Sigma workbooks are data exploration tools for both Business Intelligence (BI) developers and spreadsheet-savvy analysts. Workbooks are similar to spreadsheets in that they have pages and display data in tables and pivot tables. Workbooks are similar to BI tools in that they provide dashboard-like displays that can include charts, graphs, controls, tables, texts, and images. 

Workbooks enable both ad hoc data exploration and complex BI presentations and reporting. The collaborative interface and visual approach to data interaction in Sigma makes data accessible to everyone in your organization, and teams can draw insights from large amounts of data.

This document introduces you to workbooks and links to more resources. 


Workbooks lifecycle states

Data used in workbooks

What's in a workbook


Editor panel


Toolbar and function bar

Note for worksheet users

Related resources

Workbook lifecycle states

Workbooks have three states: explore, draft, and publish.

When you create a workbook it is in an explore state until you actively save the first version. You can keep a workbook in the explore state and never save it. For example, you may need conduct ad hoc data exploration and analysis that is only needed in the current moment, and you don't want to clutter folders with one-off documents. Unsaved workbooks are called explorations and are available in the Recents page for 30 days.

Save a workbook for continuing your analysis and setting up reporting. If you decide to share your exploration with your colleagues, publish the workbook. 

For more information see Workbook lifecycle: explore, draft, and publish and Workbook modes: view, explore, and edit.


Data used in workbooks

Workbooks use data from multiple sources, including tables in a Cloud Data Warehouse (CDW) and your organization's Sigma datasets. Your data is always live, accessible at scale, and cannot be deleted or corrupted. 

For more information about data modeling, see: Data modeling in Sigma and Data modeling tutorial.

What's in a workbook 

This section introduces you to the basic components of workbooks. The screenshots show a workbook in Edit mode.


Pages and page tabs

A workbook contains one or more pages. Page tabs, located at the bottom of the screen, show different pages in the workbook.

Page menu

Each page has a menu. When a workbook is in view mode, such as when it is provided to Viewers, it allows users to export (download) a page as a PDF file. 


In edit mode, Creators have more options for pages, including delete, rename, hide, duplicate, and Add new page. For more information about hiding page see Hidden pages and controls in workbooks.


Page canvas

Each workbook page has a canvas on which you can place elements such as tables, pivot tables, text, controls, images, and visualizations.

Editor panel

The workbook editor panel, on the left side of the screen, allows you to interact with and update elements in your workbook.

When you select a new or existing element, the editor panel automatically displays that specific element’s configuration.

The editor panel content changes depending on how you are currently interacting with the workbook. For example, it displays one view when adding a new element and alternative views when configuring different element types.

Access to the editor panel depends on your workbook view mode.


You arrange elements on the page canvas. Element types include:

  • Data elements (tables, visualizations, and pivot tables)
  • UI elements (text, images, buttons, embeds, spacers, and dividers)
  • Control elements (filters and parameters)

In workbooks, tables and pivot tables are not considered types of visualizations. Visualizations, tables, and pivot tables are separate elements in the data elements category.

For more information about elements see Intro to element types.

Toolbar and formula bar

The toolbar, located directly under the workbook header, gives you quick access to select actions, formatting options, and the formula bar. The toolbar content changes depending on the element you have selected, and undo, redo, and page theming functions are always displayed.

When you select a column in a data element, you can view and edit the column's formula in the toolbar only if you have Can Edit or Can Explore access to the workbook. For more information see Folder and Document Permission.


Information for legacy worksheet users

If you previously used Sigma worksheets or dashboards, you may be familiar with the process of creating multiple worksheets to source visualizations for a single dashboard. Workbooks alleviate this workflow by allowing you to build your analysis exactly where it is displayed to your report consumers.


Related resources 

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