Guide to Creating a Virtual Hierarchy

Adding Virtual Hierarch to Exploration or Analysis
November 5th, 2020

In todays planning and forecasting world, the ability to change quickly and provide valuable data to your leadership team is even more important.  The world has changed in many ways over the last year due to COVID, working from home, major increases or decreases in revenue and in many other ways.  As a person responsible for planning and forecasting, I am sure you are feeling the pressure.  If you are not using virtual hierarchy in Planning Analytics you are missing out on a way to quickly adjust your models and account for all the changes in your business.  Simply put, a virtual hierarchy allows you to quickly adjust your model for information that was not originally brought into the model without having to completely rebuild your model.  GAME CHANGING!  Then, the cherry on top is the ability to now take that added data and bring it into your analysis, Planning Analytics Workspace (PAw) and Planning Analytics for Excel (PAfE).

Here is a great link to all things Planning Analytics Modeling. 

Create New Attribute

The first step to creating a virtual hierarchy is choose the dimension that needs the additional information.  In this case I will be using the product hierarchy.  Using PAw, click in the dimension and choose edit hierarchy.  Next click on the icon to the upper right side that looks like a tag (member attribute mode).  Results should look something like the below screenshot.

Create New Attribute

Click the + button to add another attribute.  In my example, I will name the attribute, “warehouse”.  In my situation, management has asked for reporting and analysis on where each of our products is being stocked to get better visibility to make decisions on time to ship, inventory and any potential decisions that can be made to make our process more efficient.  Unfortunately, we have no visibility in PA on this info currently.  Now that I have added in the warehouse attribute I will add in the “warehouse” locations to each product.  This can be done via flat file or by simply typing them in.  Note – you will add in this info to the leaf level (lowest level).  See result of added info below.

Added Attribute Info

Turn Attribute into Virtual Hierarchy

Now that we have created a new attribute called “warehouse”, we need to convert this to a virtual hierarchy to be used in explorations and analysis.  Right click on the attribute you created and select, create hierarchy.  Click ok when asked if you want to create.  If you expand the dimension in the data pane that you used, you will now see the attribute as a hierarchy.  See below.


Adding Virtual Hierarchy to Exploration or Analysis

Locate a book or visual using the dimension with the virtual hierarchy added or simply drag in a cube to a new book in PAw.  Once you have the view set properly, right click on the dimension you added the virtual hierarchy to and select, add related hierarchy.  Find the hierarchy you want to add and select, insert.  Success!  You have now added a virtual hierarchy to your exploration or visualization without the need to recreate your cube or reload data.  See below for results.

Adding Virtual Hierarch to Exploration or Analysis

Wow your boss or management with the ability to give them data in the way they want quickly!

Planning Analytics Video Series

Recently Lodestar created a Planning Analytics video series that goes through Planning Analytics Workspace and Planning Analytics for Excel.  It includes overviews modeling tips, input and spread options, sandboxes, virtual hierarchies, an admin overview and a how to on how to promote from development to production.  Stay tuned to our blog for new info and links each week.

Here is the link to the virtual hierarchies in Planning Analytics Workspace video in this series.


Save time and money by using this very powerful feature in Planning Analytics.  The ability to model additional data on the fly without having to spend a ton of time to remodel and reload is a game changer in my mind!  If you need additional support working through virtual hierarchies, please contact us at