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UNV versus UNX: Consuming Universes in BI 4.0

The 4.0 release of SAP BusinessObjects introduced a new universe format called UNX. This new format will eventually replace the existing UNV universe format. UNX universes also add a bunch of new features, perhaps most notably the ability to create multi-source universes. These UNX universes are created using a new tool called the Information Design Tool, but that is a subject for another blog post.

What you need to know about UNV versus UNX universes is that currently not every tool in the BI 4.0 Platform supports both formats!  This can be really confusing when you open a tool like Explorer for the first time and you don’t see the universes you are expecting. I’ve been using BI 4.0 since its release and I still get tripped up by this from time to time, so I thought it might be worth listing what works with each tool.  Below I’ll list the various tools and any caveats of working with UNX or UNV universes in each.

Universe Consumption in BI 4.0

Universe Consumption in BI 4.0

Web Intelligence

Fortunately, Web Intelligence is the one tool in the BI stack that is fully functional with both UNV and UNX universes.

Crystal Reports for Enterprise

Crystal Reports for Enterprise is the new Java-based rewrite of the Crystal client. Because of this, CR4E can only consume the newer UNX universe format and is completely incompatible with the older UNV universes.

Dashboards (Xcelsius)

The Dashboards tool supports both the UNV and UNX formats, but with a caveat. UNX universes must be consumed through the new integrated Query Browser. However, UNV universes can only be consumed via the traditional Query as a Web Service tool. This limits you from utilizing some new features of Dashboards, such as exporting to a mobile-compatible HTML5 dashboard.


The Explorer tool can only access UNX universes in BI 4.0, which may come as a surprise to Explorer 3.1 users. However, SAP plans to reintroduce UNV compatibility in the BI 4.1 release. Also remember that Explorer can only access relational data, so Multi-dimensional UNX universes are also incompatible. Instead, use the Analysis for OLAP tool for Multi-dimensional universes.

Live Office

Finally, and strangely, Live Office only supports the legacy UNV universe format.  If you are an avid Live Office user, you will want to keep your universes in the old format for the time being, because SAP has not yet released a similar solution that works with UNX universes. However, it is rumored that the Analysis for Office tool will contain this functionality in a future release.


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  • Wait a minute! What about Designer?

    […] with the Information Design Tool). And Ryan Muldowney identifies some of the gaps in his article UNV versus UNX: Consuming Universes in BI 4.0. Ryan points out that some tools support UNV, some support UNX, and some support both formats. […]