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:

For this example, create the element “Miller LLC”, then create the element “Total” to use as a parent element.

Next, create the element “Smith Corp”, selecting “Total” as the parent element. During the element creation, you can use the tab key on your keyboard to navigate to the Parent Element column to make changes to the element. Click on the expand/collapse button to the left of the “Total” element to view or hide the element’s children:

The buttons at the top of this screenshot let you toggle between hierarchical and list view, search elements, expand /collapse one branch or all branches, and expand level by number.

Select the element “Smith Corp”, then hit the enter key on your keyboard to create the next element, which will automatically be a child of “Total”. Name this element “Meyer Ltd”. To change the default parent element, double-click on the parent name in the Parent Element column. Set “Miller LLC” as parent element for “Total” and click OK at the warning dialog.

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”. To add an element to another parent, right-click on the element and select Add to (additional) Parent from the context menu:

Element context menu

Making changes to elements

  • Double-click on the name, type, parent element, or weight of an element to change these aspects.
  • Base elements can be changed to numeric or string type, but a consolidated (parent) element may not change type.
  • Weight can be a positive or a negative decimal number, using the point as decimal separator. The arrow buttons change the weight up or down by a unit of 1.
  • Right-click on an element for a context menu with additional options (see screenshot above).

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.

Drag-and-drop operations

As of Jedox 7.1, several drag-and-drop operations are implemented in the Modeler. To demonstrate, add the element “All Customers“ to the Customer dimension in the example above.

When you hover the mouse cursor over a row in the Modeler elements grid, the row header will show a “drag handler” icon on the very left side. The icon visualizes the drag area. If you move the mouse cursor over the icon, the cursor changes to a “grabbing hand” cursor.

To mark several elements, press the Shift or Ctrl key while clicking on the elements and hold the grabbing hand to start the drag operation.

While dropping you can press the Shift key to indicate a “Move” operation or the Ctrl key to indicate an “Add” operation. While pressing the key, a tooltip is shown, hinting the currently chosen action. The additional key must be held down at the moment when drop occurs in the target area.

You can drop the element(s) between two elements in the grid (visualized by a blue line) or on top of an element (visualized by light blue background). If you drag the element on top of a collapsed consolidated element and hold it there for one second, the element will be expanded:

Longer trees that extend beyond the screen will automatically scroll when the cursor reaches the bottom of the screen.

Drag-and-drop functionality is also possible when paging is used, either in flat view or in tree view. To drag across pages, the mouse cursor is dragged on a paging control (button) and held there for one second. The UI will then change to the next/previous page.

In Flat view, elements may only be reordered using drag-and-drop functionality.

If you drop without a shortcut key being pressed at same time, you receive a menu with Add, Move, and Cancel buttons. Not all of these actions are applicable for all drop positions. Inapplicable actions are disabled in the menu. 

  • Add: this button is only active if the drop zone is either on top of an existing element or within a dimension hierarchy branch to which none of the selected/dragged elements currently belong. Selecting Add will define the elements as children of the element or element branch on which they are dropped. The elements will also remain in their existing hierarchy position (i.e., a parallel hierarchy is created).
  • Move: this button is always active. If the drop zone is within the same hierarchy branch, elements will be only reordered within the consolidation order. If the drop zone is on top of an element or within a different hierarchy branch, selecting Move will remove the elements from their current hierarchy position.
  • Cancel: this button is always active. It cancels the drop operation.

When adding or moving an element, a popup warning appears, as changing an element from base to consolidated type may imply loss of data. 

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