Data Warehouse and Information Asset Experts

MicroStrategy Dashboard Widgets – Heat Map

By on December 18, 2014 in Tips, Tricks and Technology with 0 Comments

A Heat Map widget contains a combination of different colored rectangles that help analyze a lot of data in a single scan of an eye. Each rectangle refers to a set of attribute elements. It gives you the ability to analyze the impact of various parameters in one go. It can be an apt replacement for an Interactive Bubble Graph with more data to analyze but a little less interactivity.

Minimum Requirements:

  • Minimum of 1 attribute along the rows
  • Minimum of 2 metrics along the columns

While the minimum requirements suggest, the least required parameters to analyze data, the analysis can be enhanced by putting 2 attributes along the rows and 2 metrics on the columns. This widget is available in Flash, Interactive and Express mode. All the interactivity features can be utilized and viewed in Flash and Interactive mode.

We can view the widget in Express mode but no editing can be performed on the Interactive features in this mode.

Use Case

We will be considering the following use case to support the working of a Heat Map. As per the minimum requirements mentioned above, consider the following grid-

Figure 1 - Grid

Display on the Widget:

  • The main header on top of the rectangle represents a set of attribute elements. In the below example, it is City of work
  • Each individual rectangle refers to a single attribute. Here, it represents Employee
  • The size of each rectangle is determined by one of the metrics. Here, it represents Expenditure Yearly
  • The color of each rectangle is determined by the second metric. Here, It represents Tenure of work

Figure 2 - Heat Map

Heat Map Dialog box:

Figure 3 - Heat Map Dialouge

While in Flash or Interactive mode, right clicking the Heat Map allows us to select Interactive. This opens the Heat Map dialog box, which brings all the interactive features alive.

Controls Section

  • This section allows refreshing the heat map to its last saved version
  • It gives an option to enable deleting any rectangles to view the analysis with less clutter. You can disable the ability to delete if needed.
  • To view the data within a rectangle, the area can be zoomed and the data can be magnified and viewed avoiding the clutter
  • This section also allows us to decide which of the metrics governs size and color. At a time only 2 metrics can be used on this widget.

Attributes Section

  • Any number of attributes can be added to the grid. In a case where we need to base our analysis on particular attributes, we can drag those attributes to the grouping section
  • Any of the attributes that are not required for the analysis can be moved to the unused attributes section

Metrics Filter section:

  • To filter the metric values based on size, we can the drag the slider and change the value
  • To filter the metric values based on color, we can the drag the slider and change the value
  • To only display the rectangles in the size and color ranges, check the Filters section

Heat Map Color Section:

  • The color for the heat map can be changed using this section
  • You can view the metric values on the basis of a band of colors or blend the colors as preferred
  • To choose a new color, double click on a slider and chose a new color

Points to remember:

  • Any number of metrics can be put on a grid for a Heat Map. But only 1 Metric can be chosen from the list each for displaying size and color respectively.
  • Any number of attributes can be put on a grid for a Heat Map. It is at the analyst’s discretion as to which of these are needed for the analysis and hence put under the grouping section.


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