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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).
What if I want to remove the category breakdown?
  • You can remove the category breakdown by hitting the '-' next to the category after clicking on the Categories button. However, if the category is coming from data, or from the formula, follow the steps below:
You can also create new variables when viewing a category in the bottom-panel of the spreadsheet. 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.
Overrides FAQ
  • What if I have 2+ categories on a variable (e.g. Country and then Product), and then override for one of the Countries (e.g. New Zealand).
    • All the Products under New Zealand will now take their formula from the override for New Zealand (not the top-level / aggregate row of the variable).
  • How do I override an entire category item row?
    • Either edit the formula in the formula column (which sets the formula for all months / time steps), or override a cell and then drag/fill-right that formula to all other cells in the row.
  • Are different formulas/values in specific time step columns of the top-level / aggregate row of the variable considered overrides?
    • No, this just serves as a different formula for that time step.
  • Can you override data?

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.
Note that we use the Time Aggregation setting to determine how values are summed up for the Entire Model Period. The default is Sum, but if you've set a Time Aggregation setting of Final, for example, we will sort using only use the Final value in the Entire Model Period.