BusinessObjects Board

Scheduling Report and Adding Date/Time to File Name - %SI_STARTTIME%

Hi all,

I have a requirement to schedule Webi report and send via SFTP. The file name needs to be specific to be accepted by the other side and it must contain the date and time at the end. I understand that i can define a specific file name and add the following place holder %SI_STARTTIME% to apply a date time as part of the scheduling process, however this is outputting in the following format


I must have it read as


I know the ability to format the date has been a historic issue however, has anyone found a way to resolve please?

4.3 Support Pack 3 Patch 5

To my knowledge, SAP has not released a method for doing this. Nor have I seen any mention of some sort of work around.

Thanks for the response John. I can see people have raised this is the past. It seems like such a simple thing they have never bothered to address. Unfortunately, the recipient cant accept the -'s so its going to mean using a third party application to alter the file name and issue the document via SFTP but outside of Business Objects which completely defeats the object.

I wont get into the fact the document/report needs to go as an XML file, which SAP don’t seem to have considered with Webi either. The work around of having to create the report in Crystal is far from ideal to say the least!

This drives me crazy. Here is a thread that seems to be talking about exactly what you want to do. It looks like they eventually get it worked out with publication using dynamic recipients, but do not say exactly how they did it.

I tried messing around with a publication. IMO, very confusing and poorly documented. Not surprisingly, I did not get it figured out.

BTW, I requested this functionality at the beginning of 2016. (SAP login may be required)

It is marked as “Delivered” sometime in 2020. However, it seems the only thing delivered was the %SI_DATE% placeholder rather than the ability to format the date in any way we choose.

you can do it with an ugly publication, or
if there is also a transformation to xml needed, use some simple third-party-tool
like EasyDataTransform (€ 90,-) to make your life much easier :wink:

Part of the issue with respect of the XML is that the recipient requires it in a specific format. I had to reverse engineer the XML template to a XSL. Which allowed me to import this file into Crystal to get the desired XML output, whilst also allowing scheduling to a SFTP. Im not sure of the functionality of EasyDataTransform but its something i will look into if all else fails.

Its the first time I have needed to do this and also the first time i have needed to use Crystal. It feels like im going backwards, having to build a report in Crystal to then schedule in Webi to allow an output as XML. It’s working and I’ve had success in sending a file. Its just the file name that has become an issue

Maybe you can create a publication with Dynamic Recipients. The report of the Dynamic Recipients will need to have a output in result query with the date formatted in the way you want it to be. You can then use this column as a variable for the file name.

Thanks for this. Ive not had to deal with Publications before so im struggling a little. I have created a Variable in a separate BO report that outputs the Date/Time of the report refresh with the correct date time format however im struggling to know how to get to that variable in the publication.

Do you know if there is anywhere explaining how to do this as im struggling to find anything on this issue?

I have logged a change request to SAP, however, ive noticed someone else raised the same issue and it was denied due to the lack of votes which is a little frustrating!

Post a link to your change request here on BOB so we can vote for it.

I get notices from the site for new events. I just got the notice for yours and voted for it but everyone may not get those.

Thanks John much appreciated

Improvement Request Details - Customer Influence (

ID is 312495

1 Like

@NathanBO even more frustrating is waiting years then SAP only partially implementing my request.

Had they fully implemented it you would have what you need.

@nscheaffer Wow it only took them 4 years!?!?! Am i right in thinking they merely added a Date only option, rather than your suggestion?

Do you have any idea what the acceptance criteria is for these types of change requests? Is it solely down to the number of votes?

Yes, they only added %SI_DATE%. It is my understanding an idea needs 5 votes to be considered. I do not know what their criteria is beyond that. Four years is on the quick side from what I have seen.

Conditionally Hide Tabs took 8.5 years for SAP to implement. However, we are never on the very latest version so it was nearly 10 years until we got that functionality earlier this year.

I just celebrated the 11th birthday of Allow expressions/formulas in the parameter values of scheduled reports. :birthday: :partying_face:

The formatting should come from the database query as you don’t relate to the data in how it’s being displayed.

Good Afternoon People.
I documented the publication process I use. Unfortunalty the screen shots in teh document contain too much personal info. But here is the text. If enough people like it I can re-do a few screen shots and one of the mods can store the doc somewhere ?

Since I started working with BOBJ, Webi & Crystal reports the only way to add a date to an email subject line, or to a file name was to use an ugly “Date Time Stamp”

However I have found a way to make friendly dates that can be used in a publication
The process takes advantage of the ‘personalization’ feature in a publication.
It is not done in the Webi or Crystal report. But by the ‘driver file’ used to distribute the reports.
So only works for Publications – but is not dependent on “bursting” the job.
I have only tested this with Webi and Crystal Enterprise – Webi works fine as the report source, but not the driver.
CRE works as a driver file. Maybe CR2013?

Build your “Driver File”
Once you have created the main columns of your driver file, you should add a series of formula variables that produce the desired date format(s) in the driver file. An example file is here: BOBJprd…\zz.SiteListwithDate

In the example I created dates fields for Current Date, Next Month & Previous month.
If you are intending to use the date in a file name you should avoid the “.” & the “/” characters. But there is nothing stopping you creating 2 columns with a file name style and a text style: 19SEP2017 and 19/09/2017

Once you have the outputs in the format you want: set the driver file to refresh every night at 00:01. When the job runs the current date is updated every day. Of course on the 1st day of the month, the next and previous will update too.

Building your Main report.
Proceed as per normal building your report. ( I used Webi )
The last step in building your report is to create a “placeholder” in your report.

In Webi, the best way to do this is to add a Dimension Detail Variable like this:
Note: I have attached the variable to a relevant dimension object already in my report - Cal Year/Month (3)
There is no need for any value to be derived (4)

Building your Publication Job.
The bulk of the setup of your publication is as per any other publication job.
But when you set up the personalization add entries to map the report placeholder(s) to the required Date variable in your driver file.
In the example Below I have connected the following:
• “Z0PLANT” field in my Driver to the [SITE] in my query, **this is mandatory to get the publication to burst.
• The Cal Year Month Dimension mapped to “Today Month” from the driver.
• CurrentDate Dim’ Detail mapped to Todays_Date from the driver.
• Date_txt1 (Another Dim Detail) mapped to the Next_Month from the driver.

Once the personalization’s are setup, you can carry on and configure the destinations. In this case I am sending an email


Too much personal info? Give a tool like Greenshot a try. You can markup screenshots in all sorts of ways.