The Power of… Yellow?

There have been a number of articles recently about the significance of colour within the QlikView universe [see Green is the Colour].  The branding and strong message of selection of the Green, the association of the items shown in White and the valuable otherwise hidden insights that can be found in the Grey.  These three colours are part of what makes the QlikView user experience so engaging and easy to pick up.

However, there is another colour in QlikView’s palette that can also aid in providing an insight, and that is Yellow.

The feature that unlocks this extra dimension can be found on the General tab on the List Box properties, and it is simply called Show Alternatives.  To illustrate its use I would like to show where I find it particularly useful.

Perhaps unsurprisingly, I run my business on QlikView.  Chargeable items are loaded in and have an invoice number of pending assigned to them.  When I come to a billing run I select the pending items and decide who I am going to bill next.

Select Pending

From a couple of charts in the document I can see who has the largest amount unbilled or who has the earliest billing event attached to them.  A click on the chart selects that client, ready to be billed.

Customer Selected

What is then really useful for me to know is which invoice template to use – whilst I try and keep them consistent there are clients who have specific requirements around where the PO number appears, or who in accounts the invoice must be addressed to.  Knowing the previous invoice number for the client is just what is called for – and this can be simply done without adding any more objects to the screen.

Simply by ticking Show Alternatives on the General properties tab; any items that would be on the associated list for that list-box (were it not for the Pending selection) are shown in Yellow.

Show Alternatives

The Power of Yellow

Now you will see all previous invoices for that selected client are highlighted in Yellow, making it easy to see that I need the template of invoice 000167 to create my next invoice.  You may have noticed in the previous image that QlikView had already elevated associated numbers to nearer the top of the list-box, but it is the use of colour that again makes insight with QlikView so immediate.

Now that you know how to use this feature, the question remains as to whether you should.

The first thing you show anyone who is new to QlikView is the simplicity of Green, White and Grey.  Is this added dimension not actually clouding the simplicity?  Perhaps.  It is not a feature I have used on anyone’s apps apart from ones I use myself – for just that reason.  I still happen to think it is a pretty neat feature though.

For an example of Show Alternatives in action please see the shared QlikView at

I would welcome your thoughts on this below.

By |2019-03-19T12:53:48+00:00May 24th, 2012|QlikView Tutorial|6 Comments

About the Author:

Steve is owner and principal consultant at Quick Intelligence. He is a Qlik Luminary, Qlik Community MVP and Technical Editor of a number of QlikView Books.


  1. DV May 30, 2012 at 10:15 pm - Reply

    Good one Steve. I have learnt something new. Cheers.

  2. JF July 14, 2012 at 12:54 am - Reply

    So how is this different from simply the white? In your example can you explain how your data is structured. When I try to model to understand yellow =white. Thanks

  3. Steve Dark July 14, 2012 at 7:50 am - Reply

    Hi JF, the yellow shows even when the ‘Pending’ invoice number is selected – this would obviously normally render the other invoice numbers grey. This allows me to look at the values associated with the pending invoice – whilst still being able to see at a glance which other invoices have been raised for that client.

    I have produced a small sample app which I have uploaded to the Shared QlikViews area on QlikCommunity. I will post a link here when it has been moderated – or if you want it sooner please drop me a note via the contact form and I shall email it to you.

  4. Henric Cronström August 10, 2012 at 8:20 pm - Reply

    Yes, by all means, turn “Show Alternatives” on! I also love this feature and use it all the time.

    Does it cloud the simplicity? For the first thirty minutes you use QlikView, I think it does. But after that? No, at this stage the user usually gets annoyed that everything else turns grey in the fields where you have selections.

    Some color schemes show the Alternatives white, and that’s OK also. There is usually no confusion.

    And on the question on the difference between Alternative values and Optional values: Optional values are included in all calculations, whereas Alternative values are not. The latter are excluded by a selection in the same field.

    So keep on showing the Alternatives!


    • Steve Dark August 10, 2012 at 9:45 pm - Reply

      Thanks for your thoughts on this Henric. They are particularly valued as you probably know QlikView better than anybody.

Leave A Comment

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.