Dynamic Xcelsius Chart Color


During my webinar last week Xtreme Makeover, I showed a demo dashboard where a user could drill down from a pie chart down to a bar graph and pass the color from the selected slice to the chart below. This is a simple technique for creating consistency with color, which facilitates intuitive analysis; if it were only as simple to setup in Xcelsius… In essence, I am using chart alerts to dynamically change the color for a single series chart. This method will only work with bar and column charts.

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Inside of my spreadsheet I associate a multiplier for each product line (1,2,3…). When I enable the pie chart drill down feature, I include this multiplier in my source data and data insertion range.

Directly under the insertion range where we link the bar chart’s data, I perform a simple calculation using the multiplier (=[value]/[target multiplier]). These rows highlighted in green within the spreadsheet are the bar chart alert targets.

Inside of the bar chart’s alerts tab, I color coded alert levels for each value in my pie chart.

With everything hooked up, you get a nice effect as someone clicks on the pie chart. What would be a better solution?…Having an ability to bind colors to the spreadsheet… As a user community you should definitely request this functionality on the BOBJ support and forum sites. With an ability to bind colors in the spreadsheet, you could enable this functionality for all components within Xcelsius, and in turn facilitate better analysis for end users.



  1. It seems for this technique to work you need to know the category names at design time.

    Will it work if the category names are not known at design time? Say you’re showing the top 5 items.


  2. Hi Ryan!

    I’d like to set alerts the way you showed, i.e. to change a color each time i select different slice of the pie. However i need to have in red the bars showing negative values, no matter what product it is. I put the alert conditions the following way:
    1. Minimum – 0% for the negative
    2. 0% – 101%
    3. 101%…
    the approach doesn’t work. As a result i see the negative color for the products with the threshold higher than 101%, while for the 0%-101% color doesn’t change.

    What would you suggest?

    Many thanks in advance!

  3. Hi Mike,

    Try posting this on the SDN forums at SDN.SAP.COM.

    As for your question, it is not possible to set alerts in Xcelsius for a Pie Chart component. That renders this technique impossible for that item. Bothersome, no?


  4. Excellent Tutorial…

    I have a very similar requirement. I’d like to change the pie chart slice color based on alerts. This may seem strange since many of the slices may wind up the same color, but we’re going to use multiple overlayed pie charts to produce a “donut” chart.

    Any thoughts?

  5. Thank you for your comments. With the PIE chart it does not make sense using alert colors. I would recommend using a bar or column chart if the intent is to chart values while indicating color-based alerts. This example was intended for scenarios where you want to assign a color to a dimension value. In this case you really need to do this assignment for dimensions that don’t change often so you can hardcode them.

  6. Is there a way to explicitly display values on a pie chart? or any chart for that matter.
    Instead of the user hovering over the pie to get the values, is it possible to show em there!?

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