I recently ran across an article called Obtaining the perfect Custom Color Scheme in Xcelsius from a blog called SAP ABAP4 Technology. I was hoping to elaborate on the actual blog post but was unable to add my comments, so if the author or anyone catches this post, it would be nice to place a link there…

The article addresses only half of the functionality available with custom color schemes. Within the color manager, there is an “Advanced” button that empowers you with more detailed control over specific component colors. If you spend time browsing the advanced section you can quickly modify all components within your dashboard by component category rather than using the basic color scheme adjustments.

The basic color scheme adjustment mode was thoughtfully implemented to affect over 1000 color dependencies using 10 base colors. The problem is that the Xcelsius user interface does not indicate what each of the 10 colors does. You can go to the advanced tab to see the relationships, or I have provided key below:

  1. Text
  2. Button color, chart backgrounds, component backgrounds, maps, scrollbars
  3. Canvas Background, Axis colors
  4. Background Components, Gridlines, Selector Mouse Over
  5. Chart Series 1 color
  6. Chart Series 2 color
  7. Chart Series 3 color
  8. Chart Series 4 color
  9. Chart Series 5 color
  10. Misc. Colors like selector gridlines and disabled items

In the beginning of the article, the author eludes to design principles aligned with Stephen Few’s book. Unfortunately the example charts, while used to illustrate technical shortcomings, do not accurately portray real life use cases.

Quote: “Unfortunately, there is no way (that I know of) to default colors 6-10 to show up as something else. To modify these, you must go into the properties of the chart and manually adjust the color under the appearance tab.”

The pie chart, specifically in this example would not be an appropriate visualization with 6-10 pie slices. Trying to extract accurate analysis of relative pie slice sizes is extremely difficult and better accomplished with a bar/column chart. From a technical standpoint, Xcelsius can does provide control of up to 12 series colors using the Advanced tab.

There are some very important points here that Xcelsius should address. The most important shortcoming of the custom color scheme window is the inability to export and share color schemes. This is something that the article did cover well.

Hopefully this helps set the record straight with this feature set in Xcelsius.


Author ryan@goodmangroupllc.com

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