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The public documentation of the changes from one version to another is a major part of the Standards Change Process. The following table shows the changes which have been made and provides links to the respective sections of the Standards: 



Documentation of changes




















Many comments have been made to IBCS v1.0 draft 2, most of revealing small mistakes, suggesting minor improvements, or just discussing certain topics. No major changes have been made to design rules published with IBCS v1.0 draft 2. Here you can download a detailed listing of all comments to IBCS v1.0 draft 2 and what changes they will cause in the final release. Publication of the final release is planned for end of July, 2015.



DRAFT 2 OF IBCS V1.0 (AS OF 2015-01-19)

The feedback from Stephen Few and many others on the first draft showed three fundamental weaknesses in the structure of IBCS v1.0 draft 1:

  1. The “conceptual” principles included in the SUCCESS rules sets SAY and STRUCTURE are still missing.
  2. General “perceptual” principles such as avoiding clutter are spread all over the document and not located in a single part. The main problem is that fully accepted perceptional rules are mixed up with semantic rules being just practical suggestions and lacking a scientific background.
  3. It is hard to differentiate the standard principals (e.g. period types are visualized by category widths) from suggestions for their practical application (e.g. the category width for months is 3.0 fs).

The new document structure addresses these weaknesses and has been changed as follows:

  1. A completely new part on conceptual rules covering the SUCCESS rules sets SAY and STRUCTURE has been added.
  2. A new structured part is collecting the perceptual rules formerly mentioned in other parts such as choosing the appropriate chart type (EXPRESS), avoiding clutter (SIMPLIFY), increasing information density (CONDENSE), and ensuring visual integrity (CHECK).
  3. The standardized design of text elements (e.g. messages, titles) moves from the former part design of components into the former part notation of meaning, which is now called semantic rules and corresponding with the UNIFY rules set of SUCCESS.
  4. The specification of suggested layout details (e.g. fs and RGB values) has been completely removed from the part semantic rules.
  5. Former Appendix A (Font-size based dimensioning) has been integrated in the remaining former part design of components. This part now contains Rolf’s design suggestions only. Therefore it is renamed “Hichert’s IBCS style guide”, separated from the IBCS Standards and is only available on demand.
Based on the comments which have been made to IBCS v1.0 draft 1, a few changes have also been made to design rules. Here you can download a detailed listing of all comments to IBCS v1.0 draft 1 and what changes they have caused in draft 2.




DRAFT 1 OF IBCS V1.0 (AS OF 2014-02-17)

It is difficult to describe “what’s new” as long as there is no well-documented earlier version to compare to. But we give it a try and list the major aspects that we think could be new to HICHERT®IBCS Certified Consultants. Please note, that all hyperlinks refer to the outdated draft 1.


1 bEUR   

= 1 000 mEUR   

= 1 000 000 kEUR   

= 1 000 000 000 EUR   

Multplier prefixes for currencies

Use lower case characters to better differentiate from the currency abbreviations and use single digit multiplier prefixes in order to save space, such as “k” for thousand, “m” for million and “b” for billion.



Width of columns and bars for basic measures

In general, for basic measures the column width in column charts and the bar width in bar charts is 2/3 of the category width.

See 1.2.1 and

Optional shapes for distinguishing values from volumes

If it is helpful to distinguish volumes from values in a chart or a table, visuals for representing volume measures could have round corners whereas value measures remain in angular shape. In line charts and for the heads of pins, circle shaped markers could be used for volume measures whereas the markers for value measures remain square shaped.


Width of columns and bars for ratios

In general, the width of both bars and columns representing ratios is 1/3 of the category width. This is 50% of the width of bars and columns representing basic measures (comment: This applies also to ratios measured in percent).

See 1.2.2 and

Scenario triangles

Groupings of more than two scenarios tend to become confusing and therefore should be avoided. If it is necessary to show a third scenario, a triangle symbol with the respective area coding (e.g. gray for PY) should represent this third scenario. This triangle symbol is positioned on the left hand side pointing to the right of grouped columns or on the upper side of grouped bars pointing down.

See and


Width of columns and bars for absolute variances

If absolute variances are displayed in columns or bars (“variance columns” resp. “variance bars”), these variance columns or bars have the same width and scale as the corresponding base value columns or bars.

See and

Color of pins

Pins representing a positive impact on business issues (mainly result) are colored green; pins representing a negative impact on business issues are colored red (comment: The PINS are colored, not the heads).

The scenario notation is applied to the fill of the heads, e.g. solid black fill for AC and hatched black and white fill for FC.

See and


Underscore prefix for YTD

If it is helpful, analyses showing YTD-values could be visualized by prefixing the time period name with an underscore, e.g. “_2013-Jun” or “_JunØ” respectively. In charts the underscores could be added as a kind of prefix at the left hand side of the end of columns resp. the upper side of the end of bars.



Tilde prefix for moving annuals

If it is helpful, moving analyses could be visualized by prefixing the time period namewith a tilde, e.g. “~2013-Jun” or “~JunØ” respectively. In charts the tilde could be added as a kind of prefix at the left hand side of the end of columns resp. the upper side of the end of bars.



Names for combined chart types

+Overlay charts: In an overlay chart, two or more basic charts overlap. These overlapping charts always use the same category axis.

+Multi-tier charts: In a multi-tier chart, additional charts are shifted in parallel to the category axis of the primary chart.

+Extended charts: In an extended chart, additional charts are arranged next to the primary chart by virtually extending the category axis.


Position and offset for grouped columns and bars

The columns (bars) representing actual or forecast data are always displayed horizontally (vertically) centered with the categories, and they are positioned in the foreground. Columns (bars) representing a reference scenario are presented “overlapped” because of two reasons: (1) The category width stays the same for single and grouped columns (bars) and (2) this arrangement saves space. A horizontal (vertikal) offset of 0.3 fs for the reference column (bar) works well in practice.


Position of columns, bars, and pins

In general, columns, bars and pins start vertically in the middle of the axis (comment: Columns, bars and pins are always displayed in the foreground. Axes and pin heads are in the background).

See and


Outlier triangles

The data visualization elements (frequently pins, in rare cases columns and bars) representing outliers are cut at an appropriate length. The triangle is positioned at the end of the cut data visualization element pointing in the direction of growth. The data label overlays the end of the cut data visualization element next to the triangle.


Font-size based dimensioning

Most often two and more different font-sizes are being used on one page. IBCS defines the most frequently used font-size i.e. for comments and labels to be “fs”. The font-size “fs” is called the generic font-size, every other dimension is expressed as a factor of fs, e.g. the thickness of non-semantic axes is 0.1 fs.

See A1



© 2015 IBCS Association. Except where otherwise noted licensed under Creative Commons BY-SA 4.0 International.