Using chart properties
- Elements of a chart
- Adding a chart
- Re-visualize as a chart
- Axis properties
- Series properties
- Selecting data points
- Zooming and scrolling
- See also
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 to use some of the key features 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 to your dashboard, go to the toolbar, click Data Visualization and then select the type of chart you want.
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 with a left axis, bottom axis, major grid lines, and data points representing the data series.
To interact with the chart, switch to View mode. Go to the bottom axis of the chart and click on a triangle to expand one of the Product 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.
4. Re-visualize as a chart
Another way to display a chart is to re-visualize a different type of data visualization as a specific chart type. For example, right-click (or long-tap) on a table visualization, click Re-Visualize from the menu, and then select the chart type you want from a submenu.
If you already have a chart that shows two series (e.g., measures), you can re-visualize one of the series independently. For example, right-click (or long-tap) on the second series. You'll see a selection rectangle around the data points (bars) that correspond to the second series. Click Re-Visualize from the menu, and then select a different chart type.
The second measure (e.g., Target) is now displayed as a line series.
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 selected chart on the canvas, go to the Main tab to see the list of axes for the chart.
5.1. Invert axes
Use the Horizontal Bars or Invert Axes property to switch the horizontal and vertical axes so that bars and areas are drawn horizontally instead of vertically. This option is mostly used on bar charts (including stacked bar and 100% stacked bar) to save space or to 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 change the chart back to normal by clicking Vertical Bars from the toolbar (or the right-click menu).
Each chart axis has a scale which you can set to 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. (If you are viewing a chart in a dashboard or another view, switch to Edit mode first.)
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).
To set the title for an axis, edit the properties of the axis and go to the Text properties tab.
In the Axis Title category, use the Title property to enter the text for the title.
Then 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. Use the Auto Fit Methods properties 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.
6. Series properties
Charts are automatically configured with data point series as you drag and drop measures and hierarchies from the Explore window.
Go to the Main tab to see the list of series for a chart.
6.1. Chart type
Each series has a corresponding Chart Type property which you can set in the Main tab for the series.
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.
6.3. Data points
To change the color of data points, edit the properties of the series and go to the Look tab. 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.
6.5. Series label
If your chart is not connected to a legend, you'll see a label on the chart identifying each series, called a series label. This default behavior helps you to identify multiple series appearing on a chart.
For example, if you have a measure named Target Sales, you'll see a corresponding label with the text Target Sales attached to one of the data points.
To customize a series label (including its text), edit the properties of the series, click Text, and then click Series Label.
6.6. Data point labels
You can display a label with each data point of a series in order to show the corresponding value. These 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 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 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.
6.7. Show or hide series
Users viewing a chart can show or hide series from the chart using the context menu.
Right-click the series and select Show Series...
Then select the series to be shown.
Alternatively, you can add a checkbox to the legend, which will control the same functionality.
In the Main tab of the series properties, and select Show Legend Checkbox.
6.8. Tooltip text
Tooltips pop up with details about data points when you hover over them, or on touch devices 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.
You can change this behavior in the Look properties of the chart by disabling Hover To Select Points or enabling Click To Select Points.
You can also change the properties of the selection cursor itself by selecting Selection Cursor in the Main properties.
For example, you can disable both Select Horizontally and Select Vertically 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 (available in Dundas BI 8 and higher).
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 move and resize the selection cursor to select an area to zoom into.