The Causal interface
The Time Settings let you define when your model starts and ends, and the granularity of your model.
The granularity can be daily, weekly, monthly, quarterly, or yearly. Monthly is almost always what you want.
The Charts button lets you create a visual (table, chart etc). You can also Hide/Show the Charts pane on the right, as well as resize it.
The Models button allows you to link models together, as well as import variables and visuals from other models. You can think of a model in Causal kind of like a tab in a spreadsheet, and the group of linked models as an entire spreadsheet/workbook. The key difference is that you can set different permissions on each model, despite them being linked
The Scenarios button allows you to create new scenarios, toggle between existing scenarios, rename and delete scenarios.
The Comments button shows you all existing unresolved comments on cells in the current model. See Comments & Descriptions for more.
Version history shows you a list of previous snapshots of your model, and allows you to roll-back, preview, delete, create, and rename versions.
The Workspace buttons allows you to toggle between the spreadsheet and charts workspaces. You'll probably be spending most of your time in the spreadsheet view, and use the charts workspace to create, edit and view charts.
You can keep your model completely private, or can invite others to view/edit the model, or just a part of your model (a View).
Presentation mode is a nice way for others to view and interact with your model dashboard, without the risk of editing/seeing anything in the underlying spreadsheet.
The settings modal houses more advanced settings and options.
Each row represents a variable, or a category item of a variable.
If a variable has category items, click the arrow to expand the row into its constituent category item rows.
The first column identifies the row. It includes some easily accessible variable settings — categories, data, more. Right-click on the variable name to access all remaining variable settings.
The second column summarises the variable's Formula. If a variable doesn't change over time, the column shows its value. If a variable changes over time, the column shows a sparkline.
If you hover over the Formula column, you will be able to preview the variable's formula, and if you hit enter/F2, or click the pencil icon, you can edit/set the formula.
The formula column sets the formula for all timesteps by default. If you want to set a different formula/value for a particular timestep, just go to that timestep's column and edit/set the formula there.
If you have an existing variable whose formula/value varies over time, you can use the Formula column to override the formula/value for all timesteps in one go.
Easily add rollup columns to your spreadsheet (e.g. to see how your monthly model rolls up into quarters/years), by heading to the three dots at the top-right of your spreadsheet, toggling them on, and selecting the rollup granularity (e.g. Quarter).
Note: Rollup columns are not editable. Causal uses the Time Aggregation setting of each variable to determine how it is rolled up (e.g. from months into years). The default is Sum, but you can click on a rollup cell to easily edit the time aggregation setting for each variable.
The Data Tables section down the bottom of the spreadsheet is where any Categories and Data Sources linked to variables in the model will show. Each Category and Data Source shows up as its own 'tab' that you can click into. You can also dynamically filter & sort the tables.
To open the variable inspector, select a variable and press i, or select "Inspect" from the context menu.
You can also see a variable's precedents or dependents by selecting the variable and looking at the arrows. Green arrows point to the precedents, and yellow arrows point to dependents. You can toggle between the two by pressing option on your keyboard.
To quickly search for variables within a model, simply hit Cmd/Ctrl+F (or navigate to "Search Variables" top-left of the spreadsheet), and start typing the variable name. If there is more than one variable that meets your search term you can toggle between them by hitting enter or clicking the arrows. Clear the filter by hitting the 'x'.
If you select multiple cells in the spreadsheet, Causal will provide you with the Sum, Average, Min, Max, and Count of those selected cells.