Information Design Tool

The Information Design Tool (IDT) is the new tool in the Business Objects 4.0 toolset that is used to build universes. In the Business Objects 3.1 suite the tool used to design universes was the universe design tool. The universe design tool does come with the Business Objects 4.0 package but it is basically used for .unv universes(old) . The Information Design Tool creates universes that have a .unx ending.

Some of the main new features of the Information Design Tool

  • Multi-source relational universes
  • Able to access relational tables of an SAP BW InfoCube (star-schema)
  • Able to access SAP ERP data
  • Able to create projects for multi-developer access
  • Separating table structure and joins as a data foundation from the universe objects and classes, which is now called the Business Layer

In order to create a universe with the Information Design Tool (IDT) you have to do the following:

  1. Create a Project
  2. Create a Connection
  3. Create a Data foundation
  4. Create a Business layer
  5. Last part is to publish the Universe so Web Intelligence, Crystal Reports and other tools can utilize the universe.

Now let’s dive deeper into each area

First we have to launch the Information Design Tool, go to ‘Start Menu’ ->’SAP Business Intelligence’ – >’SAP Business Objects BI Platform 4 Client Tools’


Once you click on the Information Design Tool the following GUI will pop up showing that the software is loading.


  1. Creating a Project

    File -> New Project


  1. Creating a Connection

    You will now need to go to your Repository Resource and establish a connection. Once the connection has been established you can proceed with creating a relational connection. Right click and click ‘Insert Relational Connection’



    I called the relation connection ‘Flat File’, I’ll proceed with creating a connection to a .csv file



  2. Creating a Data Foundation (.dfx)

    Data foundation is a term from the Information Design Tool, a new tool added to BO 4.0 for creation of the Universe or a semantic layer.

    Data Foundation is that part of the IDT interface, which displays tables inserted from the database for the Universe creation and joins created. Compared to old Universe Designer interface, Data Foundation is nothing but the ‘Structure Pane’ from the Universe Designers in the earlier version of Business Objects, which displayed the tables and joins.

Information Design Tool provides two types of Data Foundations,

  • Single Source Data Foundation and
  • Multi Source Data Foundation

 Single Source Data Foundation,

  • As the name suggest Single Source data foundation supports single database connection
  • Support Database Specific SQL Syntax
  • Allows local or secured connection
  • Allows universes to be published locally or secured server

 Multi Source Universe,

  • Opposed to Single Source DF, Multi source allows use of Multiple database connections
  • Does not allow Universe to be published locally or use local connections,
  • The Universe has to be published to the repository to be used as a secured connection
  • Multi Source universe allows you to fetch data from multiple data sources varying in types like relational & OLAP.

Let’s create a new Data Foundation ‘File -> New -> Data Foundation’



  1. Creating a Business Layer (.blx)

Depending on the type of data source for the business layer, you can create and edit the following types of objects in the business layer:

  • Dimensions
  • Measures
  • Hierarchies (OLAP only)
  • Analysis dimensions (OLAP only)
  • Attributes
  • Filters
  • Named Member sets (OLAP only)
  • Calculated member sets (OLAP only)
  • Folders

Let’s get started, right click on the project -> New -> Business Layer



Select Relation Data Foundation and click Next


Name your Universe and click Next


Pick the data foundation



Now click Finish

  1. Publishing the Universe

Right click on the .blx file


Publish to repository



Click the Next button


Save the Universe to wherever you want and click Finish. You will now be able to utilize the Universe for any of your reporting needs.

This is a brief description of the steps in order to create a Universe using the Information Design Tool (IDT). In future post my plan is to elaborate on the Data Federation Layer and the Business Layer,

Anyways if you have any questions on the post please send me an email at info@vynesolutions.com