How to Create a Cognos Analytics Dashboard

Cognos Analytics dashboards help monitor business metrics at a glance with a set of visualizations on one page. They allow for quick data discovery and experimentation by enabling you to quickly change parameters to view different slices of the data. Since 11.0.10, Cognos dashboards include a drill-down feature that allows you to view more granular data.

In this on-demand webinar, see demos of

  • How to create a dashboard in Cognos Analytics, Release 10.
  • Tricks and pitfalls of connecting data sources including external files, OLAP and relational data sources.
  • The drill down to detailed report feature.


Pedro Ining
Senior BI Architect
Senturus, Inc.

Pedro joined Senturus in 2010 and brings over 20 years of BI and data warehousing experience to his role. Pedro has been instrumental in implementing data warehousing systems from scratch and has experienced the evolution of the BI industry through several iterations of BI products like Cognos, MicroStrategy and Tableau.

Before joining Senturus, Pedro held technical roles in data and BI architecture as well as leadership management roles in companies such as Visa Inc., LeapFrog Toys, Chevron Inc., AT&T and the University of California at Berkeley.

Question log

Q: Can I set refresh time per visual dashboard?
A: Yes, as of release 11.0.4, widgets have a refresh timer property. The delay can be set in seconds, minutes or hours with a minimum of five seconds. Open up a widget’s properties to enable the timer and watch your visualization automatically update based on the latest information.

Q: Can the drill-through name be changed on the dashboard?
A: The drill-through name is the target report name. You can change the report name to the desired drill-through name.

Q: Can I drill through to another dashboard?
A: Not on this version. You can only drill-through to a report object.

Q: Can I still have full interactive reports in addition to drill through at the same time?
A: Yes, the drill target can still be run independently.

Q: Can there be customized tooltips for more information on the teams?
A: No, not on this version.

Q: Is there any way to enlarge the font size within the visualization?
A: The fonts scale as the screen becomes larger. There is currently not a method to have the fonts be a specific size.

Q: What are the limitations on the navigation path?
A: The navigation path must be pre-defined on the data source or data module.

Q: Is it possible for me to pick a template and then change it to another (so to add another container)?
A: If you select a certain template to begin with you don’t have to use the containers. You can size objects any way you want (and add more objects than containers) and not use the template boxes at all. And yes, in the latest version you can change to another template after you pick an initial one. This is only available on tabbed templates. In edit mode click on the tab and you will see an option to select a different template.

Q: How do I export a visualization to PDF?
A: When viewing a dashboard, the latest version has a new selection for Export to PDF in the upper right corner.

Q: With the reintroduction of Portal Tabs in 11.0.11, do you have any comments about going back to using them? We moved away from them and I’m wondering if we should go back to using them?
A: This is a rather extensive topic, read about Cognos Portal Tabs: Past, Present and Future in our blog post for some guidance.

Q: If vizzes on a dashboard use different data sources will their behavior still be linked if the column names are the same?
A: No.

Q: In dashboards can we still use Framework Manager and cube charts and if so can they be made interactive?
A: Dashboards can be sourced from packages and/or data modules. Data modules can be sourced from packages, flat files, data sets (can be sourced from cubes) and direct server connections.

Q: In dashboards is there a gauge type visualization available?
A: Not exactly, the closest would be the radial bar.

Q: Can I join filters across two different data sources, i.e. filter year?
A: This could be done by creating a data module to source the dashboard instead that combines the different data sources.

Q: Can I combine two data sources on a single chart/widget?
A: No.

Q: Can we build dependent/cascading filters in the global filters or ‘this tab’ filters?
A: No.

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