December 6, 2011

Types of attributes in SAP BW

In SAP BW, we have three types attributes they are

1) Display/Exclusive Attributes
2) Navigational Attribute
3) Transitive Attribute.

Attributes are Info Objects that exist already, and that are assigned logically to the new characteristic

Navigational Attributes: 
A Navigational Attribute is any attribute of a Characteristic which is treated in very similar way as we treat as Characteristic while Query Designer. Means one can perform drilldowns, filters etc on the same while Query designing.

Imp Note:
1)While Creating the Info Object -->Attributes Tab Page -->Nav. Attributes to be switched on .
2)While Designing the Cube, we need to Check mark for the Nav. Attributes to make use of them.

Features / Advantages
1)Navigational Attributes acts like a Characteristic while Reporting. All navigation functions in the OLAP processor are also possible
2)Filters, Drilldowns, Variables are possible while reporting.
3)It always hold the Present Data .
4)Historic Data is not possible through Nav. Attributes.
5)As the data is fetching from Master Data Tables and Not from Info Cube.

1)Leads to less Query Performance.
2)In the enhanced star schema of an InfoCube, navigation attributes lie one join further out than characteristics. This means that a query with a navigation attribute has to run an additional join
3)If a navigation attribute is used in an aggregate, the aggregate has to be adjusted using a change run as soon as new values are loaded for the navigation attribute.

For more reference, check the below link

Transitive Attributes
A Navigational attribute of a Navigational Attributes is called Transitive Attribute.
If a Navigational Attribute has the further more Navigational Attributes ( as its Attributes ) in it those are called Transitive Attributes .

Example: Consider there is a characteristic ‘Material’ .It has ‘Plant’ as its navigational attribute. ‘Plant’ further has a navigational attribute ‘Material group’. Thus ‘Material group’ is the transitive attribute. A drilldown is needed on both ‘Plant’ and ‘Material group’.
And again we need to have both Material & Plant in your Info Cube to Drill down. (To fetch the data through Nav. Attributes. We need Master Data tables hence, we need to check mark/select both of them in the Cube)

For more reference, check the below link 

If Cube contains both ‘Material’ and ‘Plant’
Dimension table having both ‘Material’ and ‘Plant’ will have DIM ID, SID of Material, and SID of Plant. Since both the SID’s exists reference of each navigational attribute is made correctly.

If Cube contains only 'Material’
Dimension table having only ‘Material’ will have DIM ID, SID of Material. Since SID for first level navigational attribute (Plant) does not exists, reference to navigational attribute is not made correctly.

Exclusive Attributes / Attributes Only/ Display Attribute: If you set the Attribute Only Indicator (General tab page for Chars / Additional Properties tab page for Key Figs) for Characteristic while creating, it can only be used as Display Attribute for another Characteristic and not as a Nav. Attribute.

1)And it cannot be included in Info Cubes
2)It can be used in DSO, Info set and Char as Info Providers. In this Info Provider, the characteristic is not visible during read access (at run time)
3)This means, it is not available in the query. If the Info Provider is being used as source of Transformation or DTP the characteristic is not visible.
4)It is just for Display at Query and cannot be used for Drill downs while reporting.

Exclusive attributes:
1)If you choose exclusively attribute, then the created key figure can only be used as an attribute for another characteristic, but cannot be used as a dedicated key figure in the Info Cube.
2) While Creating Key Figure àthe Tab page: Additional Properties àcheck Box for Attribute Only

For more information, check the below link


  1. Hi,
    When you talk about the feature of "Attributes Only", I can't got the meaning of the second&third point, and I have created two DSOs with "Attributes Only" InfoObject, I used one as the source of Transformation, but the "Attributes Only" InfoObject is visible during the this procedure.
    Can you fill me in?

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