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Time Settings

The Time Settings editor lets you adjust the dial’s time settings.

  • Base Time Period: Choose to use whatever time period is selected in the Context Pane, or override that time period and use month, quarter, or year instead. If you use the default value of From Period Selector, the base time period is dynamically based on the manual setting in the Period bar.
    The base time period is used to determine the units and numbers for the various dial time period settings below.
  • Dial Time Period: You have three options.
  • Use Consecutive Base Periods: The dial shows information for n base periods. See Standard Time Structure that follows.
  • Use Base Period: The dial shows information for a single unit of the base period (for example, month, quarter, or year).
  • Use Consecutive Breakdown Periods: The dial shows information for n break­down periods of the base period. A breakdown period is the unit of time the base unit is divided into for the purposes of a planning model. For example, one com­pany might prefer to break years down into quarters, while another might prefer to break them down into months.
  • Time Structure:Choose which time structure the dial should use. See Time Structure Editor for more information about time structures.
  • Period Data Range: Choose whether to show the data for the period to date or for the whole period (for example, if a dial is set to show years, choose whether to show the full year with future portions empty, or to show only the portion of the year up to the date chosen in the Period Selector).

Standard Time Structure

If you select the Standard Time Structure, here is how the dial behaves for the various combinations of Base Time Periods and Dial Time Periods:

If the Base Period is... and you select Consecutive Base Periods, the dial shows: and you select Consecutive Breakdown Periods, the dial shows:
Month 12 months 14 months (there is no break­down period for months)
Quarter 8 quarters 14 months
Year 5 years 14 months

If you have permission to edit company components, you can create your own time struc­tures (see the Time Structure Editor). Here’s an example of how a few variations of the time settings can affect a single dial. This example shows a dial that compares the income in the working budget for 2013 with the income for the current year (2012) using the Stan­dard time structure described in the table above.

Note that in the graphic below, Use Period Selector is not chosen. This is because the effects are the same if, for example, Base Time Period is set to Month or set to Use Period Selector and a month is chosen in the Period Selector. For a detailed walkthrough of all possible settings, see Time Selections.

This graphic is arranged like a table, with the various time periods for rows (Month, Quar­ter, Year), and the various dial time period settings as columns (Use Base Period, Use Consecutive Base Periods, and Use Consecutive Breakdown Periods). These dials show the Standard Time Structure as described in Using the Standard Time Structure. If you have chosen a different time structure for any of your dials, they behave according to that time structure, and look different. As is often the case with the Visual Designer, it’s a good idea to try different settings and see what you like best. 

Time Structure Editor

The Time Structure editor appears when a time structure is selected from the Calendarsarea of the Components Panel. Users with permissions to edit company components can create, edit, and delete the time structures used by the company as a whole.

Time structures determine how dials behave with respect to time, and are applied to dials using the Time Settings editor.

The period settings available are:

  • Consecutive Period: The number of years/quarters/months to appear, up to the cur­rent time, when Consecutive Base Period is selected.
    For example, above, this is set to 5 for year, so a dial whose base period is Year and set to display consecutive base periods shows five years: this year and then the preceding four years.
  • Forward-Looking Period: How many periods into the future should be added onto consecutive breakdown period views.
    For example, if the breakdown period for years is quarters and you set quarters to have a Forward-looking Period of 1 and Consecutive Period of 4, a dial set to use Year for the base period and display consecutive breakdown periods shows a total of five quarters: the last four quarters through the current quarter (consecutive period) and then one quarter into the future (forward-looking period)
  • Home Delay Period: The period your dial is anchored on with respect to the Home Context date. If this is set to zero, the Home Context button on the Period Selector shifts the context to the current date. However, if no data has been entered for the current month (for example, actuals for the current month are posted at the beginning of the next month), then the current date always displays zero and your dials display no data to display. If the Home Delay Period is set to “1 Month,” then the data is displayed for the previous month. Also sets the default view for dials using this time structure.
  • Breakdown Period: The interval by which the base period being edited is broken down. For example, a breakdown period of Quarters for Year shows four quarters when the dial time period is set to Use base period and breakdown by data is set to Time (in the Data Settings editor), then the data on the X axis spans the Base Period (for example: Year) and there is a data point for each breakdown period (for example: Quarter). The result shows a year’s worth of quarter data points. Similarly, if the breakdown is by Month, the result is a year’s worth of month data points.
  • Consolidation Period: The period you want the period you are editing to consolidate up to (the period for which the period you are editing is the breakdown period).
    For example, if you edit Month so that its consolidation period is Quarter, the break­down period for Quarter is Month, and dials with the base period of Quarter set to show consecutive breakdown periods display a series of months.
  • Comparable Period Step: The period to display for the Comparable Period> analy­sis view of a dial.
    For example, a month’s comparable period might be the previous month (Compara­ble Period Step: Month) or it might be the same month last year (Comparable Period Step: Year).

Note that different periods (year, quarter, month) have different period settings depending on whether they break down/consolidate up or not.

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