Advanced: Add an up- or down-pointing arrow to show change over time

Sure, numbers are great, but sometimes you just need to see if a number is going up or down. In this example, a picture is worth a thousand words, so here’s the finished product:

Here, the arrows show how each agent’s average handle time this week is different from their handle time last week. Having a lower handle time this week than last week is good, so the down-pointing arrows are green, and the up-pointng arrows are red.

For this example, we will create a custom measure. Just like it sounds, a custom measure is based on one of Data Explorer’s standard measures but then customized.


Before you can create a custom measure, you need to know:

  • Which standard measure you’ll be customizing. In our example, the standard measure is “Average Handle Time - Agent by Interval and Service Queue.”
  • The time period that you want to compare. In our example, we want to compare last week’s number of contacts to this week’s number of contacts, so our time period is “week.”

PREREQUISITE   The arrows come from the character map on your computer. How to get to this map will vary based on your computer, but try searching for “character map” in your computer’s search field. When we enter the arrows in the Content Attributes field in step 6, copy each arrow from the map.

  1. In the Question panel, under What, click [measure]. The Select Measure window opens.

    NOTE   There’s a lot going on in this window, and it might not open big enough for you to see everything. Don’t be shy about making it bigger or resizing the panels if you need to.

  2. Click Custom (upper right corner).
  3. Enter a name for the new measure in the Name field. (Ours is “Change from Last Week.”)
  4. Double-click the standard measure from the second column. Information about the standard measure appears below the columns, and the measure appears in the Formula pane.

    NOTE   Sometimes a measure’s display name (what it’s called in a report) is different from its identifier (what it’s called behind the scenes). In the example above, the display name is “Average Handle Time - Agent by Interval and Service Queue,” and the identifier is “AverageHandleSeconds.”

  5. Enter a formula in the Formula field that follows this pattern: [AverageHandleSeconds]-timeShiftValue([AverageHandleSeconds], [Interval Start], “Week”, -1)

    NOTE   The [brackets] here are literal brackets that you type, not a placeholder for something else. “AverageHandleSeconds” is our measure identifier, and “Week” is the time period.

  6. In the Content Attributes field, enter <RANGE :0- <REPLACE “▼”;FORECOLOR green>; RANGE 0:0 <REPLACE “▬”;FORECOLOR yellow>; RANGE 0+: REPLACE “▲”;FORECOLOR red>>

    This formula tells Data Explorer to show a green down-pointing arrow for numbers under zero, a yellow dash for zero, and a red up-pointing arrow for numbers above zero.

  7. Click Apply. The Measure window closes, and the colored arrows appear in your report. Pretty neat, huh?
  8. Click Save.

Want more content attributes?

We’re biased, but we think content attributes are pretty neat, and there are a lot more of them than what we’ve covered here. A full list of all content attributes and how to use them is here: About content attributes.

Keep learning about Data Explorer

Our Data Explorer library has a great collection of guides for people who are new to Data Explorer or are looking to grow their skills. Check them out!

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