Before we get started I'd like to point out that with Microsoft Dynamics 365 Business Central being built on the Microsoft Dynamics NAV platform this post can also be applied to Microsoft Dynamics NAV users. However, it may not be 100% accurate. Also, this will be a multi-part blog post series.
Alright, what is a dimension? A dimension is a term used in Microsoft Dynamics to define an analysis.
Dimensions consist of Dimension Values which are subcategories of an analysis.
There are two major types of Dimensions in D365 for Financials and they are global and shortcut. Shortcut dimensions are the basic type of dimension and they are used on journals, sales, purchase lines, as well as master data such as customers.
Here's an example of dimensions applied to a customer:
We can see that the dimensions Customergroup, Department, and Area have been applied with the dimension values (subcategories) Medium, Sales, and 20. This means that this customer is a medium sized business, Department = Sales, and that the Area is located in North America (20). So why are these dimension important? Well medium, for instance, is important if we want to filter by how much revenue is coming from medium sized customers.
You'll see them on the fasttab in the General Ledger Setup screen.
Here we have two Global Dimensions, Department and Area. It's important to note that Business Central only allows you to have two global dimensions.
In addition to these global dimensions being used on journals, sales, purchase lines and master data, they can also be used as filters on the chart of accounts.
Hopefully this post gives you a very basic understanding of what a Dimension is and how to access them in Business Central. Part II of this multi-blog post series will cover how to create Dimensions and Dimension values in Business Central.