Categories, variables and formulas

Breakdown a variable by categories

Hover over a variable and click on the Categories button to add a category breakdown to a variable.

If the variable already has a category breakdown, it will be coming from its connected data item/s (if the category exists in the data), or from its formula (if the formula refers to a variable that has the category).

You can also create new variables when viewing a category in the bottom-panel of the spreadsheet (once you open the category from the left-hand sidebar). Click on the + in the far-right column, and create a new categorical variable by choosing its format from the drop-down (e.g. Currency, %).

Category breakdowns & variable formulas

When a variable is broken down by a category, and you set a formula at the top (aggregate) row, it will be automatically applied in the same way across all category items. This is powerful as it means you only have to set the formula once (less duplication, less errors!).

where the formula is set at the top row (aggregate) level, the category item rows inherit the formula

If however, you wish to set a different formula/value for certain category items, simply edit the formula for that particular row/cell. These edits will show up as an Override, and you can easily reset the override (back to the default formula), by hitting "Reset override ↩️" or "Reset row ↩️".

If you do not have a top (aggregate) row formula/value, then you have no "default", so different formulas/values for category item rows/cells are not considered Overrides.

Re-ordering categories on a variable

You can easily drag to reorder the category breakdown on a variable. For example, if you have a variable broken down by Department and then Region, you can swap the order around so it is Region and then Department instead. This will not change any calculations, it will just change the category ordering that you see when you expand the variable.

Variable modifiers: Categories

Category modifiers allow you to slice & dice variables within formulas, using the related Categories and Category items. You can:

  • Group by linked categories
  • Filter by category items
  • Aggregate away categories

For a deep-dive, see: Category modifiers.

Referencing category items within formulas

You can use your model's categories and category items in formulas.

  • You can access the number of category items by clicking on the three dots and selecting Size:

  • You can also use categories in if-statements (use this to dynamically define a variable's categorical values without requiring a formula for each category item)

Sorting and Filtering Categories in the bottom panel

You can also dynamically filter and sort categories in the bottom panel (after opening the category from the left-hand panel). You can sort either by clicking Sort/Filter, or from the column header directly. If you sort the category items, you have the option to save the order, in which case it is applied to any variables in the models that have that category applied.

Sorting by category item value on a variable

You can also sort by category item value on a variable in the spreadsheet. For instance, if you have Spend broken down by Vendor, you can quickly sort the Spend variable so the breakdown is from biggest to smallest vendor.

Choose to sort based off the values for the Entire Model Period, or just the Last Actual Date, and choose Descending/Ascending order (Descending is the default - biggest at the top!).

Find this setting in the "More Options" menu on a variable, or ⌘/ctrl + 4. To remove the sort just hit the 'x' next to Entire Model Period / Last Actual Date.