Using chart properties
A chart (or graph) lets you visualize data points along one or more axes. For example, use a chart to compare the sales amount with the sales target for each month, where these values are plotted against a vertical (Y) axis so that you can visually compare their quantities.
Many different types of charts are available to help you communicate your data effectively. This article explains how you can customize some of the key property settings that are common to multiple chart types.
Related video: DV Common Properties
2. Elements of a chart
The figure below shows the main elements of a chart visualization.
A data point series represents a group of related data points. The figure above shows a bar series and a line series, where each data point is displayed as a bar or a portion of the line.
3. Adding a chart
To add a chart when editing a dashboard, report, or other view, click Data Visualization in the toolbar and then select the type of chart you want to start with.
Next, drag a measure and a hierarchy from a data connector or data cube in the Explore window onto the empty chart. You'll see the chart automatically reconfigured, for example a bar or line chart will have a left axis, bottom axis, major grid lines, and a series of data points.
To interact with the chart, switch to View mode. If a multi-level hierarchy such as Product was added, you can click on a triangle along the bottom axis to expand one of the hierarchy members (e.g., Bikes). Hover over one of the expanded bars to see a tooltip which shows the corresponding measure and hierarchy values.
You can also right-click (or long-tap) on the chart and use the menu to drill down, change the hierarchy level, and access other metric set functions.
Another way to display a chart is to re-visualize a different type of data visualization. For example, right-click (or long-tap) on a table visualization or select it and go to the toolbar, choose Re-Visualize, and then select the chart type you want. If you already have a chart, this menu will offer to change the chart type of your existing data point series to another type.
If you have multiple series of data points (e.g., for two measures), you can re-visualize each series independently. For example, right-click (or long-tap) on the second series, and you'll see a selection rectangle around the corresponding data points. Click Re-Visualize from the menu, and then select a different chart type such as Line.
The series for the Target measure in this example is now displayed as a line series.
This is the same as setting the Chart Type of this series in the Properties window.
5. Axis properties
Charts are usually configured with a left axis (or y-axis) and a bottom axis (or x-axis). From the Properties window for a chart, go to the Main tab to see the list of axes for the chart. You can also click on an axis directly in the chart itself to go to its properties.
You can also use the Quick Access Properties popup to change common settings such as colors and line widths. With Quick Access Properties already open after selecting the chart, click on a specific part of the axis such as a label or tick mark to update Quick Access Properties with settings for customizing that element.
5.1. Invert axes
Located in the overall chart properties (click the back button if you have the properties open for a specific axis), use the Horizontal Bars or Invert Axes property to switch the horizontal and vertical axes.
This option is mostly used on bar charts (including stacked bar and 100% stacked bar) because it changes vertical bars into horizontal bars, which can make it easier to read long axis labels.
You can also use the Horizontal Bars option in the toolbar (or the right-click context menu for the chart) when the chart is selected.
You can choose Vertical Bars the same way afterward to switch back.
Each chart axis has a scale determining how to position data along its length.
Choose one of the following types via the Scale Type property:
- Category - Designed for text, qualitative data, or other items you want displayed one after the other in sequence.
- Date/Time - Designed for date and time values, whether in order at regular intervals or irregular or out of order. They are always plotted in their place along a continuous time axis, even if data is missing for some time periods.
- Numeric - Displays numeric data along a linear scale as most people are used to, where the same distance between any two points indicates the same difference in values.
- Logarithmic - Displays positive (above zero) numeric data along a nonlinear scale where distance indicates the rate of change or the difference as a percentage rather than a difference in quantity.
If the first or only hierarchy on the bottom (X) axis is date/time, then the chart will set the scale type to Date/Time automatically. If you want to use triangular expander buttons to easily expand and collapse hierarchy members, change the scale type to Category instead.
There's an easy way to switch the scale type between types when more than one is compatible with your data: right-click (or long-tap) on the chart, or find the option in the toolbar. It may be grouped under Chart Properties when multiple property shortcuts like these are available.
When using the same scale type on multiple axes (either in the same chart or in different charts), you can set the axes to have the same range. Select the option Share the scale with another chart or axis, and select the axis that should have the same range.
5.3. Crossing axes
The axis property Cross Other Axis At defines the position at which two axes intersect.
The default setting Auto places the axis intersection at the minimum (usually bottom left corner) unless one of the axes is numeric, in which case the intersection will be at zero.
To set a custom intersection point, set the Value property to indicate a value corresponding with that position.
Select the property Keep Elements Along Axis to position tick marks and labels along the axis.
Each axis can show a title that is automatically centered along the axis. A typical usage is displaying the name of the quantity or measure along the left axis (or y-axis).
In the Text tab of the properties for an axis, in the Axis Title category, click into the Title property setting and enter the text for the title.
In version 23.3 and higher, you can incorporate placeholder keywords corresponding to filter values into the title, which can change according to interactions or filter changes. A popup will list any available keywords you can insert while you edit this setting (slicer filter values, slicer comparison filter values, or dynamic measure & hierarchy captions).
Click Title Style to change how the title is displayed. For example, set the Location property to Along, and the Rotation of the axis title to Clockwise.
To change the formatting or appearance of the labels for axis values, edit the properties of the axis (e.g., the bottom axis) and go to the Text tab.
Use the Show Labels property to show or hide the axis labels. When displaying a chart within a scorecard, it may be useful to hide the labels to create a more compact chart.
Under Label Formatting, use the Format property to enter a date format, for example, which will be applied to each label. See Formatting text for details on the formatting available.
Click Label Style to change the appearance of the labels, such as the font size or color.
Keep the Auto Fit option selected in order to arrange as many labels on the axis as possible without overlap. Expand and use the options under Auto Fit Methods to customize the auto fit behavior.
If the axis is categorical and the axis labels can be expanded, use the Expander Color property to change the color of the expander buttons. By default, they take on the same color as the text.
5.6. Tick marks
Tick marks are often not shown by default if grid lines are shown instead. To display tick marks, edit the properties of a chart axis and go to the Ticks tab.
Select Show Tick Marks to display the major (or minor) tick marks.
Click Tick Mark Style to change the appearance of the major (or minor) tick marks.
5.7. Grid lines
To display grid lines corresponding to values along an axis, edit the properties of that chart axis and go to the Grid tab.
Select Show Grid Lines to display major (or minor) grid lines perpendicular to the axis.
Click Grid Line Style to change the appearance of the major (or minor) grid lines.
Charts are automatically configured with data point series as you drag and drop measures and hierarchies from the Explore window.
In the Properties window for a chart, go to the Main tab to see its list of data point series.
You can also use the Quick Access Properties popup to change common settings such as colors and borders. With Quick Access Properties already open after selecting the chart, click on a specific data point to update Quick Access Properties with settings for customizing that data point series.
Each series has a corresponding Chart Type property which you can set in the Main tab for the series.
You can have multiple series in a chart, each with a different chart type. Most can be combined together, but you can only combine the Pie chart type with other series set to the same type, and Radar chart types are only compatible with each other (e.g., you can combine Radar Line with Radar Point).
You can change the Horizontal Axis or Vertical Axis property if you want to plot this series of points against a different axis, or an axis on the other side of the chart.
This allows you to set up a chart with multiple Y axes, for example: one left and one right, or more than one on each side.
Check or uncheck the Visible property to show or hide that series of data points.
Any user viewing a chart with multiple series can also show or hide them using the context menu: right-click (or long-tap) the chart and select Show Series.... (Switch to view mode first if you are currently editing a dashboard or other view.)
Series are listed with check marks indicating whether they are visible. Click to select or de-select a series.
Alternatively, you can add a checkbox to a connected legend, which will provide the same functionality.
In the Main tab of the series properties, select Show Legend Checkbox.
6.4. Data points
To change the color of data points from the Properties window, select a data point series and go to the Look tab. You can use the Fill property under Data Points.
Additional settings to control the appearance of data points for series may be available in this tab, depending on the chart type.
Bar sizes, overlapping, and gaps can be set up in the Layout tab for bar charts. When using a Bubble chart type, you can change the size of the bubbles in the Layout tab.
You can apply additional formatting by setting up states and using state styles. For example, to distinguish between positive and negative bubbles.
Markers are symbols displayed at the location of the axis value over the data points of any chart type. They make locating this value easier on a chart, and are especially useful for line and area charts to pinpoint the data values along the line or area shape.
To display and customize the markers for a series, edit the properties of the series, click Look, and then scroll down to the Markers category.
Select Show Markers to display the markers (e.g., for a line series).
Adjust the size of each marker with the Marker Width and Marker Height properties.
Choose a shape for the markers using the Marker Shape property.
6.6. Series label
If your chart is not connected to a legend, you'll see a label on the chart identifying each series if you have more than one. This is called a series label, and this default behavior helps you to identify and distinguish between groups of data points.
For example, if you have a measure named Target Sales, you could see a corresponding label with the text Target Sales attached to one of the data points to distinguish it from the other series.
To customize a series label (including its text), edit the properties of the series, click Text, and then click Series Label.
6.7. Data point labels
You can display a label with each data point in order to show each corresponding value. These labels can be set up in the Data Analysis Panel by following the steps in Setting up the visualization.
Chart properties also allow you to further customize the text, or to set up multiple labels: for example, one label on top of each bar to display its value, and another inside each bar displaying its percentage from a formula.
To change label properties, edit the properties of the series and go to the Text tab.
Click the + button under Data Point Labels to add a new Data Label Settings item. Click an item to edit its properties.
In the Data Label Settings, set the Placement property to Inside to display text within the bars of the chart. Options such as Inside Or Outside first try to display labels inside when they fit, and outside when they don't.
Set the Text property, using the popup menu that appears to insert one or more available placeholder keywords for showing data values.
For details on the placeholder keywords and formatting you can use when setting up the text, see Formatting text. You can find examples of placing labels inside data points in Aligning data point labels inside bars.
6.8. Tooltip text
Tooltips pop up with details about data points when you hover over them, or on touch devices when you tap and hold. The details shown can be customized in the Data Analysis Panel by following the steps in Setting up the visualization.
You can further customize how the text is arranged and access other options by editing the series Tooltip Text property directly rather than using the Data Analysis Panel.
In the properties of a series, go to the Text tab to find this property. You can insert regular text as well as one of the placeholder keyword options that pop up such as the name of a measure or hierarchy enclosed in square brackets. See Formatting text for more details.
7. Selecting data points
By default, users viewing a chart can highlight data points either by hovering over them (tap and hold on touch devices) or by clicking and dragging a selection box around one or more points. This may highlight other related data on a dashboard or other view through data brushing, display data summary statistics for that data if the status bar is visible, or trigger custom interactivity via the Selected Data Changed actions.
You can change how viewers select chart data in the Look properties of the chart, such as by disabling Hover To Select Points. Enable Click To Select Points if you want to click or tap data points to select them.
You can also change the properties of the selection cursor itself that marks the selected area when dragging: click on Selection Cursor in the Main properties.
For example, you can disable both Select Horizontally and Select Vertically to disable the selection cursor.
Another example is to change the Select Action to Zoom In instead of the default Select Data Points, which will automatically zoom the chart to the selection box.
You can also enable Select Cross-Section On Hover to display details about all line chart data points located at the mouse's X axis position.
Charts typically fit all of their data points into the set size of the chart, but you can also zoom in to view the data in more detail or to restrict the number of data points displayed at a time.
When the selection cursor and context menu are enabled, you can zoom in interactively: click and drag across a region of data to select it, then right-click/long-tap and choose Zoom In.
When zoomed in, scrollbars appear to allow you view the rest of the data at the same level of detail.
When text values are displayed along an axis or it's switched to the category scale type, charts can zoom in automatically to display only a certain number of values at a time along that axis.
You can easily zoom out by clicking Zoom Out in the toolbar or context menu.
To customize zooming and the scrollbar, go to the chart's Horizontal Zooming or Vertical Zooming properties.
The Maximum Visible Categories property customizes how many values are automatically zoomed into along a category scale, or you can clear it to disable this behavior (which is the same as zooming out).
For a date/time axis, the Auto Zoom Start or Auto Zoom Token properties appear instead and can be used to initially display only data from the past year, for example.
The Zoom Using Another Chart property can be used with another chart set up on the same dashboard with the same data, where viewers can click and drag to select, move, or resize a selected area to zoom and scroll around the original chart.
In the figure below, the light blue area in the bottom chart can be moved and resized to zoom and pan around data in the top chart: