Getting Data into Bar, Line, and Area Charts

By now, you know what you want your chart to show. Communicate your vision to Quickbase by making a series of choices within the report Builder.

Since bar, line and area charts all share some common attributes (for instance, all have an x axis and a y axis) the process of funneling your data into any of these formats, is pretty much the same.

To select data for a bar, line or area chart:

To begin the steps below, you must already have accessed the report builder (by creating a report with Chart as the report type, or by editing an existing Chart report). If you've selected any chart type (except Pie), you're ready to begin.

Note: If you're interested in seeing only a specific subset of records, you should also set your matching criteria prior to following the steps below.

  1. Select a field to display on the Category labels on x axis line of the chart.

    Here, Quickbase needs to know what values to set along the x axis. Select the field containing the values that you want to compare to each other. For instance, if you want to compare the performances of your sales staff, you'd select the salesperson field. Or say you want to compare each month's sales figures. In that case, you'd select a date field here (then group by month).

    Once you select a field, tell Quickbase how to format the data from that field using the following options:

    • Group By. Use this dropdown to display data in intervals or set amounts. For example, if your x axis features a Date field, ou can show time in days, months, quarters, years or even decades. Show numeric fields in groups of tens or hundreds if you want.

    • Axis label Type the label for the x axis in this box. For example, you may have selected a Date field but want to make it clear that the x axis divides time into fiscal quarters. No problem. Just type the word Quarters in the label box and viewers know exactly what they're looking at.

  2. Select a field to display on the Data values on primary y axis line of the chart.

    Use this section to select the actual values you'll show in your chart. In other words, what do you want your chart to measure? For example, you might measure salesperson performance by "number of sales," or by "sales dollar amount." In that case, you'd select one of those fields. Then each bar in the chart would show how many sales each person closed. But selecting data to show may not be as simple as selecting just one field. It all depends on how your data's structured:

    • If you are creating a Line chart, you can display values on both the Primary y axis and the Secondary y axis. This is useful if you want to display values in different units or scales of measurement within a single chart, for example, project cost in the millions and project hours in the thousands. The Series option is not available for dual y- axis charts.

      If the values you want to show on your chart each live in separate fields, you'll need select multiple fields here in the y axis section. To add an additional field, hover your mouse over the existing criterion and click the plus sign icon that appears. A new line appears, letting you select another field from the dropdown. (If you make a selection and don't see the plus sign icon, or you want to learn more about what this bullet point means, read about Data and Charting.

    • If the values live in one field, select only the field that contains the measure you want to show on your chart (like "number of sales"). If you want to show additional dimensions of this number—break down sales numbers by product, for instance, you'll get your chance later, within the report Builder's Series section.

    Not sure what to do? Read how to match your data structure to a charting approach.

    Tip: The field(s) you select in the Data values on primary y axis section appear(s) in the Report Builder's Legend, which you'll find on the right side of the Chart Type section. The Legend shows you what's going to display on your chart and what color it'll be. To change the color for the element (be it a bar or chart line), click the color swatch in the Legend to display the color chooser.

    Once you've selected a field (or fields), tell Quickbase how to format the y axis field(s) using these settings:

    • Summarize by. You'll only see this dropdown if you've selected a field containing individual values. Tell Quickbase how to summarize the numbers. If the program should add amounts, select summed. If you're showing values measure in percents, you may prefer that Quickbase average values in your y axis field.

    • Axis label. In this box, type in what you'd like to call the y axis. This label might be something like "Sales in Dollars" or "Total Deals Closed."

    • Logarithmic Scale. Is one of the values in your chart larger than all the others? If so, you may want to turn on this checkbox. When you do so, Quickbase takes liberties with the chart's y axis increments to fit everything in. For example, say one salesperson sold eight times more than everyone else. On a normal bar chart, her column would rise very high, diminishing differences between all the other columns. In a logarithmic chart, Quickbase condenses the area of the chart itself, so you can see all the variations. (See an example of a logarithmic chart.)

  3. Use the Sorting section to decide how to sort your pie chart.

  4. If you are creating a bar or stacked bar chart, you can add a Goal line to see at a glance how you are tracking towards a Numeric goal. Enter the goal number and a label to display above the goal line on your bar or stacked bar chart.

  5. If applicable, select a series.

    A series lets you break y axis amounts into a subset of related categories. For example, say you run a music store and want your chart to show total sales (which you already selected for the y axis). However, within each month (the category on your x axis) you also want to see how well each individual product (instruments, in this case) sold. If so, you'd select the Instruments field from the Series dropdown. When you select a field to display as a series, the values contained in this field will appear on your finished chart. For now, Quickbase displays these values in the Report Builder's Legend box. If you want to customize the colors for these values, click a color swatch to open the color chooser.

    Note: If you don't see a Series section, it's because you've selected multiple fields within the Data values on primary y axis section of the Report Builder. You can't do both at once. The structure of your data determines which approach you should take. Read more.

    Values in a series can appear in any kind of chart. In a bar chart, they appear as separate bars within one category. In a line chart, they appear as separate lines and in a stacked bar chart, they appear as portions of each bar. (Read more about these chart types.)

    As with x axis values (refer back to Step 1), you can group and order a series using the Group By and Display From dropdowns. These settings affect the order in which items in the series display in the chart's legend, which carries over onto the chart itself. For example, in the second image at the bottom of this topic, instruments listed in color legend appear in the same order as their respective bars within each month.

  6. Once you've configured all the data options outlined above, return to the creating a chart topic and read how to finish the job.

Return to Creating a Chart