Many of you used the Essbase ribbon I built 10+ years ago. I have been asked by many to build a similar ribbon for Smart View. Today I am introducing the Power Adhoc Ribbon. It has all the bells and whistles of the old ribbon completely re-engineered for Smart View. There is a nominal fee, but you can try it for free. Some of the awesome features are summarized below.

The Power Adhoc Ribbon has it’s own website where you can get updates, download the most recent version, and read more about what the options and future enhancements. Head over to the Power Adhoc website for all the details.

  • Refreshing worksheets is the cornerstone of any adhoc reporting. We put refresh on steroids. You can refresh the worksheet or all the worksheets in the workbook, but we added even more. The ribbon has two other options that let you refresh with suppression on or off, without changing your Smart View settings.
  • We know you change your aliases all the time. Now it sits on the ribbon to toggle it on the fly. Change between no aliases and the default aliases whenever you want, quickly and efficiently.
  • The ribbon also includes quick options to change your aliases between default and none. It doesn’t stop there. You can also toggle your formatting between Excel and Cell Styles.
  • Now, all your most commonly edited worksheet settings are on the ribbon, including zoom, suppression, and retention. When you change worksheets, the ribbon automatically updates to reflect the current worksheet settings.
  • What do you do when you want to distribute those workbooks with Smart View functions? Zap will remove all the functions in your worksheet or workbook with the values they return and leave any Excel formulas.
  • How many times have you wanted to duplicate a worksheet and been frustrated because it doesn’t copy your settings and connection? That is now a thing of the past. The worksheet duplicator will copy any worksheet and include the connection and worksheet settings.
  • The Power Adhoc ribbon adds a complete template management vehicle. Commonly used worksheets can be saved in groupings and reused at a later time by opening them right from the ribbon. Group them by application, purpose, or however you want. Templates can be starter adhocs or standard reports. You manage your templates and how they are organized. Your templates can be renamed, reorganized, or removed at any time.
  • Power Options allows you to show/hide the options you want. You no longer need to see the options that aren’t relevant to you.
  • Because you maintain your subscription, we can easily let you know when updates are released.  As soon as any improvements are available, you will be the first to know.
  • Not everything on the ribbon will be new to you. To reduce the need to toggle between ribbons, the most commonly used options from Smart View are included.
  • To reduce the learning curve, every option has a power tooltip that explains its purpose.
  • By having a subscription, you get all the updates and you decide what enhancements are prioritized. If there is an enhancement you need, ask for it.
  • Many operations, like refreshing and submitting, can sometimes take longer than you expect. Just to make sure you can monitor those requests, we notify you how long it took by updating Excel Status Bar.

For years, people have asked me to build a new ribbon to supplement Smart View that replicates the functionality I have in my Essbase Ribbon.  Multiple people have hacked into it and made it their own.  One company is selling it.  For that reason, I had zero interest in doing it again.  Time has passed, and here I am, building a ribbon.  It will again have common functions in one place, as well as some additional ones, like

Read more

There is a new, and often requested, option added to Smart View.  If you use drill through to Data Management (PBCS) or FDMEE (On Prem), download the most recent release of Smart View.  We, as users, now have the option to change where the result of our drill through queries is returned.  Users can either be asked where the result should be displayed, have it displayed in your browser, or (drum roll) have another tab created that holds the results in Excel. Read more


If you use Smart View, you are familiar with the Smart View Shared Connection URL, which is unique to the environment that Smart View connects.  That property is saved in a file on your computer and has the default URL, as well as all the saves URLs in the drop-down list. Read more


If you are a fan of the HSGetValue and HSSetValue, you probably are using a private connection. As you know, anybody that uses the template has to either change the connection string to their own predefined private connection, or set up a private connection with the same name. When dealing with inexperience users, both methods can be problematic.

You may be surprised to know that the Get and Set Value functions can use a shared connection. Read more



If you have ever used custom functions in Excel, depending on the complexity of them, you have probably run into an issue where the accuracy of the results was sporadic. There is a quick solution. Read more


In Hyperion, there is a change in how security is deployed. If you are having an issue deploying Planning security with Essbase adhoc access, and the user can’t

  1. Access Essbase Adhoc
  2. Access FR reports using an Essbase connection
  3. Access Essbase directly

you are not alone. Read more


The newest release of Smart View (Release includes many helpful, long-awaited features sure to both enhance the end-user experience and increase productivity. Many of the new features are examined below while a complete list and their descriptions can be found here.

Ad Hoc Operations in Multiple Cells

Previous versions of Smart View limited users to cell level ad-hoc operations. For example; say you wanted to ‘Zoom In’ on a member, Smart View limited this action to a single cell (single member). The newest version allows users to select a range of cells before performing an action allowing for quicker answers. Multi-cell actions such as Zoom In, Zoom Out, Keep Only and Remove Only are now permitted.   Read more


Working with people new to Essbase every three to six months, I am always looking for ways to show users their hierarchies effectively. Many of them don’t have access to Essbase administration services or EPMA.  So, I always fall back to excel as a distribution method, as well as documentation, to show hierarchies.

Expanding hierarchies to all descendants is a great way to show small hierarchies, but, I am always asked to make it a collapsible hierarchy using the Excel grouping feature. The challenge of doing this manually to a hierarchy with thousands of members is that it is extremely time consuming and very error prone.

The following script can be added to any workbook to automate this effort.

Sub CreateOutline()
    Dim cell As Range
    Dim iCount As Integer
    For Each cell In Selection
        'Check the number of spaces in front of the member name 
        'and divide by 5 (one level)
        iCount = (Len(cell.Value) - Len(Trim(cell.Value))) / 5
        'Only execute if the row is indented
        If iCount <> 0 Then cell.EntireRow.OutlineLevel = iCount
    Next cell
    MsgBox "Completed"
End Sub


First, this sub routine has to be added to a workbook.  Open up the visual basic editor. Right click on the workbook in the project explorer window and add a new module. Paste the code above in the new module.  The editor is in different places in different version.  In Excel 2007 and 2010, the Developer ribbon is not visible by default.  To make it visible, go to the navigator wheel and click Excel Options.  There is a checkbox named Show Developer Ribbon that will make this developer ribbon viewable.

How To Use

First, open the member selection option in the Essbase add-in or smart view and select the parent.  Add all its descendants.  Alternately, change the drill type to all descendants and zoom in on the member of the hierarchy.

Retrieve, or refresh, the data, and make sure the indent is set so the children are indented.  Now, highlight the range of cells that has the hierarchy/dimension that the grouping should be applied. This should include cells in one column of the worksheet.  Open the code editor and place the cursor inside the sub routine you added from above and click the green play triangle in the toolbar to execute the script.  When this is finished, go back to the worksheet with the hierarchy and it will have the hierarchy grouped.

Excel limits the level of groupings to eight. If the hierarchy has more than eight levels, they will be ignored. Now, the hierarchy can be expanded and collapsed for viewing.

Shortcut keys or toolbar buttons can be assigned to execute this function if it is used frequently. If you are interested in doing this, there are a plethora of how-to articles on this topic.  This Google search will get you started if you choose to go down that path.

So, the next time you need to explain a hierarchy in Essbase, or distribute it in a common format, hopefully this script will help.


As an Essbase user, you have more power to improve performance than you think.  How many times do you lock and send data through Excel, SmartView, or web forms, that include zeros?  How many times do you allocate data to a finite level out of convenience?  Understanding what this does to Essbase is critical to understanding how a user can negatively impact performance without adding any value to the analysis or the results the database produces.

I analyzed a planning database used in one of the largest financial institutions in the world.  Over 60% of the values entered were zero.  Another 20% of the values were less than 1 dollar.  By eliminating the zeros, the total calculation time of the planning application was under 20 minutes.  With the zeros, it was nearly 2 hours.

There are two reasons for this.  First, there is a different between empty and zero.  Empty consumes no space to store whereas a zero consumes the same space as 1 billion.  Think of this as a grocery bag.  If you fill a grocery bag with nothing, it takes up no space.  If you fill it with empty cans (a zero), it consumes the same amount of space as if those cans were full (1 billion).

The example below is very common.  Assume that a forecast needs to be done for the last 3 months of the year.  Frequently, a spreadsheet would hold zeros for the first 9 months.  18 cells have zero and 6 cells have a positive value.  That means that 75% of your data could be eliminated by not loading zeros.

The same load with #Missing is more effective.

I highly recommend reading the article explaining dense and sparse to understand what a block is and what it represents before you continue this article.

There is also another very significant factor in loading zeros.  Loading a zero that creates a block just to hold a value of zero can explode the size of the database, as well as the time it takes to consolidate and execute business rules.  The more blocks that have to be loaded and consolidated, the longer it takes to finish.  If each block was a spreadsheet and you had to do this manually, you would have to open each spreadsheet and enter the number into a calculator to consolidate.  If 75% of the blocks you opened were zero, it wouldn’t change your total, but it would drastically increase the time it takes because you still have to open each spreadsheet.   If an Essbase database has 1,000 blocks, and 75% of them only hold zeros, it will likely take 2 or 3 times longer to calc the zeros because it still has to open the block and add the zero.  Remember, a zero acts no differently than a value of 100.

As an example to the above, the following example would create a block for South and West, inflating the database size.


Users can significantly reduce this unnecessary explosion in size by loading a blank as apposed to a zero.  If zeros are already in the database, leaving the cell blank will NOT overwrite the zeros.  If zeros are loaded inadvertently, a #Missing has to be used to remove them.

For all you users loading data, it can be a hassle removing the zeros.  Being responsible can significantly improve your experience with Essbase.  To make it easier, take a look at the function in the In2Hyperion Excel Ribbon that replaces all zeros with #Missing.