merge, this dimension returns the value of its query plus the values of the other dimensions merged from other data providers for which there is an object in the table.

When this option is disabled and a table contains a dimension used in a merge, this dimension returns the value of its query.

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