Constructing Questions for Ask Zia

Ask Zia understands the underlying intention of your questions, and generates appropriate reports accordingly. However, similar to the communication gaps in human interactions, there may be some miscommunication while using Ask Zia.

This section details how you can best communicate with Ask Zia. 

Constructing questions

Ask Zia provides the flexibility of putting forth questions in any format, regardless of the phrasing or the words used. Here are the different types of questions you can use with Ask Zia. 

Structured questions

Questions that are fully formed structured sentences can be used with Ask Zia. For example,

Show me the sales grouped by country for the year 2018

Unstructured questions

Fragmented and incomplete sentences can also be posted as questions to Ask Zia. For example,

India sales in 2019

WH questions

WH Questions (i.e. questions starting with 'When', 'Where', 'How', etc. ) are acceptable in Ask Zia. For example,

What is the last year profit?

Explicit information

Questions that contain explicit information (i.e. names of columns present your tables) can be used in Ask Zia. For example,the below question will generate a chart of region wise sales, where Sales and Region are two columns from the Sales table.

Get me the sales across the regions

Implicit information

Phrasing questions that contain terms that refer to, or imply, some of the columns present in tables are acceptable in Ask Zia. For example, the below question displays your sales across each month. In this scenario, Ask Zia will identify the term 'Monthly', relate it to a date column and display the corresponding values. 

Monthly Sales

Column Value

You can phrase questions about the data present in different columns in a table. In this case, Ask Zia identifies the word West as a value in the column Region, and displays a chart filtering out that value.

Get me sales across regions except west

Across tables

You can ask for metrics across tables in your dataset. Ask Zia will interpret it based on how you have joined the tables using Lookup column. In this example, the column Sales is from the Sales table and the column Targeted Sales is from Regional Target table. 

sales vs target by region

Formula Columns

Questions can also be posted about formula metrics created over data tables. For example, 'Region wise profit for 2018', displays the profit distribution for the year 2018, where Profit is a formula column created over the Sales table. Click here to know more about formulas. 

Typographical Error

Your question can contain a typographical error. Ask Zia can interpret questions with incomplete, incorrect words. In this case, the term 'salse' will be matched with sales

Show me the salse by salesperson

Functionalities of Ask Zia

Ask Zia provides the following functionalities:

  • Ask for metrics

  • Apply summary functions

  • Group metric columns

  • Apply filter criteria

Ask for a Metric

You can ask for a single metric or multiple metrics in a question like sales, my top salesman, what is the most sold product, etc., 

Single Metric

You can ask for a single metric in your question. The following question will get the total profit for last year as a numeric KPI widget.

What is the last year profit?

Multiple Metrics

You can ask for multiple metrics in a question. The below question gets Total Sales and Total Profit as a pie chart. 

Sales vs profit

Apply Summary Functions

Zoho Analytics provides a wide range of summary functions like Sum, Count, Average, Running Total etc., Ask Zia will try to apply the best possible function over your column. You can choose to change them in your question. 

Summary Function

You can choose the apply the supported summary functions over a metric column by explicitly specifying them in your question. The below example applies count over the sales column and plots it across months. 

what is the number of orders we have every month?

Advanced Summary Function

Ask Zia can also apply advanced summary functions. The below question applies the advanced summary function Running Total over the Sales column and calculates it across the quarters.

show me the running total of sales. 

Group metric columns

You can group the metric column using phrases like 'by', 'group by', 'categorized by', 'across', 'wise', etc. The following types of groupings are supported. 

Single Metric by a Single Dimension

In this example, the Sales column is grouped into months by the Date column.

monthly sales

Single Metric by Multiple Dimensions

In this example, the Sales column is grouped by the Date and the Region columns. 

what is my sales across the regions every month?

Multiple Metrics by a Single Dimension

In this example, the Sales and the Profit columns are grouped by the Date column.

Profit and sales across months

Multiple Metrics by Multiple Dimension

In this example, the Sales and the Profit columns are grouped by the Date and the Region columns. 

Sales and profit across months for each region

Apply filter criteria

You can apply single criteria or multiple criteria of filters in a question. The following are the supported filter criteria.

Plain Text 

You can choose to include or exclude a value in a text column. In below example, we've filtered Sales where the Region is West.

Show me the sales across months where the region is west


You can filter a numeric column by a range or by using special criteria such as greater than 10, < 10, most, highest, lowest... The below question filters the Deal Size greater than 12k.

Salesperson by win rate and won amount where the deal size >12k

Slice by Range

You can slice data by range using special criteria like Top 10, Bottom 5, Highest, lowest, most, recent. In this example, we have filtered top 10 salespersons. 

My top 10 salespersons by win rate

Exact Dates

You can filter data for a specific date such as 2019, March 2018, 12/3/2019. In this example, we've filtered the tickets escalated on 17th of March 2018.

Escalated tickets on 17 march 2018

Date ranges

You can filter data for a specific date range. In this example, the Revenue for a specific period i.e., from 3rd March 2018 to 3rd September 2018 is filtered.

Show me the revenue by salespersons from 3rd Mar 2018 to 3rd Sept 2018

Relative Dates - You can filter data for a relative period such as This Month, Last Quarter, Today. In this example, the Revenue for the period of last 1 year is filtered.

Show me the revenue across months for the last year

Keywords for Ask Zia 

The following is the list of keywords that Ask Zia can interpret and create appropriate insights. 

Summary Options

Summarysum, total, tot
Minimumminimum, min
Maximummaximum, max, highest, high
Countcount, number, no, total number, distinct count, unique, unique count
Othersstandard deviation, std dev, variance

Advanced Summary Options

Running Totalrunning total, running tot., running sum
Percentage ofpercentage, total percentage, %, percent, percentage of total, total %, % of total, pct of total, % of sum, sum percentage, sum pct, contribution, contribution of total
Difference Fromdifference, difference from, diff, growth
% of Difference From% of difference, pct of difference, difference %, % diff, difference percentage, difference in percentage,
% of Previous Valuepercentage of previous, % of previous, pct of previous, prev %, previous value %

Group by Options

Numericactual, range, as range, dimension, as dimension
Date-Actualyear, yearly, year over year, yoy, absyear

quarter, quarterly, quarter over quarter, qoq, absquarter

month, monthly, month over month, mom, month and year, absmonth

week, weekly, week over week, wow, week and year, absweek

day, daily, day over day, absday

date, hour, hourly, minute, second
Date-Seasonalseasonal day, seasonal month, seasonal year, seasonal week, seasonal quarter

Filtering Options

Numeric>, >=, greater than, above, over, beyond, higher than, more than, exceeds

<, <=, lesser than, lower, lower than, less than, below, under

equal to, equals to, equals, =, between
Units and Currencythousands, k, millions, m, mn, billions, b, bn, Lakhs, L, Crores, C, Rupees, RS, ₹, Dollars, $
By Rangetop 10, top few, top, top most, highest, best

bottom 10, bottom few, bottom, lowest, worst
Textstarts with, starts with, ends with, contains, is
Date-Actual2018, 2019, Q1 2019, Q4 of 2018, quarter 1 of 2019
January 2019, Jan 2019, 1/2019

15th october , 30 july, nineth july 2017, third may 2016, 2 feb 2001, 2019 mar 4, 17/feb, twenty six october
Date-SeasonalJune, may, jul, oct, Sunday, saturday, thurs, tue

1st quarter, 2nd quarter, second quarter, third quarter, fourth quarter, first quarter, quarter 4, quarter1
Date-Relativethis year, previous year, last year, past year, recent year, previous 3 years, next 3 years, last 3 year, recent 3 years, last nine years, previous few years, recent few years, past few years, recent few decades, previous few decades, past few decades, next few decades, last few years, last decade, recent decade

this quarter, previous quarter, last quarter, this quarter, recent quarter, previous 9 quarters, last 9 quarters, next 9 quarters, recent 5 quarters, previous five quarters, last three quarters, recent few quarters, next few quarters, previous few quarters, past few quarters, last few quarters 

this month, previous months, last months, past month, recent months, previous 6 months, next 6 months, last 6 months, recent 6 months, previous thirteen months, recent seventeen months, previous few months, recent few months, previous month, current may, previous november, this apr, past mar

this week, last week, past week, recent week, last few weeks

todat, yesterday, tomorrow, recent 3 days, past 21 days, recent few days, next few days, next day, recent day

recent 22 hours, recent 13 hours, next hour, past hour