Design and Documentation: Introducing the Visio 2007 PivotDiagram - Page 5

January 8, 2007

One last level remains in building our diagram. We will next present the Customers that are associated with each City. (Our having merged the Cities with no Customers will, as we shall see, help to present a tidier picture within this context, as well.)

38.  Placing the mouse just to the left and above the Birmingham sub node, click and drag, to capture all City sub nodes within in a “lasso,” as depicted in Illustration 28.

Click for larger image

Illustration 28: “Lasso” Select the City Sub Nodes ...

Let’s say we have been asked to present Customer Addresses, versus Customer Names (the actual Customer member names within the cube). The Customer Address is one of several member properties for each Customer member. Member properties are now exposed as Categories that are available for selection, based upon the fact that we enabled their import from the PivotDiagram Options dialog earlier.

39.  In the PivotDiagram task pane, within the Add Category selection list, once again, click Customer: Address.

The PivotDiagram updates once again, this time reflecting the addition of the Address level.

The Addresses associated with the Cities with Customers are useful to the expressly requested presentation. Those that appear underneath the merged, customer-free Cities simply reflect member properties that exist for all Cities within the respective State’s City level, and are hence not useful within the context of our present objectives. For this reason, we will suppress the sub nodes that have appeared for the merged Cities.

40.  Click the merged Alabama City sub node to select it.

41.  Holding down the CTRL key, click the merged Georgia City sub node to simultaneously select it.

42.  Select Other Actions within the PivotDiagram task pane, once again.

43.  Select Collapse from the items that appear within the dropdown selector, as shown in Illustration 29.


Illustration 29: Merging the Selected Group of Sub Nodes

The affected Cities are collapsed into a single sub node, as depicted in Illustration 30.


Illustration 30: A More Compact, Relevant Presentation, Courtesy of the Collapse Action

Next, we will perform an adjustment to make the diagram easier to understand for, say, other members of the team that do not necessarily grasp the concept of an “All” level – while taking a look at another action we can employ for similar needs, perhaps, in our own environments.

44.  Click the United States node, once again.

45.  Select Other Actions within the PivotDiagram task pane, as we have already done several times.

46.  Select Promote from the items that appear within the dropdown selector, as shown in Illustration 31.


Illustration 31: Promoting United States to the Top Node

The United States (Customer Country member) assumes the top node position. Because our title specifies “SE United States,” readers can assume that the top node represents the Country level (recall that we filtered same to United States earlier). The newly compacted layout appears as depicted in Illustration 32.


Illustration 32: A More Intuitive Top Node Appears ...

We will conclude with a few minor “cleanup” details, to demonstrate more ways to enhance the presentation of our new PivotDiagram. First, we will compact spacing a bit.

47.  Select Shape -> Configure Layout from the main menu.

The Configure Layout dialog opens.

48.  Set the Spacing to 0.3 in.

The Configure Layout dialog appears as shown in Illustration 33.


Illustration 33: Configure Layout Dialog with New Spacing Setting

49.  Click OK to apply modifications and to dismiss the dialog.

Finally, now that design of the PivotDiagram is complete, we can remove the level names (some might prefer to leave them in place), simply as another space conserving measure.

50.  Select the top node.

51.  Select PivotDiagram -> Options..., once again.

52.  Uncheck the setting Show breakdown shapes.

The PivotDiagrams Options dialog appears as depicted in Illustration 34.



Illustration 34: PivotDiagram Options Dialog with New Spacing Setting

53.  Click OK to accept the modification and to dismiss the dialog.

The adjusted layout appears as depicted in Illustration 35.


Illustration 35: Levels (Breakdown Shapes) Removed ...

And so, we see that the new PivotDiagram has much to offer us in a way of design and documentation. I have attempted to cover many of the capabilities in the steps of this practice session. There are many other potential uses for PivotDiagrams, as well as numerous alternate ways to arrange and present the shapes involved and the information that they convey. As I put the PivotDiagram to work, together with other Visio features, I will expose relevant settings and methods in other articles of my series’.

54.  Experiment further, as desired, with other settings among the dialogs we have covered together, as well as with the various actions that are available for use with the PivotDiagram.

55.  Select File -> Save As ..., and navigate to a convenient location to save a copy of recent work, if desired.

56.  Select File -> Exit, when ready, to leave the Visio.

Conclusion

In this article, we introduced and explored the PivotDiagram, which debuts in Microsoft Office Visio 2007, setting our sights upon examining its use within the context of design and documentation from the perspective of the Analysis Services environment. Our focus upon the PivotDiagram included a brief introduction to its possible uses, its components, and the data it can present. We then began a hands-on practice exercise, wherein we set up a working PivotDiagram, with a live data connection based upon the sample Adventure Works Analysis Services database.

We modified the PivotDiagram to illustrate various setting and layout options. We provided a running discussion, throughout the practice session, surrounding our work with Categories, Levels, and Nodes in the PivotDiagram, mapping each object to its peer object within the Analysis Services environment. We performed steps to add Analysis Services member properties into the new PivotDiagram, exposing them as supplementary Categories therein. Finally, we obtained some practical experience with the application of the Merge, Collapse and Promote Actions to nodes at various levels of the diagram. At relevant junctures within our construction of the PivotDiagram, we provided examples of filtering, together with suppression of objects not useful to a given presentation.

» See All Articles by Columnist William E. Pearson, III

Discuss this article in the MSSQL Server 2000 Analysis Services and MDX Topics Forum.

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