Layers and Groups

Contents[Hide]

1. Overview

Layers and groups give you a way to organize elements on your dashboard as a collective unit, which you can then show or hide at design-time, or control through scripting.

2. Groups

The Dundas BI designer screen lets you group multiple elements on the canvas together. Once grouped, you can easily apply operations to the set of elements as a whole, such as dragging the group to a new location.

If you have a chart and a table both displaying data from the same metric set, you may want to group the two components so they always appear side-by-side no matter where you move the group on the canvas.

2.1. Group multiple elements together

To group two or more elements, first select them on the canvas by dragging a selection rectangle around all of the elements. If you're on a desktop, you can also press the CTRL key while clicking each of the elements in turn.

Once you've made the selection, go to the toolbar, click Arrange, and then click Group.

Grouping selected elements
Grouping selected elements

The grouped set of elements appears with a light blue background. You can move the group around the canvas by dragging it. You can even delete the group (and all of its elements) as a whole.

Group appears with a light blue background
Group appears with a light blue background

2.2. Show or hide a group

A group has its own set of properties, just like any individual element on the canvas.

Select a group on the canvas, and then click PROPERTIES to see the properties of the group.

Check or uncheck the Hidden property to hide or show the group.

Tip
If you've hidden a group and then navigated away from the Properties window, you can find your group by going to the Layers window. Click the plus sign below the current layer to view all of the elements within the layer. Locate your group and select it. Then go back to the Properties window to make the group visible again (if desired).

2.3. Ungroup

To ungroup a set of elements, first select the group on the canvas.

Then go to the toolbar, click Arrange, and then click Ungroup.

Ungroup elements
Ungroup elements

The group is removed and you can access the elements individually again.

3. Layers

Whenever you add an element to the canvas, the element is slotted into the current layer. By default, the current layer is named Layer 1 which you can see if you click the LAYERS tab. You also have the ability to add new layers and insert elements into the new layers as you like.

One reason for separating elements into different layers is when you have a complex dashboard with overlapping elements. As you're designing, you can hide layers that are completed and show just the layers you are actively working on. Layers can also be locked to prevent accidental modification (e.g., moving a chart out of position by mistake).

A second reason for using layers is to support dashboard implementation scenarios where you need to dynamically show or hide sets of components during viewing. For example, a common case is to use a layer to implement a help overlay for your dashboard which is displayed when the user hovers over or clicks on a help button.

Click LAYERS to see the layers for your dashboard and manage them.

A dashboard with a single layer
A dashboard with a single layer

Layer 1 is automatically added when the dashboard is created, and any components that you add to the canvas will be placed in this layer.

3.1. View elements within a layer

A very useful feature in the Layers window is the ability to see the hierarchy of elements within a layer, including groups and hidden items.

To view the elements for a specific layer, click the plus sign button below the name of the layer.

Click to view elements within a layer
Click to view elements within a layer

The hierarchy of elements is displayed but this is more than just a list. When you select an item in this list, the corresponding element on the canvas is also selected.

In addition, the icon for a layer actually contains a very tiny preview of elements within the layer. If you see a small colored rectangle within the icon, it means the layer has some elements in it.

You can right-click over a component in the list (such as a chart) and then show or hide the component.

Elements within a layer
Elements within a layer

Groups are also listed, even if they are hidden. If you want to make a group visible again, select it here in the Layers window, and then go back to the Properties window to modify the group's properties.

3.2. Show or hide a layer

To show or hide a layer, toggle the 'eye' icon beside the layer in the Layers window.

Click the 'eye' icon to show or hide a layer
Click the 'eye' icon to show or hide a layer

3.3. Show or hide all layers

To show or hide all layers in one operation, click the corresponding button at the top of the Layers window.

3.4. Lock or unlock a layer

Layers can be locked to prevent accidental modification (e.g., moving a chart out of position by mistake).

To lock or unlock a layer, toggle the 'lock' icon beside the layer in the Layers window.

Click the 'lock' icon to lock or unlock a layer
Click the 'lock' icon to lock or unlock a layer

3.5. Lock or unlock all layers

To lock or unlock all layers in one operation, click the corresponding button at the top of the Layers window.

3.6. Rename a layer

Double click the name of a layer in order to change it.

Renaming a layer
Renaming a layer

You can also rename a layer from its Properties window.

3.7. Add a new layer

In the Layers window, click Add Layer from the toolbar to add a new layer.

The new layer will be positioned above existing layers in terms of z-order. It will also be set as the new current layer as indicated by its blue selection border.

Layer 2 is added and becomes the current layer
Layer 2 is added and becomes the current layer

3.8. Reorder the list of layers

In the Layers window, you can drag a layer and move it above another layer in the list. This will change the z-order of the layers. The elements from a layer that is at the top of the list (e.g. Layer 2) will always appear on top of elements from a layer that is lower in the list (e.g. Layer 1).

3.9. Set the current layer

The current layer is the one that is selected in the Layers window (appears with a dark selection color). Any elements that you add to the canvas will go into this current layer.

To change the current layer, simply select (e.g. click) the layer you want in the Layers window.

3.10. Delete a layer

To delete a layer (and all of its contained elements), select the layer in the Layers window and then click Delete Layers from the toolbar.

3.11. Move an element from one layer to another

In the Layers window, if you view the elements for one layer and another layer, you can move an element between the two layers using drag-and-drop.

Move an element between layers using drag-and-drop
Move an element between layers using drag-and-drop

3.12. Properties of a layer

To modify the properties of a layer, go to the Layers window. Expand the layer you want (by clicking its plus sign) and select the layer in the treeview.

Expand the layer and select it
Expand the layer and select it

Go to Properties to view or modify the properties of the layer, including its Script Name.

Layer properties
Layer properties

4. See also

 

Dundas Data Visualization, Inc.
500-250 Ferrand Drive
Toronto, ON, Canada
M3C 3G8

North America: 1.800.463.1492
International: 1.416.467.5100

Dundas Support Hours: 7am-6pm, ET, Mon-Fri