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How To Create Exceptions In The SAP BW Query Designer

[quote style=”boxed”]How do you highlight unusual deviations of key figure values in a SAP BW BEx Query? This question is often asked by concerned managers, marketing and sales people who want to spot these deviations as early as possible so they can act fast to changes in their business. One technique is by creating Exceptions in the SAP BW Query Designer.[/quote]Exceptions are used to identify deviations from pre-defined threshold values or intervals. Any data in your BW query that varies from these thresholds are marked with different colors in the query result. That way you can spot any extraordinary variations from expected results straightaway.

Step By Step – Creation Of Exceptions

Log in to query designer and choose the query for which you want to create the exception and click on the Exceptions button clip_image001 followed by New Exception.

SAP BW Query Designer

SAP BW - Query Designer

SAP BW New Exception

SAP BW - New Exception

Press the Edit button in the properties area on the right of the window. The properties screen of the exception will then appear.

SAP BW Properties Window

SAP BW - Properties Window

Insert the name of the exception in the description area. The check box Exception Is Active is used to turn on/off the exception in the query result. It is set to Active by default.

Create the definition value by pressing on the NEW button. This will then enable the alert level drop down menu, the Operator and the Value fields. Enter your corresponding values and press the Transfer button to add your restriction to the list.

Note that you can create several exceptions for a query. If the values of the defined exceptions happen to overlap, the worst case scenario alert is the one that is activated.

SAP BW - Change Exception

SAP BW - Change Exception

Go to the definition tab on the Change Exceptions screen. Here you can determine if you want to use the exception on one or all the key figures of your query definition. In case you want to use an exception on a specific key figure you should define and assign it to that key figure.

If you want to specify an exception that affects a specific cell restriction per characteristic of the report go to Cell Restrictions tab, select the NEW button then the Characteristic, Operator and Value fields are enabled.


  1. The characteristic for which you want to define the restriction. You can choose any of the characteristics from the rows or the columns that are used in the query.
  2. The value of the operator:
    Everything: the exception is valid for every drill-down status of the characteristic.
    Totals only: the exception is valid only for aggregate values of the characteristic.
    Everything except totals: the exception is valid for only one particular value of the characteristic. You can also use characteristic value variables.
    Level: the exception is valid only for a particular hierarchy level in the characteristic. Specify the hierarchy level you want to use as a number in the Value field.
  3. The value field is enabled if you choose your operator to be a fixed value. Enter a fixed value or select a variable for the characteristic.

Choose OK and you return to the query definition window. Press the Save button.

Change Exceptions

To change your existing Exceptions select the exception that you want to change, choose Tasks highlighted in the picture below. You can see the EDIT link under Possible Corrections. By pressing it, you can change your exception or you can choose Edit from the context menu of the exception.

SAP BW Query Designer - Change Exception

SAP BW Query Designer - Change Exception

Delete Exceptions

When you need to delete an Exception select the exception that you want to delete, choose Tasks highlighted in the picture below. You can see the Delete link under Possible Corrections. By pressing it, the exception is deleted. Alternatively you can choose remove from the context menu of the exception.


Key persons (Managers, Sales people etc..) need to be able to understand and act fast on the data presented to them through BW reports at any time. There lies the importance of Exceptions as they provide early spotting of deviations making it possible for prompt and effective action.


About the Author:

Pete has been working with SAP technologies for over 10 years. He started out as an ABAP consultant and then moved on to BW where he has worked many different clients covering a wide variety of industries. "I love introducing SAP technology (especially BI) to new clients and showing them how they can go from zero to hero within their business in super fast time". Contact me on twitter @PeterMoxon

One Comment
  1. Marina

    Hi Pete,

    Thank you for description how to create exceptions.

    May be you know, how to change colors of exceptions? I need to change yellow color to grey.

    Thanks in advanced.