Telling effective and engaging stories with data isn’t always easy. Story templates in SAP Analytic Cloud can help you to create right story layout for specific purpose (monitoring, reporting, presentation). There is an official SAP blog about templates in SAP Analytic Cloud, but it is mainly about different layouts to be used from the end user perspective. I would like to write about SAP Analytic Cloud templates in wider context.
Below post is created based on SAP Analytic Cloud Version 2020.12 – in the future some functionalities can look different.
Story templates from administration point of view
In Story template you can store not only the layout (chart / widget location on the page) but also formatting (default color palate, default fonts, borders setting for charts) for existing elements and for new element added to Story later. This can be very important if you think about SAP Analytic Cloud as a global reporting system – you want to ensure that all your productive Stories will follow proper branding, will use your corporate font, color palette and will include proper logo. It is a pity that those settings can’t be set globally by system administrator, for the whole SAP Analytic Cloud tenant, but fortunately it can be maintained with help of templates. You can create default template with your organization branding and ask SAP Analytic Cloud users to always start from this template.
To create a template, you just need to save a story as a template.
If you want to save a template with your corporate fonts and color palette, go to Preference before you save the template and customize story background, chart color palettes, fonts and all other visual preferences.
Types of Story templates
In SAC there are two main type of templates – Custom (user) Templates and Global Templates. They are exactly the same in terms of functionality, the difference is where they are stored and how they are visible for the user.
Custom Templates (user templates)
Custom templates are personal templates. Each SAC user (with rights to save the template) can create his template by saving the story as a template in the personal folder. Then it will be visible in Custom Templates area only for this user.
If the User save template in Public folder, it will be visible for all users in Custom Templates area.
SAP Analytics Templates (Global Templates)
SAP Analytics Templates are global – visible for all SAC users. Global templates are maintained only by administrators (rights to use default Sample folder).
To add template to SAP Analytics Templates group, the template must be stored in Samples folder.
As mentioned before, SAC template is not only about layout. Following options can be also stored with the template:
We can define colors & formatting for the story:
- Page / Lane Background
- Default chart formatting (background, color palette, font, border)
- Default table setting
- Default texts and header formatting
- Input Controls styling.
Just change the story preferences and then save the template: all settings will be included in the template (and in the story created
Page elements – charts, widgets, input controls – by default are stored in the template. They are just placeholders, you need to define measures and dimensions for each of them (but they keep the formatting and settings).
Images and texts
You can replace static image by a placeholder
It is possible to select which Story pages will be included in the template.
How to use templates
There are three options to use existing template.
- When new Story is created, you can choose the template from the initial screen (you can select from both: custom templates and SAP Analytics templates).
- For existing story, user can change template by using Layouts option – go to Edit mode, select More – Layouts and select your layout.Using this option do not set template preferences (color palletes, fonts).
- Another option is to browse for template file – user can locate the template file, double click it and then new Story will be created out of the template. It can be used for Custom Templates, but not for global templates as users cannot access Samples folder.
I wish and summary
It is not possible to set a default global template – not a big deal from the end user perspective who doesn’t want to be limited, but it can be a challenge from the SAP Analytic Cloud administrator or IT platform owner. If you want to keep all stories created by users similar in therms of colors, fonts and borders, it is not an easy task. You need to ask users to always start Story from the template, where you defined your corporate colors and other settings. I hope this will change in the future. Default SAP colors and fonts are well designed, but in general corporate colors are also well designed and should be reused (consistency!).
Overall using templates – personal and global – seems to be a good idea. Using different layouts, you can quickly adapt your story for particular purpose. Using preferences, you can make your Story looks professional & compatible with corporate standards.