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1) drag&drop a dataitem to the canvas in design mode in reporting or drag&drop a data item to the query in query editor and
2) manually create calculated data item in the query editor.
In the first case the data item contains static information about the initial data type, in the second case there is no static information about the data type and Cognos assumes a numeric data type.
In situations where the expression of the data item changes, the data type can also change, but the static data type information created in case #1 does not change in the same way, it stays at the initial data type value.
This is relevant for aggregations in the layout. Some of them can only be applied to numeric data types (total, avg, ...). These options are greyed out in the aggregations dialog for data items whose data type is not numeric. But indeed it can be a numeric expression when it was changed after the drag&drop action.
A normal user doesn't have a chance to understand this and this is not intuitive.
We think it is more intuitive for users to display the static data type of the data item somewhere in the data item dialog or the respective properties.
Alternatively the data type should be evaluated on runtime and shouldn't be static.
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