One of the gripes I hear most frequently from QlikView users who are moving across to Sense is around creating a table, and how it is much quicker in QlikView. In this blog I share a quick tip for making the creation of tables much easier in Sense.
Quick Table Creation in QlikView
QlikView has some awesome features for profiling new data sources and getting apps built quickly. Even now I will still turn back to QlikView for this purpose, even when building a Sense app for a client. One of the ways you can build something quickly is by creating a new Table Box, multi-selecting fields (even selecting All, if required) adding thse to the table and then sorting in Load Order.
No equivalent feature is available in Sense, and adding fields to a table requires confirmation of each field – choosing whether you wish to add a dimension, replace a dimension or add a measure.
Building a table with many fields in Sense can take a while.
Convert to the Rescue
Something that Sense does have, which can be very useful, is the ability to drag a different chart type over the top of an existing object with the option to then convert that object to that new chart type. It also has an object which it is quick and easy to add fields to – the Filter Pane. If you add a Filter Pane to your document and keep it selected (with the orange border) you can simply go to Fields (or better still Master Dimensions) and double click to add columns to the Filter Pane. Once you have that Filter Pane with the fields in which you want you can simply convert that to a table, and you have the table you want in many fewer clicks.
The approach of using convert also means that you can quickly copy and paste and convert to have both Table and Filter Panes with the same fields. You can then add both of these to your Master Visualisation library for later use. I always have a ‘Mater Filter’ object in every app I create, with the key Dimensions in. Sometimes I will place this in just a couple of squares of the grid – and you get the ellipsis to allow the user to expand to all the main filters for the app. Placing the filter all along the top, or down the side, is also an option.
The Cognitive Engine
If you are running a version of Sense at April 2018 or later (or are using Qlik Cloud) then you have probably noticed the new Assistance mode. Now you can simply double click a field with a blank screen and Qlik’s rule engine will decide the best object to add (usually a filter pane for a dimension or a KPI for a measure). If you add another field, with another double click, then the object will change – now you may get a bar chart or a table. Adding more fields will give you other objects, perhaps a scatter if you have two measures and a dimension or a stacked bar chart if it is two dimensions and a measure. Once you get to the point of having a number of dimensions, or more measures than can be encoded in a chart, then a table will be created.
This makes the need for the workaround above, utilising a filter pane, less necessary. However, I still like it as an approach as I am not quite ready to surrender to the AIs and robots that are coming to replace us.
If you want more information on the Cognitive Engine, this blog post by Mike Tarallo, from just before the April 2018 release has some good information and a video:
If you really want to impress someone with the Cognitive Engine; load in a list of countries and then double click this on the field list to get a map of that data. I’ve done a quick YouTube video to show this in real time. Enjoy:
I have to thank one of my clients, who I was working with when we discovered the Filter Pane approach to building tables. We both realised at the same moment that neither of us would need to spend as long creating a table in Sense again. Thanks, Tris, for letting me share this with the readers of this blog.