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In this blog post, I will demonstrate how to enhance the user experience of F4 help in SAC planning page filters by leveraging “cascading effect” functionality and linking the page filters inside the unified story.  The solution particularly focuses on using the dimension properties to display only relevant members in page filter’s F4 help. It’s worth noting that the blog doesn’t re-invent the wheel but rather demonstrates how we can effectively amalgamate the cascading effect functionality and the linked input controls to achieve this very common planning requirement. You can find more information about the cascading effect here.

Business Scenario

Cost centre dimension is a crucial dimension in a typical OPEX planning design. It has company code and profit centre as properties. Our OPEX input template includes company code, profit centre and cost centre as page filters. Our challenge is that the users need to see only relevant cost centres upon selecting company code and profit centre by using the property link.

While selecting only the cost centre and deriving company code and profit centre through SAC validation rules behind the scenes partially fulfils the requirement, it doesn't cover all scenarios. Users may need to drill down to only profit centre granularity while excluding cost centre, or they might need specific levels within the cost centre hierarchy. We also want to standardize all the input templates where profit centre and company code are key security dimensions. Therefore, keeping the flexibility to plan by company code or by profit centre dimensions in the input templates is the preferred option.

Solution Details:

Assuming we have the dimensions, properties, model, and the input template with page filters in place, the following additional steps are required:

1- Link the page filters to apply the cascading effect only between the required dimensions.

2- Create a data action to generate the dummy records for the linked dimensions.

Step 1: Linking page filters

  • Open the story in edit mode. Go to the right-side panel under view tab.

  • Select the input control to be linked. In our case, it is cost centre.

  • On the same panel, select “only selected input control” option and click “select input control”.

  • Select the input controls affecting the cost centre selection. In this instance they are company code and profit centre.

  • Observe that the cascading effect is enabled for the linked input control.

  • You can also observe that the link is now visible in “linked widget diagram”. You can access it under tools tab and by selecting “Linked Widget Diagram”.

You can find more information about linked widget diagrams here.


Step 2 Creating the Data Action:

The data action ensures that the dummy transactional records between cost centre and company code / profit centre are generated in advance. This enables the proper functioning of the cascading effect  between the linked input controls.

It is recommended to schedule this data action right after cost centre master data is extracted so that even the newly created cost centres become visible in the input template when the right profit centre and company code combinations selected.

To create an advanced formula, go to data actions from the main menu and add an advanced formula step. Please see more about advanced formulas here.

Use the below script. In this case, our data action will generate records for all cost centres and populate the profit centre and company code dimensions based on the cost centre master data properties.

To avoid creating unnecessary records, you can simply hardcode all the unlinked / off topic dimensions as “#”. Therefore, in this scenario the expected number of records generated is simply just “the total number of cost centres”. So, we don’t have to generate records for each dimension combination but rather only the ones we linked inside the stories.

Test the page filter behaviour.

Now, let’s test if the solution works as expected.

See the master data for our tests cost centre as below:

Before running the data action, neither profit centre nor company code will be selectable due to the absence of transactional data for the profit centre and company code in the model.

Upon selecting "show inactive values," these become visible but still not selectable due to the nature of “cascading effect” functionality.


After running the data action, test profit centres and company codes should be available to choose, reflecting the expected outcome in the cost centre filter.

We simply run the data action for actual version ( doesn’t matter which version we use ).

It generates 863 records in our case which is equal to the number of cost centres in the master data.

This time, we see our test comp code and profit centres as active for selection.

After we apply above selections, we only see our test cost centre as expected.

Please note that the hierarchical view of the cost centre is still available. So we not only see TEST CC but also its parent nodes as desired.

Now if I select all company codes and profit centres, I started to see other nodes in cost centre selection as expected.

Key points to consider:

  • Although cascading effect option is available, “linking filters” is currently not available in story filters. Therefore, we used the cascading effect only for the linked page filters. Please keep in mind that this might have an impact on the performance of the stories depending on the story design since the story filters are not utilized in this example.

  • Simply enabling cascading effect without linking page filters (given in step 1) wouldn’t work since in this case SAC considers the available transactional data based on all dimension combinations but not the combinations between the linked dimensions. For example, you would have to generate the combinations by “time” and “version” as well if you go with only cascading effect option which would end up with millions of unnecessary records depending on the data model complexity. Here in this sample, the number of records is acceptable.

  • Real life scenarios might be more complex e.g. what if a cost centre’s profit centre changes over time? Then we must adjust the transactional data generated. Therefore, it is recommended to keep “system generated” combination records in a separate audit trail to clear / update those records based upon request e.g. clear in step 1 and then update in step 2 every time might be an option inside the data action.

  • It is recommended to schedule the data action upon extracting cost centre master data from source system as mentioned above. Now, it is also possible to add master data extraction step into a data action and schedule it with one of the recent quarterly updates in SAC therefore you can even link this data action with the master data step sequentially through multi actions.


This blog post has explored a practical solution to enhance page filters in SAP Analytics Cloud (SAC) Planning using interactive F4 help. By leveraging the "cascading effect" functionality in combination with “linked input controls”, we've effectively addressed the common challenge of displaying only relevant members in F4 help in planning projects.

This approach improves the user experience and the data visibility within planning templates. By using the standard unified story functionalities and creating a simple custom data action to generate necessary records, users can interact with page filters in a more intuitive and relevant way.

Thanks vijayadhayalan  for your contributions in this blog post.

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