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Oracle® Business Intelligence Enterprise Edition Help
11g Release 1 (11.1.1)
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What are Filters and Selection Steps?

You use both filters and selection steps to limit the results that are displayed when an analysis is run, so that the results answer a particular question. Together with the columns that you select for an analysis, filters and selection steps determine what the results contain. Based on the filters and selection steps, only those results that match the criteria are shown. For example, depending on the industry in which you work, you can use filters and selection steps to learn who are the top ten performers, what are the dollar sales for a particular brand, which are the most profitable customers, and so on.

Another kind of filter, called a prompt, can apply to all items in a dashboard. Prompts can be used to complete selection steps and filters at runtime. For information, see Chapter 6, "Prompting in Dashboards and Analyses."

Oracle BI Enterprise Edition provides the Filters view and Selection Steps view, which you can add to an analysis to display any filters or selection steps applied to the analysis. Adding these views can help the user understand the information displayed in the analysis. For more information about how to add views to an analyses, see Chapter 3, "Adding Views for Display in Dashboards."

How Do Filters and Selection Steps Differ?

Filters and selection steps are applied on a column-level basis and provide two methods for limiting the data in an analysis. A filter is always applied to a column before any selection steps are applied. Steps are applied in their specified order. Filters and selection steps differ in various ways.


Filters can be applied directly to attribute columns and measure columns. Filters are applied before the query is aggregated and affect the query and thus the resulting values for measures. For example, suppose that you have a list of members in which the aggregate sums to 100. Over time, more members meet the filter criteria and are filtered in, which increases the aggregate sum to 200.

Selection Steps

Selection steps are applied after the query is aggregated and affect only the members displayed, not the resulting aggregate values. For example, suppose that you have a list of hierarchical members in which the aggregate sums to 100. If you remove one of the members using a selection step, then the aggregate sum remains at 100.

You can create selection steps for both attribute columns and hierarchical columns. Selection steps are per column and cannot cross columns. Because attribute columns do not have an aggregate member, the use of selection steps versus filters for attribute columns is not as distinctive as for hierarchical columns. While measure columns are displayed in the Selection Steps pane, you cannot create steps for them so steps do not affect them. Measures are used to create condition steps for attribute and hierarchical columns, such as Sales greater than $1 million.

Applying Filters to Attribute Columns to Affect Hierarchical Columns

You can use a filter on a related attribute column to affect the display of members in a hierarchical column. For example, suppose a hierarchical column contains the levels Year, Quarter, and Month. Suppose that a filter exists on the attribute column that corresponds to the Year hierarchy level. If you create a filter on Year to limit it to 2008 and 2009, then when the hierarchical column is displayed in a view, only those two years are visible. This functionality depends on the way that the logical columns have been defined in the business layer of the subject area in the Oracle BI Administration Tool.