August 29, 2011

Extension for creating comments in QlikView is publicly available

Explainum Feeds for QlikView -- an extension for creating context-dependent annotations in QlikView is publicly available now. You can get the extension, deployment guidelines and a couple of demo apps on

Key features

  • Twitter-like feeds of comments linked to data context defined by selection in QV apps — e.g. select "London","2011" to see comments that relate to London and year 2011
  • Clicking a comment selects its context (like a bookmark)
  • Common feeds for different QlikView applications and servers
  • Doesn't require QlikView Server (however, internet connection is needed)
  • User names in comments (anonymous mode is also possible)
  • Works on both desktop (in WebView mode) and server installations
  • Many feeds per sheet and application
  • Zero-administration extension script updates
  • Free public service
Currently, the extension works only with QV 10 SR2, as SR3 has crucial bug that crashes extension (hope it will be fixed in SR4).

Technical issues can be discussed in dedicated thread on QlikCommunity.

August 17, 2011

Hot keys in QlikView: round up

Following the discussion on LinkedIn started by my previous post about hot keys in QlikView here is brief cheat sheet of hot keys shared by wonderful LinkedIn QlikView community:

Script Editor

<F5> or <Ctrl> + R
runs load script
<CTRL> + <Shift> + R
partial reload
<Ctrl> + T
shows model diagram
<Ctrl> + E
opens table editor for LOAD INLINE statements (cursor should be placed inside statement)
<Ctrl> + Q + Q
inserts script that generates several dummy tables
<Ctrl> + K + C
<Ctrl> + K + U
comments/uncomments blocks of script
<Ctrl> + F
allows search within the script in the debugger window


<Control> + <Shift>
allows moving objects inside a chart
<Ctrl> + <Shift> + S
toggles visibility settings for all objects on a sheet
<Ctrl> + M
launches macro editor
<Ctrl> + E
launches script editor
<Ctrl> + T
shows model diagram
<Ctrl> + <Shift> + M
toggles macro security
<Ctrl> + <Arrow>
moves selected object pixel by pixel
<Ctrl> + <Shift> + <Arrow>
moves selected object for longer distance
<Ctrl> + <Alt> + V
opens variable overview
<Ctrl> + <Alt> + E
opens expressions overview
<Ctrl> + <Alt> + D
opens document properties
<Ctrl> + <Alt> + S
opens sheet properties
<Ctrl > + Q
opens current selection
<Ctrl> + <Shift> + Q
opens detailed technical information about application
refreshes UI in WebView mode
<Alt> + <Enter>
opens property window of any object (including sheet)
<Ctrl> + <Tab>
cycles between open windows in QlikView or between tabs in object property window

Adding annotations in QlikView: beta-testers wanted!

I've made an extension for QlikView that allows creating annotations tied to selections. The extension works in connection with free public service Explainum Feeds developed by Max Ivak and me which allows to have single stream of comments even for different QlikView servers and applications.

It hasn't been released yet, but if you want to take part in closed beta-testing let me know at dmitry(аt)

Here is a screenshot to give you an idea how it looks like (click to enlarge).

August 1, 2011

How to build good dashboard. Part 4: Layout

For those who haven't read previous parts -- here they are:

Part 1: Dashboards vs Reports

Part 2: Usage scenario

Part 3: Zoning

In previous part we talked about zoning -- how to organize dashboard elements by logical zones according to their function, meaning and priority. Now we have a question -- where to put these zones on a dashboard? To answer this question we have to take into consideration findings from eye tracking usability studies. Eye tracking by itself is a big and very interesting theme which is worth spending some time studying it (you can start from googling). Briefly, eye-tracking testing helps to understand at what parts of a page users look first, where they go next, what they put more attention to, etc. To understand this technique more deeply you can take a look at one of Google's articles about eye-tracking. Strictly speaking, it is not correct to apply findings from studying web-pages (which mostly contain text, photos and often advertisement) to BI dashboards (which contain charts and tables and never advertisement). Sure, results of an eye tracking study made specifically for BI dashboards would be much more appropriate here, unfortunately I never came across anything like them (if you did -- I would be grateful for link). However, due to common reading habits and strong internet literacy among BI users, I believe we can apply similar logic for our goals as well.

Below is depicted typical user eye path:

Users start looking on a page from top-left corner (1), then study upper part (2) and slide to the left part of a page (3-4). Then they look through right part (5-6) and finally -- bottom part or footer (7). So, place your zones on a dashboard according to their importance and priority and user eye path. Put most important zones, like alerts or top-priority KPIs, into areas marked with (1-2), more detailed information into areas (3-4-5-6) and supplementary info at bottom (7).

In the next part I will speak about managing attention.