Creation and Handling of Dimension Elements


This article walks you through the creation of elements, their types, and how you can consolidate elements.

To start, create a new dimension called “Customers” in the database “Demo”. Then click on the dimension Customers.  With the button (+) you can create a new element:

As example we create the element “Miller LLC”.

Then we create additionally the element “Total” to use it as parent element.

Now we create additionally the element “Smith Corp” selecting “Total” as parent element. During the element creation you can use Tab to go to the column “Parent element” to change the entry in this column. In front of the element “Total” you receive the expand/collapse button to display / hide its childs:

On top of the screenshot above you see the buttons to toggle between hierarchical and list view,
the search element button, the buttons to expand /collapse one branch or all branches and buttons to select the expand level.

Please select the element “Smith Corp”: With Enter you can create the next child of “Total”: the element “Meyer Ltd”. In this case the parent element “Total” is entered as default value.

After an element creation is finished you can double clic in the column “Parent element” to change this entry. Please set for “Miller LLC” also “Total” as parent element.

Note: Elements can be added to more than one consolidated element, making different views of a dimension possible. These structures are often called “parallel hierarchies”. The corresponding command you will find on the context menu after right-clicking an element.

Element changes in general

  • With double-click on an element cell you can change the corresponding value: element name, type, parent element or weight.
  • The type can only be changed for base elements between numeric and string.
  • For the weight you can enter a positive or a negative decimal number, using the point as decimal separator. The displayed arrow buttons in the weight cell change the existing value one up or one down.

A right-click on an element provides additionally the following self-explanatory commands:

  • Add to (additional) parent
  • Remove from selected parent
  • Delete element including descendands
  • Show parents
  • Counts (counts all types of elements in the dimension)
  • Move element to the beginning
  • Move element to the end

Consolidation calculation

Consolidated element = Child1 * weight + [Child2 * weight + …]

A prerequisite for the calculation of a consolidated element is that all child elements must be numeric or consolidated with a numeric value.

Element types

Elements in the OLAP server can be numeric (N), string (S), or consolidated (C).

  • Numeric elements can only contain numbers. They can be used for calculations, e.g. for consolidations.
  • String elements can contain all characters: (e.g. letters, numbers, special characters). They can be used for comments. They cannot be used for calculations.
  • A consolidated element is a parent element that has one or more child elements or child levels. With the OLAP server, you can consolidate both numeric and string elements, but only consolidated elements based exclusively on numeric child elements will be calculated.
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