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Adding Descriptions for Perspectives in Tabular

Perspectives are great way to improve the experience for users as well as developers. However, there’s a point where having too many perspectives can become a bit confusing for the typical end user. How do they determine which perspective to connect to for their self-service analysis?

One option – that I’m a big fan of – is adding informative descriptions to perspectives that provide context as to the purpose of the perspective and types of analysis that can be done (e.g. customer segmentation analysis).

Adding descriptions for perspectives in multidimensional cubes is very straight forward. Just select the perspective and add the text to the description field in the properties window…

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…which is then displayed to the user when connecting from reporting tools such as Excel…

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…or Power BI…

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Problem

Unfortunately, in Tabular projects, there’s no direct way to add a description for perspectives – not even with BIDS Helper.

In Tabular projects, there is a (modal) popup window for managing perspectives…

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Clicking around in the perspectives window doesn’t affect the properties window.

So how do you add descriptions to perspectives in Tabular models?

Solution

The solution is to manually update the XML code in the Model.bim file. It’s not elegant, but it works.

To access the XML code of the Model.bim file, just right-click the file in the Solution Explorer window and select “View Code”. This will open the Model.bim file – exposing the XML like the image below. Then you can navigate to the Perspectives section and manually add a description attribute to your perspectives.

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In the image above, I added the line starting with the highlighted <description tag> …

<Description> blah blah blah </Description>

Now, when users connect to the model in tools like Excel, they’ll see the description…

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3 thoughts on “Adding Descriptions for Perspectives in Tabular

  1. Stefan Vogt says:

    Thanks a lot for the great tip! But don’t forget: After having inserted the tag and saved the changes to the model file, you need to double click on the model to reopen/reload it. Otherwise a deploy would fail.

    1. Bill says:

      Hi Stefan, yes good point…can’t even tell you how many times I’ve run into that issue.

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