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Workday Adaptive Planning Knowledge Center

Custom Dimensions and Attributes Overview

Introduces you to the difference between attributes and custom dimensions.

Attributes and custom dimensions are groupings with lists of possible values. An attribute or custom dimension called Region might have values of North, South, East, and West. 

Although similar, attributes and dimensions serve different purposes in your model. Imagine your data as sheets of paper filed in a cabinet. Dimensions are codes you put on the pages and attributes are codes you put on the file folders.

How Dimensions Work

Custom dimensions are metadata. Along with levels, time, and accounts, custom dimensions create a specific data point and segment the actual data in your model. 

Custom dimensions tag actual data, so it's harder to delete them. You must first remove them from all sheets, formulas, and reports. This deletes data associated with that dimension, even in locked versions. To avoid this, update the sheet data before removing the dimension from the sheet.

Use Cases

  • Categorize splits on standard sheets.
  • Match elimination entries in Consolidation. 
  • Add necessary depth to your model's data.
  • Filter cube sheets for detailed data entry.
  • Create alternate level hierarchies.
  • Store values that are accessible to other parts of the model.
  • Return values in modeled sheet rows based on dimension mapping rules.

How Attributes Work

Attributes tag metadata. Attributes categorize, or group, the dimensions. Because attributes categorize dimensions, they have the effect of categorizing the related data. 


  • Level attributes
  • Account attributes
  • Dimensions attributes

Use Cases

  • Group dimensions, accounts, and levels into categories for reporting.  
  • Create alternate level hierarchies.
  • Filter cube and modeled sheets for detailed data entry.
  • Tag accounts to create cash flow statements and simplify formulas.
  • Replace custom dimensions when possible to increase the performance of your model. 

Attributes Versus Dimensions

Capabilities Dimensions Attributes
Tag levels  Conditional Yes
Tag accounts No Yes
Tag versions No No
Tag custom dimensions No Yes
Secure for access rules Yes No
Deleting affects data Yes No
Easy to delete No Yes
Hierarchical Conditional Yes
Add to a standard sheet Yes No
Add to cube and modeled sheets Yes Yes
Hide values from specific versions Conditional No
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