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.