Workday Adaptive Planning Features: Explore Cell, Required Columns on Modelled Sheets, and Erase Data functionality

Workday Adaptive Planning released 2021R2 in September and since then we have had some time to explore its newest features. Here are some of our favourites and what our clients and ourselves have found most useful – or have the most questions about.

In this article we explore these three features in detail:

  • Improved user interface for Explore Cell
  • Required Columns on Modelled Sheets
  • Erase Data functionality

Watch QMetrix Senior Consultant Brenda Lai’s presentation or read the notes below. Or, click play and scroll down so you can watch and read at the same time.

Improved User Interface for Explore Cell

Workday Adaptive Planning (WAP) updated the Explore Cell functionality to provide users with more relevant data as users analyse actuals or plans.

Please note: This feature was originally released on 12/9/2021 but reverted due to technical issues. It was reinstated on 14/10/2021 and available for all non-consolidation instances. The users who have the consolidation module in their instance can’t use this function at the moment, but WAP has a plan to enable it in future releases.

What are the changes to Explore Cell?

In general, when the Explore Cell is launched from a data cell on a sheet or report etc, data driven by contributing details automatically suppress rows with zeros or blanks. This simplifies the view and saves users having to scroll through many zero or blanks rows to see the data.

Here is an example: Right click on a data cell from a sheet to launch the Explore Cell window.



As the above screenshot indicates, the data has been rearranged to compare with the old Explore Cell window in order to help users find information more easily.

  1. The upper-left section in the Explore Cell window has:
    • Cell value
    • Links to audit trail and drill capabilities
    • Links to sheets that show the value
  2. The upper-right section in the Explore Cell window has:
    • Details about the account, level, and time period
    • Arrows to click to the previous and next time period
  3. Users can find contributing details in the bottom section of the window, such as source accounts, formulas, and sources of contributing values.
  4. The “Suppress rows if all zero or blank” setting is automatically ticked.


If you don’t like the change, what can you do?

Most users like the “suppress rows if all zeros of blank” setting. However if you do need to see a full list of contributing values including zero, Workday Adaptive Planning allows users to opt out of the new interface for Explore Cell function.

This is where you can opt out:

Administration > Visual Preferences

Visual preferences to suppress rows

Users may disable the function by unticking the above setting. Once the function is disabled, the user interface and functionality of Explore Cell will revert to the old look and functionality prior to this release.

Required Columns in Modelled Sheets

In the 2021R2 release, users can use the Required Columns function in Modelled Sheets without requesting this functionality from the Workday Adaptive Planning provisioning support team.

Please Note: If your instance of WAP uses the Excel Interface for Planning (EIP) functionality, you cannot use this feature until EIP is turned off.

How do you activate Required Columns?

The Required Columns function allows columns with this setting in a modelled sheet to be compulsory. This helps in maintaining data quality in a modelled sheet.

You can find the Required Columns Setting in any modelled sheet with “dimension” columns.

To get to a Modelled Sheet setting: Modelling > Model Management > Sheets

  • Select and open a modelled sheet from either “Level Assigned Sheets” or “User Assigned Sheets”
  • Click “Columns and Levels” setting for the modelled sheet to open the columns and dimensions editor window
  • Select the dimension column which need to be set as required column
  • Tick the “Required column” setting to enable the function.

Required columns in Workday Adaptive Planning

Do note that to use the new Required Column check box, you shouldn’t select the “Read Only” check box. Otherwise, users will not be able to input into the required column.

Once enabled, you should see the “Required Column Indicator” display in the Modelled sheet.

To make it easier to identify required columns, Workday Adaptive Planning now:

  • Displays a red asterisk in the header of required columns.
  • Highlights the cell when it is missing data.

Required column indicator

As you can see in the above screenshot where it is highlighted and with an asterisk symbol: If a required column is not filled in, the reminder on the row header and the field will be displayed. You can’t save data on the sheet until you fill data in the required column.

Required Columns on Modelled Sheet Data Import

If a modelled sheet has required columns, the import template will indicate the column in the “Required” section.

Required columns in modelled sheets

You will encounter an error on import if the required columns are not filled in.

How to Erase Data in Workday Adaptive Planning

In 2021R2, Workday Adaptive enhanced the Erase Data functionality such that you can now erase plan or actuals data. (Previously, you could only erase data for the “Actual” version.) This improves the user experience and provides more consistency with the user interface of the eraseData API and the integration loaders.

Please note: Access rules don’t apply to the Erase Data functionality. Any user with access to Erase Data can delete data for any level, version, account, and time intersection.

How to turn on: Enable Erase Data

This has to be turned on by an Administrator: 

Administrator > General Setup.

Erase Data in General Setup

Click “Enable Integration Loaders – Erase Data”

Enable Integration Loaders - Erase Data

Erase Data Permissions

Users can only see the Erase Data menu if they have been assigned with Erase Data permissions.

You can find the permission sets in the Edit Permission Set window:

Administration > Permission Sets

Erase Data permissions in Workday Adaptive Planning  

Under “Import Capabilities”, tick “Erase Data”.

Click Erase Data under Import Capabilities

Please Note: Users must have access to the “Import to All Locations” permission before you can add them to the Erase Data permission.

Data Import

The Erase data functionality is usually used in conjunction with data import either via using the manual import -> Import Data menu or importing via the integration Data Loaders.

It is always good practice to consider the intersections required on the specific data upload, define the data set to erase so that only data going to be reloading is erased. (Erasing data outside the scope of upload can cause unwanted data to be lost.)

Ie. Select specific version, specific accounts and level etc.

For manual imports

Integration > Manual Import > Erase Data

Go to Integration, Manual Import, Erase Data

Please make sure you read and understand the “Warning” carefully in below Erase Data window.

Read warning information when erasing data

The more specific you are in selecting the above options, the better.

For Data Loader import

You can find the “Erase Setting” window in the second page of the data loader setup screens:

Erase setting for Data Loader import

The version Parameter and the Period Parameter generally are defaulted to the same setting as the “Data Source Setting” page.

To add or modify parameters, you can get to the Action pane on the left-hand side of the Data Loader Editor window, such as below screenshot.

How to edit parameters in Workday Adaptive Planning

Below is a screenshot of creating a new “Erase Accounts” parameter.

Erase Accounts parameter in Workday Adaptive Planning

For more details on this topic, check out Workday Adaptive Planning’s article on how to define datasets on Erase Data functionality.

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