1. Dashboards and Visualization
  2. Dashboards
  3. Dashboard Designer

The Dashboard Designer provides all the tools necessary for building dashboards and maintaining dashboard elements. It’s easy to change element properties and the results are displayed instantly.

To enter dashboard design mode, you can publish an item to a dashboard or select Edit on the dashboard toolbar.

The Dashboard Designer opens with the dashboard elements displayed on the Canvas to the right of the screen. The panel on the left shows the Properties for the selected element. Changes made to an element’s properties are immediately displayed on the canvas.

If the Dashboard Designer opens as a result of a publish action, the focus is on the newly-created element at the bottom of the canvas. If you selected the Dashboard Designer menu option, the focus is on the element selected when the dashboard was last closed. The selected element's properties are displayed in the properties panel.

The canvas grid

When you publish an element to a new dashboard, it will appear at the bottom of the dashboard in a white box with a gray outline.

The gray outline represents the space between elements and is 20 pixels wide. If dashboards are to be viewed on a mobile device, you can increase this space to 44 pixels by selecting the Model Settings > Dashboards > View > Touch Friendly Spacing menu option.

When a subsequent element is added to the dashboard, its default position is underneath the last element on the dashboard (with a gray outline between the two elements). You can then drag the element to another location. If two elements are moved alongside each other, a gray outline will display between them.

It isn't possible to move two elements onto the same white space: a gray border will always automatically appear between elements, further dividing the grid.

If you move two elements alongside each other, one being much deeper than the other, the narrower element will occupy the same amount of white space as the deeper element. If you then drag another element beneath the narrow element, the white space will split, a gray border will display between them, and the elements will adjust in depth to display alongside the deeper element.

Tabs

The Dashboard Designer is always docked. If you open it in a floating tab, the tab will automatically dock and you won’t be able to float it again until you exit the Dashboard Designer.

Exit the Dashboard Designer

To exit dashboard design mode, click Exit Dashboard Designer on the dashboard menu. If you have made changes to the dashboard, you can select Save & Exit Dashboard Designer.

You must choose one of the Save options before you exit (pressing the Esc key doesn't close the designer). Dashboard Designer waits until any processes you are running (such as import or export) have completed before closing.

Multiple users in Dashboard Designer mode

Multiple users can work on a dashboard at the same time. If the name of the dashboard is underlined, it indicates that you’re not the only person working on that dashboard.

The options you have to choose from when you save the dashboard will vary.

Saving changes when the server is busy

When you’re working in Dashboard Designer, the dashboard interacts with your server in different ways, depending on the requests you make. Some actions, such as adding a static text box or publishing a new element to a dashboard, issue a request for the server to rebuild the entire dashboard. Other activities, such as pivoting a grid, issue a request for just the grid to be rebuilt.

You also issue requests to the server when you run processes and actions, some of which can involve large amounts of data.

As you can see, all users are constantly issuing requests to the server; a number of them may be quite complicated and resource-hungry. These requests form an orderly queue, waiting their turn to be resolved, and are processed very quickly.

However, sometimes you may experience delay. Typically, this happens when either the connection to the server is slow, causing the request queue to become longer, or if the server is busy due to a large import or export process dominating resources on the server.

If the requests you committed to the queue are not being processed quickly enough, the state of your dashboard is unknown to Anaplan. The system knows that changes are queued, but not what they are. To protect those changes, and ensure they are processed, Anaplan will prevent any further actions (like Save or Close) until the queue has cleared and the server is free to process them.

Consequently, Anaplan prevents users from accessing the Close, Save, Save As, Save & Exit Dashboard Designer, or Reset menu options by either disabling those menu items or displaying the "System busy, please try later" message.

If a user clicks Close, Close All, Exit Dashboard Designer, or Save & Exist Dashboard Designer when the server is busy, the 'System busy, please try later’ message is displayed because:

  • changes are pending, which require a whole-dashboard rebuild (for example, the user added a static text box).
  • the dashboard is already saving (for example, the user clicked Save during a long-running import).
  • a cell change on a grid is pending (for example, a cell in a grid is still showing green after being updated due to a slow connection).

To illustrate, say you added a static text box to a dashboard. A request is sent to the server to rebuild the whole dashboard. If you now decide you want to save the dashboard, when you go to the Dashboard menu, the Save, Save As, Save & Exit Dashboard Designer, and Reset menu options are disabled because of the pending dashboard rebuild. If you try to close the dashboard, or exit the Dashboard Designer, the System busy, please try later message will be displayed because your dashboard rebuild request hasn’t been processed yet.

Once the server processes the rebuild request, the static text box will display on the dashboard, and the Save, Save As, Save & Exit Dashboard Designer, and Reset menu options will be enabled again on the Dashboard menu. You will also be able to close the tab and exit the Dashboard Designer.

The best approach to the delay is to allow your server time to process all the requests and then save your changes and exit the Dashboard Designer in the usual manner.