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Home » BI Admin, BI Tools

BI Dashboard: Flex Theme Designer Makes it Personal

Submitted by on 2012-10-18 – 7:29 AM 2 Comments

The first thing many customers want to do is make their SAS BI Dashboard to look more like “them”.  They want their organizational branding (their logo, colors, and corporate identity). If that task has fallen on your, here’s some guidance about how to accomplish that task.

What the Heck is the Flex Theme Designer?


The SAS BI Dashboard is an Adobe Flash application.  It can be customized using the SAS Theme Designer for Flex application.  The Theme Designer is also a Flash-based application available from the browser that allows you to control the look of the SAS flash-based applications at your site. Moreover, you can move the themes between environments. Here’s a screenshot that shows the application.  From the left side (User Interface Components) you can change the various elements, such as colors of buttons, menus, or landing page. The right pane shows how the various changes appear to the user.

Here’s a few things about the application to keep in mind:

  • You cannot manually edit the supporting files.  All changes are made through the GUI.
  • Not everything can be customized – but enough that you should be able to accomplish your goals.
You can find out more about the application abilities and limitations in the SAS user docs:   SAS® Theme Designer 3.4 for Flex: User’s Guide

What’s Available from the Designer?

There are three default styles shipped with the Flex Designer: SAS Corporate, SAS Dark, and SAS Light, shown below.  Note: The theme name is written on the figure in the top-left corner in yellow and red.  I added this to help distinguish the themes – so don’t worry it does not appear on the actual page!

Notice how the colors and backgrounds change not only in the dashboard but also the window surrounding it. These themes are offered as a template to assist you in designing your own palette.

  • SAS Corporate is the default theme; you can only change the default logo. No other changes will appear – even though it appears to have the change set.
  • SAS Dark looks like it’s designed for a mobile platform.
    Notice that the text in the prompt seems to disappear, the lines on the chart, and the text around the line chart.  This would be a good area to start experimenting with the colors.
  • SAS Light is similar to SAS Corporate – but notice that SAS Corporate uses more blues around the indicators, such as title bars.  Changing the color of the bars might be a good place to start experimenting.

Just a warning before you start making changes! If the new theme is not well planned, you can produce some really ugly, tacky, and horrible results.  If the change is more than adding the company logo or changing the color of a title bar, consider having a web designer assist you.  There are a lot of resources on the Web about good design, color choices, and usability. Some of those sources may help you with the planning and color choices.

Opening SAS Theme Designer for Flex

Before you can use the application, you must have the Theme Designer for Flex: Administration role assigned to your profile.  Use caution when assigning the role or making changes to themes, the changes affect all of the users. If done improperly, the results may not be what you want.  Might be better if your organization has a play area for this type of work.  Of course you can always get back to your default – so not necessarily the end of the world.   Here’s the setting in the SAS Management Console.


To use the application, you must open a Web browser and go to the following location.

http://<machine name>:<port number>/SASThemeDesignerForFlex

 Setting a Default Theme

After opening the Theme Designer, do the following to set a new default theme:

  1. From the Tools menu, select Set Default Theme. A pop-up window appears.
  2. Select the theme you want and click Ok.

To see the new theme, open the BI Dashboard and it will use the new default theme. If you already have the BI Dashboard open, click the Refresh button or press F5.
Tip! If the refresh does not work, close all open Web browsers and log on again.

More to Come

In an upcoming post, I’ll show you how to add a logo and change some of the other settings to make the BI Dashboard yours!  If you have already made some changes to your dashboard and you want to show it off – send me a screen capture.

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Tricia Aanderud

Director of Data Visualization at Zencos Consulting
Tricia Aanderud is a SAS Business Intelligence and Visual Analytics consultant based in Raleigh, NC who works for Zencos Consulting. She has written several books about SAS, presented papers at many SAS conferences, and has been using SAS since 2001. Contact her for assistance with your next project.
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  • I was planning that for a future post. I”ll move it up the schedule.


    Hi Tricia,

    I would love to know, how to removm the logo from the BI DAshboard. It will be great if, you can tell us how to add a image in the BI Dashboard. Look forward!