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Column and Bar Plots

The Column and Bar plots are suitable for side-by-side comparison of multiple Data Values per Category, or comparing across categories. Both plot types have the same configuration, but they visualize it differently:

  • A Column plot arranges categories horizontally and encodes data values into vertical columns.
  • A Bar plot arranges categories vertically and encodes data values into horizontal bars.

In addition, you can choose one of the following methods of placing data values within a containing category. The examples below emphasize Data Values with a bold font and Categories - with an italic font.

Clustered Column and Bar

A clustered plot usually has multiple columns or bars, one for each data value, per containing category. For instance, the Clustered Column Demo shows the Net Sales and Net Income per Product Category.

You could also use a clustered column or bar to break down data values into subcategories within the containing category. For example, the Clustered Bar Demo shows the Net Sales for each sales channel per Product Category.

Stacked Column and Bar

A stacked plot is another way to break down data values into subcategories by placing corresponding column or bar subsections on top of each other or next to each other within the containing category. The Stacked Column Demo shows the Net Sales for each product category per Sales Channel.

Percentage Stacked Column and Bar

A percentage stacked plot combines the stacked plot and the Percentage axis scale. It indicates the contribution of each data values' sub-category to a containing category's total. For instance, the Percentage Stacked Bar Demo shows the percentage share of the product categories' Net Sales per Sales Channel.

You can configure all these types using the Column or Bar plot template and its properties that we described in the following sections. The Stacked Column/Bar and Percentage Stacked Column/Bar templates are just shortcuts to a specific configuration.

You can use the following demos to explore plot properties - open a link, toggle the Report explorer, select the Plot - Plot 1 node and use the Properties panel to modify the configuration.

You could also download the report files listed below and open them in the Standalone Report Designer.

Data Values

The Column and Bar plots are the best for comparing items, such as the net sales or the average rainfall. The plot's Values collection determine these items that consist of two properties:

  • The Value is usually a bound field reference. Note: This property is the collection, but the Bar and Column plots take the first item only.
  • The Aggregate is an optional function, such as Count or Average, that reduces many field values into a single one. If a Bound DataSet contains aggregated values, then you can set this property to None.

Multiple data values generate a clustered plot, as in the Clustered Column Demo. You can switch the Show Values Names In Legend flag to supply the plot with a legend that displays the match between columns or bars background and the corresponding data value names.

Category Encoding

The Category Encoding of the Column and Bar plots is a set of properties that determine the range of Category Values for which the plot generates columns or bars that represent those above Data Values.

  • The Category is usually one or more bound field references. Bound DataSet Records with the same values of these fields fall into the same category. For instance, the Clustered Column Demo Chart is bound to the Sales DataSet containing several fields per data record including the ProductCategory. The plot's Category list contains the {ProductCategory} reference. Therefore the plot goes through the Sales DataSet and places distinct ProductCategory field values along the horizontal axis.

  • The Category Sorting configuration determines the order of the category values appearance. For instance, the plot in the Clustered Column Demo has the following settings to sort the product categories by the sum of sales in descending order.

    • Category Sort Expression = {[Net Sales]}
    • Category Sorting Aggregate = Sum
    • Category Sorting Direction = Descending

Details Encoding

The Details Encoding allows you to break down those above Data Values into subcategories within the containing category for more granular comparison. The Details property of the Column and Bar plots is the collection of items that define these subcategories. Each item includes several properties:

  • The Values is usually one or more bound field references. Bound DataSet Records with the same values of these fields fall into the same subcategory. For instance, in the Stacked Column Demo the plot Details value is {ProductCategory}. Consequently, the Net Sales columns break down into multiple subsections corresponding to distinct product categories.
  • The Exclude Nulls flag indicates whether DataSet Records with an undefined Details Value should be excluded from the visualization.
  • The Group property determines how the plot arranges columns or bars divided into subsections.
    • Stack - a bar plot places subsections next to each other; a column plot places them on top of each other. You can use this value to configure a Stacked Column or Stacked Bar plot.
    • Cluster - subsections are clustered into groups. The Clustered Bar Demo uses this value for the plot details.
    • None - equals the default value.
  • The Sorting configuration determines the order of the subsections appearance.

Colors Encoding

The Colors Encoding enables the color legend of the Category Encoding or Details Encoding and includes the Color expression and the optional Color Aggregate function that reduces many Color values into a single one.

If the Details Encoding is empty, Column and Bar plots calculate distinct Color Encoding results for the categories produced by the Category Encoding, convert them to the background color of the corresponding columns or bars, and display the match in the legend.

Otherwise, Column and Bar plots calculate distinct Color Encoding results for the subcategories produced by the Details Encoding, convert them to the background color of the corresponding columns or bars subsections and display the match in the legend.

In both cases, plots pick up colors from the Chart Palette.

For instance, the colors encoding in the Stacked Column Demo is set to the {ProductCategory} expression. Consequently, the report output shows the legend that matches Product Categories with corresponding column subsections background.

In most cases, you will use the same configuration for both Details Encoding and Colors Encoding to enable a visual map of data values breakdown.

Note: The Color property is the collection, but the Bar and Column plots take the first item only.

Column and Bar look-and-feel

The following properties allow you to fine-tune the outfit of rectangular shapes that form the Column and Bar plots. You can see their effect in action by modifying the configuration of any column or bar demo.

The Opacity is a Number in percentage that determines the opacity of bars and columns. 100% means they are opaque, and 0% means that they are completely transparent.

The Bar settings is the combination of numbers in percentage that you can use to change the dimensions and form of columns and bars.

Note: To configure the Bar Settings select the root Chart node in the Report Explorer

  • The Width property sets the column width or bar height relative to the size that the plot allocates for the containing category along the horizontal or vertical axis. This value is 55% by default. Try setting it to 90% for the Stacked Column Demo plot to see the difference.
  • The Overlap property sets the gap between adjacent columns or bars relative to the containing category's size.
  • The Neck Height property breaks down the containing column or bar into two parts that may have different width or height that you can set using the Top Width and the Bottom Width properties. This combination allows you to set a bullet-like shape for columns or bars. For instance, try setting Neck Height=60%, Bottom Width=85%, Top Width=0% for the Clustered Column Demo plot.

The Bar Lines Boolean flag shows and hides the connecting lines between columns and bars that belong in the same Detail or the same Category if the Details Encoding is empty.

The Offset is a Number in percentage, relative to a single column width or a single bar height, that translates the column and bar plots to the right or the bottom side respectively.

The Clipping Mode indicates the manner that the plot area draws the translated plot:

  • Fit value means that the plot area should use all the available space to fit the shifted columns and bars
  • Clip value means that the plot area cuts off shifted columns and bars on the edge of its right or bottom padding
  • None value equals to Fit

The Background Color Expression overwrites any other columns and bars background settings, including the Color Encoding that we described earlier.

The Style section has the line properties that allow you to set up the color, style, and width of the columns and bars border.

Tooltip and Labels Template

In the report output, columns and bars can display tooltips and labels with the following content that you can set up using the Tooltip Template and Label Text Template expressions, respectively.

You can choose one of the following values in the drop-down list

  • Value Field Name usually means the field name bound to a Data Value.
  • Value Field Value means the current Data Value within the containing Category or Details.
  • Percentage In Details means the percentage share of the current Data Value among all the values with the same Details.
  • Percentage In Category means the percentage share of the current Data Value among all the values with the same Category.
  • Category Field Name usually means the field name bound to the Category Encoding.
  • Category Field Value means the current Category Encoding value.
  • Details Field Name usually means the field name bound to the Details Encoding.
  • Details Field Value means the current Details Encoding value.
  • Color Field Name usually means the field name bound to the Color Encoding.
  • Color Field Value means the current Color Encoding value.

Also, you could use the template's Expression Editor to set the formatting for these values using the interpolation syntax and supported formatted strings. For instance, you can set the Label Text Template to {valueField.value:C2} in the Stacked Column Demo to display the Net Sales as currency.

Labels Appearance

A subset of text properties in the Label Text section and the line properties in the Label Border section allow you to set up the corresponding visual parameters of the plot labels.

The Label Position and an optional Offset in pixels determine the location of labels relative to the containing column or bar:

  • Inside - on the inner edge
  • Outside - on the outer edge
  • Center - on the center
  • Auto - equals to Outside

The Overlapping Labels property indicates the handling of overlapping labels. Possible values are:

  • Auto - hides some labels to prevent the overlapping
  • Show - shows all labels even if the overlapping persists

The line properties in the Label Line section allows you to add the connecting lines between labels and the edge of columns or bars. The Label Line Position determines the connection point of a label's bounding box and the line:

  • Auto - selected automatically
  • Center - on the center of the bounding box side

Action

This properties determine the Interactive Action that occurs when a report reader clicks a column or bar. You can use bound field references to pass parameters in a drill-through report or configure a dynamic bookmark or URL. The field value is evaluated in the scope of the current detail or category. Visit the Drill-Through Reports Walkthrough for more information.