The chart web part in SharePoint makes it easy for users to create beautiful, interactive charts with different data sources. What’s more – it also allows users to make changes to data sources and see the changes reflected in the charts instantly, making the tool nothing short of a lifesaver during a boardroom presentation. That said, this add-on needs to be configured properly, before it can do its job. Here’s how to go about it.
Adding the chart web part
Before the web part can be used, it has to be inserted into the SharePoint page where the user wants to build and display the chart(s). This can be done using the Chart Web Part control, available under the category Business Data. Adding the web part makes two options available for further configuration:
- Data & Appearance Advanced Properties
- Connecting the chart to the data source
Under Data & Appearance, there is an option – Connect Chart to Data. Clicking on it opens up a wizard, which allows the chart web part to be connected to one of the following data sources:
- Another web part that can provide data
- A SharePoint list
- An Excel workbook
- External content type defined in BDC
Once a source is selected, the same wizard allows the user to connect the chart to the data source. After connecting, the user need to retrieve and filter the data before creating the chart. Data filtering can be done with an existing column used as parameter, or by hitting the + sign next to the Filter Data option and mentioning name, type and value of the selected parameter. Next, the user has the choice to configure the data series, set properties like the fields to be displayed on the X and Y axes, perform analysis on data such as adding a moving average to the data set, and so on.
Determining how the chart would look
To customize the look of the chart, the user needs to click on Appearance & Data and then on Customize Your Chart. Doing so brings up a 3 step wizard. First off, this wizard allows the user to choose the chart type. Once the chart type is chosen, the right hand panel shows a wide range of chart templates for the user to select the most ideal one. Then, the user can select the Chart Appearance Properties, which grants control over the drawing style, appearance theme, size, format, and even the transparency of the chart. Chart element properties, accessible once the appearance has been configured, lets the user define the chart legend, title, grids and axes, hyperlinks, tool tips, markers and labels.
Finally, it is time to fine tune the chart
Clicking on the Advanced Properties presents the user with plenty of options to improve the look and feel of the chart. Available choices include annotations, legends, titles, chart areas, series, toolbar, and even properties of the context menus. As the user chooses each element to configure, the changes show up in the chart area immediately.