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Posted Apr 30, 2009

Line Chart for Analysis Services Data - Page 7

By William Pearson

Legend Tab

1.  Click the Legend tab.

We advise our client colleagues that, since the default position for the legend is to the right of the chart area, and since our Line chart may be wider than expected, due to its nature and the amount of data we are presenting, placing the legend underneath the chart will offer another means of compressing the overall presentation.

2.  Ensure that the Show legend checkbox is checked, in the upper left corner of the tab.

3.  Ensure that the Column radio button is selected, in the upper left corner of the tab.

4.  Click the bottom middle button underneath the Position selection diagram, to align the Legend box underneath the Column chart area.

5.  Click the Legend Style button that appears immediately beneath the checkbox labeled Display legend inside plot area (ensure that the box remains unchecked).

The Style Properties dialog box appears, defaulted to the Font tab.

6.  Make the settings, listed in Table 6 below, within the Font tab of the Style Properties dialog box:















Table 6: Style Properties Dialog – Font Tab

The Font tab of the Style Properties dialog appears, with our settings, as depicted in Illustration 38.

Font Tab of the Style Properties Dialog Box, with Settings
Illustration 38: Font Tab of the Style Properties Dialog Box, with Settings

We note the presence of the Border and Line and Fill tabs, but we will leave the settings within each at default, at this point.

7.  Click OK to accept changes, and to exit the Style Properties dialog box.

We return to the Legend tab, once again, where we will leave all else at default. The Legend tab appears, with our settings, as shown in Illustration 39.

Chart Properties Dialog Box – Legend Tab with Our Settings
Illustration 39: Chart Properties Dialog Box – Legend Tab with Our Settings

We will move to the 3D Effect tab in the next subsection.

3D Effect Tab

1.  Click the 3D Effect tab.

We inform our client colleagues that the 3D Effect tab offers us a means of transforming the ordinarily “flat” appearance of our Column chart to a highly customizable, three – dimensional presentation. Here we can enable 3-D visual effects (via the checkbox to the immediate left of the Display chart with 3-D visual effect label). The four variables that we can manipulate are:

  • Horizontal rotation
  • Perspective
  • Wall thickness
  • Vertical rotation

Once 3-D visual effects are enabled, a slider becomes enabled for each of these variables, which we can move to adjust each variable until we achieve just the degree of readability we desire within the chart.

We will leave the settings of the 3D Effect tab at default at this point. The 3D Effect tab appears, with default settings, as depicted in Illustration 40.

Chart Properties Dialog Box – 3D Effect Tab with Our Settings
Illustration 40: Chart Properties Dialog Box – 3D Effect Tab with Our Settings

We will examine the final remaining tab, Filters, in the next subsection.

Filters Tab

1.  Click the Filters tab.

The Filters tab is but one option we have, within Reporting Services, to filter the data that is displayed within our chart. We advise our client colleagues that we performed all desired filtering at the dataset level earlier within our practice session. When this is adequate (that is, when we can afford to filter at the dataset level for the entire report) we may achieve performance gains at report runtime, due to the overall retrieval of less data from the Analysis Services data source. However, we caution the client representatives, due consideration should be given to the various points at which we can filter within a given report, to ascertain that we optimize performance while retaining complete and accurate information for presentation.

The Filters tab allows us to choose dataset columns and / or expressions to filter data at the chart level. This tab might make sense as a filter point if we were, say, using multiple data regions (charts, matrices, tables, lists, or a combination of these, perhaps) that were sharing the same common dataset(s), but where each region had different filtering requirements and needed to present different subsets of data from the underlying dataset(s). Whatever our needs, Reporting Services, once again, offers flexibility in ways to meet the challenges involved.

The Filters tab appears, with default settings, as shown in Illustration 41.

Chart Properties Dialog Box – Filters Tab with Our Settings
Illustration 41: Chart Properties Dialog Box – Filters Tab with Our Settings

2.  Click OK to accept all the settings we have made in the multi-tabbed Chart Properties dialog box.

The Chart Properties dialog closes, returning us to the placeholder chart item in Report Designer, Layout tab. We will conclude our practice session in the next section, where we will verify the operation of our new Line chart.

Verify Operation of the Line Chart item

Let’s ascertain the accuracy and completeness of our construction efforts. We will execute the report with the following steps:

1.  Click the Preview tab, to the right of the Layout tab, atop the design surface.

2.  Select Clothing within the Product Category report parameter picklist, as depicted in Illustration 42.

Select Bikes as the Product Category
Illustration 42: Select Bikes as the Product Category ...

3.  Click the View Report button.

The new report generates, displaying both the original matrix and new Line chart data regions.

4.  Scroll down, as required to focus upon the new Line chart data region.

The new Line chart appears as shown in Illustration 43.

The Line Chart Report, Preview Tab
Illustration 43: The Line Chart Report, Preview Tab

We can easily verify the displayed Line chart totals against the matrix data region (by adding together each of the quarter’s totals for any given Territory Group / Sales Reason combination, and comparing that total to the corresponding total in the matrix data region).

Our Line chart meets the expressed business requirements and demonstrates many details surrounding its property settings. The client representatives express satisfaction with our efforts, and state that, with a few cosmetic changes (including the removal of the existing matrix data region; the subsequent realignment of the Line chart on the canvas; and conditional formatting, perhaps, to make the font colors / line colors do specific things), the report will be ready for deployment to the targeted information consumer group. Moreover, they assure us that the details they have examined within the practical exercise we have undertaken can be extrapolated to their creation efforts of other Line charts.

5.  Experiment further with the report, if desired.

6.  When finished with the report, click the Layout tab.

7.  Select File -> Save RS064_Simple Line_Chart.rdl As ... to save our work, up to this point, to a location where it can be easily accessed for later reference.

As we can see from our examination above, Reporting Services offers a wide range of options for Line chart creation and manipulation to assist us in the delivery of information within the business environment. We extend our examination of chart types, specifically examining each type, together with the properties and methods we can manipulate for the precise presentations we seek to be able to deliver, in other articles of this series.

8.  Select File -> Exit to leave the design environment, when ready (saving as desired), and to close the Business Intelligence Development Studio.


In this article, we performed a relatively straightforward examination of the Reporting Services Line chart type, from within a copy of an existing sample Reporting Services 2005 report that we created for this purpose. Our focus, as we stated in the introduction, was to create a basic, working Line chart, using an Analysis Services data source (the Adventure Works DW sample OLAP database / Adventure Works cube that accompanies the installation of Reporting Services), and to discuss various characteristics of the Line chart type as we progressed.

We examined relevant chart properties, and got some hands-on exposure to the manipulation of those properties to support the delivery of information to meet the needs of a hypothetical group of organizational information consumers. We noted that this article might serve as a basis for other, more advanced articles within the MSSQL Server Reporting Services series, from which we use the Line chart we created here as a platform from which to concentrate on in-depth procedures and nuances that we can use to achieve precision in meeting specific requirements and data presentation effects that we might deliver in the business environment.

About the MSSQL Server Reporting Services Series ...

This article is a member of the series MSSQL Server Reporting Services. This monthly column is designed to introduce MSSQL Server Reporting Services (“Reporting Services”), presenting an overview of its features, with tips and techniques for real-world use. For more information on the series in general, please see my initial Database Journal article, A New Paradigm for Enterprise Reporting.

» See All Articles by Columnist William E. Pearson, III

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