SAP BW - Navigational Attributes - Importance, Usage, How to?

Navigational Attributes in SAP BW

Navigational attribute is like any other master data attribute except that we can navigate (filter, drill down and selection) in reports on this characteristic.

As you know we can navigate only based on characteristics in infocube or multiprovider. However there are many scenarios where you want users to navigate in the reports based on a master data attribute because it is not always possible to have every required field as a characteristic for many reasons.

 For starters, you should either do a lookup in BW or enhance the extractor on ECC side to add new characteristic to infocube, this is cumbersome and delta on the new fields may not work and most important the history data will not have this field populated.

The solution is to use navigational attributes; no need of any lookups, no delta worries and navigational attribute can be used for history data as well.  The only disadvantage is it will impact report performance a little bit. So you don’t want to have too many navigable attributes in an infcoube.

How to turn on navigational attributes?

 Well, first you need to switch them on in the master data. Go to RSD1 -> Attribute tab -< Detail/Navigation Attributes  -> Navigational Attribute on/off column. After this you need to switch them on in required infocubes and multproviders under navigational attributes section.

SAP BW Navigational Attributes.png

Caution: Transport of master data object might take long time when you switch on navigation attributes in cases where master data volume is high. This is because SAP inserts sids int SID table (/BIC/X*) for new navigational attributes.

Leave a comment if you have any questions, I  will try to answer them.

Comments (8)

Said this on 9-11-2010 At 09:48 am

very good explanation regarding nav attributes




Said this on 10-29-2010 At 01:12 am

I am a new to BI, Wow.. nice explanation for me.

Said this on 10-12-2010 At 06:42 pm

why only we can add navigational attributes and dim id to an infocube and not the displayattribute?

Said this on 1-1-2011 At 09:56 pm

Hi spoorthi,

Infocubes contain only characteristics and keyfigures. So we donot maintain display attributes in infocube.

Why navigational attributes means- a nav. attribute is also a characteristic n attribute of another characteristic. So it is used in infocube/dso. Above example didn't show u the creation of nav. attr, it is similar to creation of display attribute only difference is in checking of "ATTRIBUTE ONLY" button.

we donot maintain any dimid's. These r generated by system for every dimension n these dimension values r available in dimension tables along with characteristics..

hope this information helpful to u...



Said this on 1-1-2011 At 09:27 pm

Hi, even i'm new to this sap-bi i clearly understand ur explanation. Thx a lot..

Wat my question is:

How reporting performance decreases if we use more no. of nav. attributes?

As u said above, transporting master data objet might take long long take if we switch on this nav. attribute when master data is high. Is there any solution to overcome this issue?



Said this on 1-22-2011 At 02:57 pm


I read this on SDN.

Stores the SID Values for Time Independent Navigation Attributes

Stores the SID Values for Time Dependent Navigation Attributes

So if these tables stored the SIDs, which table stores the actual values of the navigation attributes.

Said this on 3-24-2011 At 03:50 pm


I am not able to to turn on navigational a characteristic in a Multi-Provider after doing it in the Infoprovider.

¿Can you help me?


Said this on 9-29-2011 At 02:15 am

hi , as i am new to sap bi just want to know can we do sorting in navigational attribute .what is the main difference display and navigational attribute . thanks


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