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Filters are used to limit the information displayed to users of PPO. Examples of filters include only showing open tasks, only showing projects in the financial programme, only showing tasks planned to start in the next five days, and so on. This article deals with the basic methods for setting up a filter and these steps can be applied to all types of filters (for more information on the types of filters, see the following knowledge base article) and in all business rules (for more information on business rules, see the following knowledge base article).
To add a filter, click on the Add Filter icon. This icon will be available everywhere a filter can be applied, such as on report parameters and the filter functionality within the administration module.
To edit an existing filter, click on the Edit Filter icon (a pencil). This icon will be available everywhere a filter has been applied.
The Filter Add or Filter Edit page will open in a separate window.
The steps to set up a new filter are as follows:
1. Specify a filter name. The filter name should be descriptive enough to indicate the purpose of the filter.
2. Click on the Add Filter Items icon (plus icon). The Filter Item section will open at the bottom of the window.
3. Specify the filter item. Filter items are made up of three parts: a field, an operator and a value. It is the combination of these three parts that will determine which items will be shown and which will be filtered out. For example, if you only want to show projects in the project office department, your field will be Department, the operator is Equals and the value is Project Office. This will result in all projects in departments other than the project office to be filtered out and only project office projects will be shown. See the next section in this article for detailed information on filter item options.
4. Submit the filter item. Multiple filter items can be added to each filter, so in our example, we could create another filter item for "Active is equal to True" to thus only shows active project office projects. Each filter item has to be submitted individually before the next filter item can be added.
5. Specify the evaluation expression. The evaluation expression is used to combine all the filter items that have been set up. The combinations can result in only showing items that apply to all criteria (using the AND expression), or showing items that apply to any of the criteria (using the OR expression). See the section on the evaluation expression later in this article for detailed information.
6. Submit the filter. This will save and apply the filter.
To edit an existing filter, click on the filter item you want to edit.
The Filter Item section will open at the bottom of the window, allowing the user to edit the criteria.
Using the three parts of a filter item (field, operator and value), PPO allows users to set up a wide range of filter items.
The operator of the filter item changes depending on the type of field chosen. For example, a Yes / No type field will only allow for an "Equals" or "Does not equal" evaluation expression.
When a text field is selected, the operator allows for "Equals", "Does not equal", "Starts with", "Ends with", "Contains" and "Is empty".
The value input box will also change depending on the type of field selected.
In addition, PPO provides some advanced options with regards to filtering, for example employee aware filtering, using dates in filters, filtering using empty fields and chained filters.
PPO allows users to set up employee aware filters. This means that a filter can be set up for the project or related entity, while using information from the employee entity.
An example is a user group filter that allows users to only see projects that are assigned to the same department as the users are assigned to on their employee records.
The user group filter will then look as follows:
If an employee aware filter can be set up, the option will be available from the top of the values custom list.
Note: Employee aware filters can only be set up if the same custom list is being used on the two entities involved. In the example above, the department field on the project is using the same custom list as the department field on the employee entity.
Filters can also be customised using dates. For example, a filter can be applied to the tasks entity to only show tasks that are planned to start within the next set number of days (the number of days can be defined by the user). This can specifically be used on the user's home page and will allow the user to focus on only the most relevant tasks and not see all their tasks for all projects, some of which may only be applicable in a couple of months time.
When a date field is selected, the value input box for the filter item will allow two options.
The filter can be set up to comply with a date range (number of days from today).
Or a specific date can be selected.
Filters can also be applied to show empty fields. This is very useful when trying to create visibility of data gaps for data quality purposes and for making fields required using business rules. For more information on setting up business rules, see the following knowledge base article.
To set up a filter using an empty field, select the "Is empty" option in the Operator field. For example, to show a list of tasks that don't have someone selected in the Responsibility field, set up the filter as follows:
This filter item can also be used in business rules to specify that certain fields should be required (not empty) based on specified conditions or exceptions. For detailed steps on how to set up this type of validation rule, see the following FAQ.
Filters applied on employee list type fields, project list type fields and programme list type fields can further be customised by making use of chained filters. Chained filters allow users to set up filters on projects and project related entities using information captured on the employee, project or programme entity.
Examples of chained filters include:
- Only show projects where the programme selected on the project's programme manager is Ravi Naidoo;
- Only show issues that are assigned to employees that are in the project office;
- Only show approvals where the project type is financial.
To set up a chained filter, the following steps need to be followed:
1. Set up a personal filter on the employee, project or programme entity that supplies the information required from that entity. For example, to set up a chained filter that will only show issues that are assigned to employees that are in the project office, the first step would be to add a personal filter on the employee entity to only show employees whose department is "Project Office".
The newly added personal filter will now be available on the employees entity.
2. Set up the filter on the intended entity. In our example above, the next filter should be set up on the issues entity. When setting up a filter on an employee list type field, project list type field or programme list type field, an additional operator will be available, namely "In".
To set up the chained filter, select the "in" operator and then select the employee filter that was set up in step 1.
3. Submit the filter item and submit the filter.
This chained filter, if applied to the Issues List page, will only show issues that are assigned to employees that are in the Project Office (i.e. employees where the employee department field is "Project Office").
Using the steps provided above, a whole range of chained filters can be set up using information from the employees, projects and programme entities.
It's important to note that shared filters can only be used in chained filters if the filter is being set up within the administration module (i.e. as a global filter, user group filter, business rule filter, etc).
When a chained filter is set up outside of the administration module, only personal filters can be used.
This is to allow the user full control over their filters. If a shared filter were used in a chained filter outside of the administration module, the shared filter could be modified or even deleted by the administrator, thereby impacting the user.
The evaluation expression is used to combine all the filter items that have been set up. Boolean expressions such as AND and OR can be used to combine filter items. Note that there is a limit to the length of an evaluation expression.
Using the AND expression will show items that align to all the filter items listed. In the example above, the filter will only show projects where the active field is true AND the project department is project office.
Using the OR expression will show items that align to any of the filter items listed. In the example above, the filter will show projects where the active field is true (irrespective of whether the project department is project office or not) OR projects where the project department is project office(irrespective of whether the active field is true).
To edit the evaluation expression, click on the pencil next to the evaluation expression box.
Please note that when you edit a filter, the Evaluation Expression defaults back to “AND” if you had it as “OR”, but if you wanted to reset the filter expression to AND all the way through, simply click on the bin icon.
To delete a filter, click on the Delete menu item from the actions menu on the Filter Edit page.
Individual filter items can be deleted by selecting the filter item and clicking on the Delete button.