Creating Your First Story

Follow this guide to get started creating your first story.

What Is a Story?

Stories are at the center of the SAP Analytics Cloud experience. They let you explore data interactively to find insights, visualize information with charts and tables, and share, present, and comment on your findings with colleagues. Before you get started, it's helpful to know a few basic things.

Stories have two main views:
  • A Data view where you can explore data in real-time, with dynamic visualizations changing on-the-fly.

  • A Story view where you can design beautiful, interactive dashboards for yourself or others.

    You can create new pages and add items such as charts, tables, and other graphics that visualize your data. Items on a page, such as a bar chart, are arranged as tiles that you can move around, resize, and style to your liking.

Switch between Data view and Story view in the toolbar

What are models, datasets, dimensions, and measures?

Whichever view of a story you are using, the key to the underlying data lies in the measures and dimensions defined in the story's model or dataset. Measures represent quantities that provide meaning to your data. For example, sales revenue, salary, or number of employees. Dimensions represent categories that provide perspective on your data. For example, product category, date, or location. Together, they are the framework for viewing data in interesting ways, whether it be a trend line of revenue over time, or a comparison of gross margin across different regions.

Dimensions contain attributes – think of them as columns in a dimension table. For example, a product dimension's attributes could include an ID and description.

There is an underlying model or dataset for every story, which defines the dimensions, measures, and other relationships in your data, such as hierarchies or currency conversions.

Looking for a deeper dive on models? Check out our getting started guide to Building Your First Model.

Or are you more interested in datasets? If so, see Datasets.

Now that you know a bit about stories, models, and datasets, let's get started!

Import and Set up Your Data

With SAP Analytics Cloud, you can bring in data from a wide variety of cloud-based and local data sources. For this guide, let's use a simple CSV file containing revenue and expenses for a set of products in a fictional company.

Download the CSV file here to follow along (unzip to find and then unzip again).

Let's begin from the Home screen and import the sample data.

Import your data

  1. From the () Main Menu, select Home.

  2. From your computer, drag your file over to the Home screen in SAP Analytics Cloud. Release it on the Prepare Model option when the pop-up appears.

    • I'm Feeling Lucky automatically maps the column data to measures or dimensions, and dives right into the Data Exploration mode (). You can always change this model.

    After the data is loaded into a model, you'll see the Data Manipulation view in your newly created story. Your column data has automatically been mapped to measures and dimensions. In our sample data, the column Value should be a measure, identified by the icon , and the other columns should be set to dimensions identified with the icon. Let's make some changes.

  3. Change the TimeMonth column from a generic dimension to a date:

    Select the TimeMonth column heading to highlight it, and then in the Details panel on the right select the Type drop-down list and choose Date.

    Now select the Enable date drill down checkbox to create a date hierarchy. This allows you to view your data in a time-series chart.

  4. Define description columns as attributes of related ID dimensions:

    In our sample data, most other columns are pairs of ID and description columns. For example, there are ProductsId and ProductsDescription columns. You can define the description columns as a description of their ID dimension, rather than as a separate dimension.

    Select the ProductsId column heading to highlight it, and then in the Details panel on the right select Start of the navigation path Add Dimension Attributes Next navigation step  DescriptionEnd of the navigation path. Choose ProductsDescription from the drop-down list.

    Note that the icon next to the ProductDescription column has changed to indicate it is no longer a dimension. Repeat these steps for AccountID/AccountDescription, RegionId/RegionDescription, CurrencyId/CurrencyDescription, and ChannelId/ChannelDescription.

  5. Choose on the Details panel to switch to an overview of the data as a whole. Review the Model Requirements section to confirm that mapping is complete and that no data quality issues are detected.

    The Details panel also shows how many rows of data are being imported
  6. Save your changes by selecting Start of the navigation path Next navigation step SaveEnd of the navigation path to generate the model in the story with your data.

Now that the model is saved and your data imported, let's start exploring your data.

Explore Your Data

Select (Data Exploration) from the Mode section of the toolbar.

In the Data view, charts are auto-suggested as you select and deselect measures and dimensions:

  1. Select Show Dimensions in the facet panel and choose AccountId, ProductsId, RegionId, and TimeMonth.

  2. Select the Value measure and REVENUE from the AccountId dimension.

    A numeric point chart is displayed showing the sum of all revenue values
  3. Now select the ProductsId dimension.

    The visualization switches to a bar chart dividing revenue by product
  4. In the Display section of the toolbar, you can show or hide dimensions from the (Show or Hide) menu. Select CurrencyId to show this dimension and de-select TimeMonth and RegionId to hide them.

  5. Now select CurrencyId in the facet panel to change the suggested chart again.

    The bar chart now shows the revenue by currency

If you don't like the chart that is suggested, you can manually select the chart type instead:

Try it for yourself! The Data view allows you to explore insights into your data at your own pace.

Create a New Story Page

The Data view is a good way to get quick insights into your data, but SAP Analytics Cloud provides a robust designer where you can build more permanent pages with visualizations and other interactive elements. To get started, select Start of the navigation path Next navigation step Copy to Page 1End of the navigation path to copy your existing chart on the Data view to the first page of your story. Your view automatically switches to the Story view:

Let's add a table to the page that shows revenue breakdown over time.

  1. From the Insert section of the toolbar, select (Table).

    A table tile is added to the canvas that uses the sample data from your model. You can add additional rows and columns to populate the table.

  2. Ensure the tile is selected on the canvas, and add measures and dimensions from the Builder panel:
    • Under Start of the navigation pathTable Structure Next navigation step RowsEnd of the navigation path, select + Add Measures/Dimensions and choose AccountId.

    • Under Start of the navigation pathTable Structure Next navigation step ColumnsEnd of the navigation path, select + Add Measures/Dimensions and choose TimeMonth and VersionCategory.

    With the added data, the default tile size is probably too small to see all rows and columns clearly.
  3. Resize it by selecting a corner of the tile and dragging to make it larger.


    You can also reposition tiles by grabbing an edge and moving the tile around the canvas. Surrounding tiles on the page auto-arrange as needed.

The table now shows actuals and forecast values for the individual accounts. Select the arrow next to (all) to expand the TimeMonth dimension that was set up as a hierarchy earlier to see a more detailed breakdown by year, quarter, or month.

Change Styling and Apply Filters

The Canvas provides a variety of tools that let you control how the charts on your page behave and are displayed. Let's try a couple of these out.

Add a Chart Filter

Filters let you focus on a specific set of data. You can apply filters to an entire story, a single page, or a specific chart on a page. Let's add a currency filter that restricts the data for the entire story to show only US dollars.

  1. Select (Story Filter/Prompt) from the Tools section of the toolbar.

    A filter bar appears under the toolbar.

  2. Select (Add Story Filter/Prompt) and choose Start of the navigation pathDimensions Next navigation step CurrencyIdEnd of the navigation path from the drop-down list.

    For Trial users, the CurrencyId is directly accessible from the drop-down list.
  3. Select US Dollar and then OK.

    A dialog will appear allowing you to set a filter on this dimension.

Both the chart and table in the story should refresh automatically to show only US dollar values. The new filter is visible in the filter bar.

Apply a Style Template

The Styling panel on the Canvas allows you to change the fonts, colors, and other styling attributes of tiles on your page. You can also make use of pre-configured style templates. Let's apply a Report-Styling template to the table and give it a different look.

  1. Select the table tile on the page so it is highlighted.

  2. From the Designer panel, select (Styling) to switch from the Builder panel to the Styling panel.

  3. In the Table Properties area, select Report-Styling from the Templates drop-down list. Choose OK when prompted by the dialog.

You can also change individual fonts and other styling options.

Save Your Story and Share with Others

Now that you've created your story, select (Save) to save your changes.

Share Your Story

Trial users won't have other team members to share with. Skip ahead to Pin to Your Home Screen.
Why not show what you've created to others? To share a story:
  1. From the toolbar, select Start of the navigation path Next navigation step  ShareEnd of the navigation path.
  2. In the Share Story dialog, select (Add usernames or teams) and select a colleague's username.
  3. Set the Access value to Read and choose Send.

When your colleague logs on to SAP Analytics Cloud, they will see a notification containing a link to open your story and see what you've done.

Pin to Your Home Screen

You can also pin individual story tiles to your Home screen. Pin different story tiles to create a dashboard of important charts and other visualizations that you can view immediately after signing into SAP Analytics Cloud.

  1. Select the chart tile on the page so it is highlighted.

  2. On the tile, select Start of the navigation path Next navigation step  Pin to HomeEnd of the navigation path.

Go to the Home screen and you'll see the chart. You can resize and reposition the chart on the Home screen as you would on the story Canvas.

Additional Help Resources

Congratulations! You've created your first story. Now what? Looking for a deeper dive on models? Check out our getting started guide to Building Your First Model.