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Create a Chart Report Using Bold Reports Designer

To transform numbers, figures, and measurements into visual information and present it in a meaningful way, RDL standard reporting provides a chart data region. A chart conveys a lot of information in little space and represents data graphically for better understanding. We can observe data trends and patterns quickly and precisely. In this blog post, we will see the structure and types of the chart data region along with a simple report design.

Parts of chart data region

The following screenshot shows the different elements used in the chart data region.

Chart structure
Chart structure

Types of chart

Choosing the appropriate chart type will determine how well the data can be interpreted while visualizing it in the chart form. Bold Reports Designer supports the major chart types, like column, line, shape, area, bar, range, scatter, and polar, that are available in RDL standard. It also supports sparklines and data bars that show progress information in a table like KPI reports. These are categorized and listed under the item panel.

Charts listed in item panel
Charts listed in item panel

The following are a few use case suggestions that help you choose the appropriate chart type

  • Use an area chart for an average sales comparison of two products.
  • Use a stacked area chart for trends in the sales of product.
  • Use a 100% stacked column chart for the percentage of gross domestic product growth of countries.
  • Use a bubble chart to show literacy rates and the GDP growth rates of world countries.
  • Use a pie chart to show mobile browser usage statistics.
  • Use a doughnut chart for project cost breakdown statistics.
  • Use a pyramid chart to visualize data in hierarchical structure. For example, a food pyramid, population pyramid, or business management positions.
  • Use a funnel chart to visualize the population of different countries.
  • Use a polar chart to visualize weather statistics data.
  • Use a line chart for stock price analysis of two products for a certain period.
  • Use a column chart to visualize age distribution in countries.
  • Use sparklines to perform sales trend analysis.
  • Use databars to track sales progress.
  • Use a combination of line sparklines and bar sparklines to visualize social media metrics.

Refer to the Chart data region documentation to explore each chart type.

Key features

A chart data region provides basic functionalities like sorting, filtering, and grouping, along with the following features:

  • Customizable chart axis.
  • Legend customization.
  • Number display formats.
  • Data labels.
  • Markers customization.

Simple chart design

Now, I will show you the steps to design a simple report using the chart report item. This will provide some basic knowledge for using the chart report item in Bold Reports Designer. As a first step, launch the Bold Reports On-Premise server demo site, referring to the steps to create a report, and create a new report.

New Report
New report

Create data set

To present data in a chart data region, create a data set and bind the data to the chart data region. In this designing section, I am going to showcase a sales summary of each product category for each quarter in a year. So, let’s use the following query from the AdventureWorks2012  database.

SELECT Top 50  PC.Name AS ProdCat, PS.Name AS SubCat, DATEPART(yy, SOH.OrderDate) AS OrderYear, 'Q' + DATENAME(qq, SOH.OrderDate) AS OrderQtr,SUM(SOD.UnitPrice * SOD.OrderQty) AS Sales FROM Production.ProductSubcategory PS INNER JOIN Sales.SalesOrderHeader SOH INNER JOINSales.SalesOrderDetail SOD ON SOH.SalesOrderID = SOD.SalesOrderID INNER JOIN Production.Product P ON SOD.ProductID = P.ProductID ON PS.ProductSubcategoryID = P.ProductSubcategoryID INNER JOIN Production.ProductCategory PC ON PS.ProductCategoryID = PC.ProductCategoryIDGROUP BY DATEPART(yy, SOH.OrderDate), PC.Name, PS.Name, 'Q' + DATENAME(qq, SOH.OrderDate), PS.ProductSubcategoryID

Refer to the Query Builder Overview blog and data set creation documentation, then create a data set in the report using the previous query.

Add chart to the report

Drag the chart type of your choice from the item panel into the design area. Here, I am using the column chart type for demonstration.

Drag chart item into design surface
Drag chart item into design surface

Once you drop the chart report item, it renders with some dummy values in the design area. The chart properties will be listed in the properties panel.

Chart with its properties
Chart with its properties

As a next step, let’s configure data in the chart data region.

Data pane

Switch to the data tab in the properties panel. You can bind data set fields to the chart data region in the data tab. The data sets available in the report will be listed in the top-right corner drop-down.

Data assign panel
Data assign panel

Choose the required data set in the drop-down. Now, the measures and dimensions fields available in the data set will be listed in their sections.

Assign data set
Assign data set

The measure or expression field that you would like to analyze can be dropped into the Y Values section. The dimension for which you would like to categorize the measures can be dropped into the Columns section. If you would like to categorize based on a series, then the respective dimension can be dropped into the Rows section, too.

Each type of chart data region requires some minimum dimension of data to visualize the comparison or statistics data. The column chart needs a minimum of one value element and one column element to show. Refer to the chart data region documentation to explore data assigning steps for each chart type.

Configure data in column chart

Let’s configure data in the column chart to showcase a sales summary:

  1. Drag and drop the measure element: Select and drag the numeric column (measure element) or the numeric expression column from the Measure section and drop it in the Y Values. Here, I want to measure the sales amount. So, drag the Sales field into the Y values section.

    Add Y-Values
    Add y-values

Now, the report item design will look like the following.

Chart design with single series
Chart design with single series
  1. Drag and drop the dimension element: Select and drag the dimension element from the Dimensions section to measure against any of the selected numeric column(s) in the Y Value(s) section, and drop into the Column(s). Here, I am going to measure the sales of each product category. So, drag the Prodcat field into the Column section.

    Assign column values
    Assign column values

Now, the report item design will look like the following.

Assign column values
Chart design with single series
  1. Grouping: You can group the added column element with another column by adding the appropriate dimension element to the Row(s) section.

    Assign rows value
    Assign rows value

Now, the report item design will look like the following.

Assign column values
Chart design with multiple series

Format chart

We can format a chart to enhance the visual appearance of the chart data region in the report design. Formatting includes changing the font style, font color, font family, font size, font weight, and background color of the chart area,

Final chart report design
Final chart report design

We can adjust the design surface width and height to make the report design look better, too.

 Preview report

You can preview the report using the built-in Report Viewer. The chart data region displays the sales of each product category for each quarter.

Quarterly sales summary of products
Quarterly sales summary of products


I hope this blog provided a clear overview of chart data regions and how to design and display data in a charts using Bold Reports Designer. You can download this report design from here. To explore further, go through our sample reports and Bold Reports documentation.

If you have any questions, please post them in the comments section. You can also contact us through our contact page or, if you already have an account, you can log in to submit your support question.

Bold Reports now comes with a 15-day free trial with no credit card information required. We welcome you to start a free trial and experience Bold Reports for yourself. Give it a try and let us know what you think!

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