SSAS Dimension Properties: Basic folder

If you’ve ever spent some time looking around in SSAS, you’ll notice there are a lot of properties. So what are all of these properties, and what do they do? I’ve usually found that when I’m initially setting up an SSAS database, at least 50% of my time is configuring properties appropriately. I’m going to start in the basic folder within the dimension at the attribute level, which includes the Description, FormatString, ID, Name, Type, and Usage properties. Below is a screenshot, so you can get your bearings:

 

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Description

All this property does is create a description of the attribute. It’s a free text field, and you can type in whatever you want in this field.

 

FormatString

Pretty straightforward again, just the format string on how this should be displayed. You have lots of choices, and some are customizable (any of them with the #’s in them can be modified for how you want to see them, for example on #,##0.00; –#,##0.00 you can modify it to only #,##0; –#,##0 if you want just whole numbers or #,##0.000000; –#,##0.000000 if you want 6 decimals)

 

ID

The ID of the dimension attribute. This is a non-editable field, and is determined by your source column name in your Data Source View.

 

Name

The name of the dimension attribute that you wish to display. This is the how your end users will actually see the name. If you are not using views in your source or friendly names in your DSV this is your “last chance” (so to speak) to give your attribute a user friendly name.

 

Type

This is the type that an attribute is. If you go through the “Add Business Intelligence” wizard in an SSAS dimension, this is the property that is modified to tell Analysis Service what that attribute is. For more information, see this msdn article: http://msdn.microsoft.com/en-us/library/ms175662.aspx

 

Usage

The Usage property tells Analysis Services how this attribute is used. Regular means it is just a regular attribute, there is really nothing “special” about in the eyes of SSAS. Specifying this property as “Key” tells SSAS this is the key attribute in the dimension, and parent tells SSAS that this is a parent level attribute of a parent-child hierarchy (this also creates the parent child hierarchy).

 

Til next time

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