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Customizing Charts

 

Types of Charts

 

Introduction

In our introduction to charts, we created one with standing rectangular boxes. This is called a column chart and is only one of the types of charts available. Microsoft Access (indeed Microsoft Office) provides many other flavors you can use, depending on the type of analysis you want to perform. When starting a (new) chart, in the third page of the wizard, you can select the type of chart you want. After the chart has been created, you may prefer another type of chart. In most cases, you can change the type of chart, easily.

A chart created with all default settings usually accomplishes its purpose of helping you analyze data and figures, but the default features are set only as starting points. All the formatting and emphasis needs are left up to you.

Besides the values and numbers on it, a chart is a graphic object whose characteristics can be enhanced to accentuate special important points. Most aspects of a chart can be changed.

The Chart Wizard is equipped with various kinds of charts. In each category, different sub-types are used to accomplish a unique purpose. Although they share a lot of characteristics, some charts in the sub-type can tremendously change or alter the intended goal. You should know what options are available, and then act accordingly.

To actually change a chart, after displaying its parent form or report in Design View, you can double-click it. This would open the Microsoft Graph application. From there, you can right-click any part of the chart to make the necessary changes. Any area you right-click presents a particular menu.

To change the type of chart, you can right-click an area of the chart and click Chart Type. This would open the Chart Type dialog box. It presents the various available types of charts and you can click one of them. If none of the available types suits you, you can click the Custom Type tab for more options.

Practical Learning: Changing a Chart Type

  1. Start Microsoft Access
  2. Open the Altair Realtors2 database from the previous lesson
  3. From the Navigation Pane, right-click the Sales Per State form and click Design View
  4. Right-click the chart -> Chart Object -> Open
  5. In Microsoft Graph, right-click an area on the chart and click Chart Type...
  6. In the Chart Type dialog box, make sure the Standard Types property page is displaying
    In the Chart Type list box, make sure Column is selected.
    In the Chart Sub-Type section, click Clustered column with a 3-D visual effect (1st column - 2nd row)
     
    Chart Type
  7. Click OK
  8. Close Microsoft Graph
     
    Chart
  9. Switch the form to Form View to preview the chart
  10. Save and close the form

The Types of Values of a Chart

When you select the values of a table or a query and ask Microsoft Graph to use them to create a graph, by default, the application counts the number of occurrences of each value, especially if you select a string-based field. Depending on the type of chart as we will see in the next few sections, some charts can use regular numbers while some others are better with percentage values. Fortunately, instead of trying to figure out how to perform the calculations yourself, Microsoft Graph can do it for you.

Types of Charts: Column Charts

 

Introduction

Column Chart

As we have seen already, a column chart creates vertically standing rectangular boxes. Each box can be used to represent an integral, a decimal, or a percentage value. When creating such a chart, you specify the values to use. Microsoft Graph determines the highest and the lowest values. When the boxes are drawn, each must fit in the area allocated for the chart. As a consequence, the box that represents the highest value is also the tallest while the box for the lowest value is the shortest. Microsoft Graph draws the other boxes between these extremes but proportionately. Therefore, a column graph is used to compare values in increment.

Double-Column Charts

The classic column chart is made of flat bars that simply illustrate maximal, minimal, and in-between values. One of the options allows you to create a 3-dimensional look of the chart and further accentuate the colors and/or other graphic effects. To enhance an effective analysis, you can create a real 3-D chart that shows data and graphics in perspective.

Another variance of the column chart is to show two columns for each sample value. For example, in our real estate application, imagine that you have the market value for each property and the value the property was sold for, one of the effects of a sale is that some properties would be sold for the same market value, some properties would be sold for a lower value (for example, the seller may want to get rid of the house and be willing to assist the buyer with a down payment and closing cost, thus lowering the price of the house), some other properties could be sold higher than the advertised value (for example, a customer may want to insist on having the house, even at a high price, or too many people could be suddenly interested in the same house, this could raise the price). At the end of the year, when doing an inventory or an evaluation of some sort, you may want to know what houses sold high and which ones sold low.

Practical Learning: Varying a Column Chart

  1. On the Ribbon, click Create and, in the Reports section, click Report Design
  2. Enlarge the report up to 10.2
  3. In the Controls section of the Ribbon, click the Chart button Chart and click the area under the Detail bar
  4. In the first page of the Chart Wizard dialog box, click the Tables radio button. In the list, click Home Sales, and click Next
  5. In the second page of the Chart Wizard, in the Available Fields list, double-click Market Value, Sale Value, and Property #
  6. Click Next
  7. In the third page of the Chart Wizard, accept the default Column Chart and click Next
  8. In the fourth page of the wizard, drag the Property # button and drop it on Axis
     
    Chart Wizard
  9. In the same way, put the Market Value and Sale Value in the box under the Preview button
     
    Chart Wizard
  10. Click Next
  11. Accept the suggested title and click Finish
  12. On the Ribbon, click the Page Setup tab and click the Landscape button
  13. Save the report as Comparison of Market and Sale Values and display it in Print Preview.
    If you want, switch the report back to Design View and format the chart as you see fit
     
    Column Chart
  14. Save and close the report

3-D Column Charts

So far, we have used what are referred to as flat charts. They can be drawn on a 2-dimensional coordinate system (x, y). To enhance the appearance of a chart, you can draw it in 3-dimensional coordinate system (x, y, z). If you want to draw a 3-D chart, you must select three columns. Two of the columns should hold categories of values and the other one can hold unique values. The two columns that hold categories of values should have corresponding values so that, a value from one column can have corresponding values in the second column. Here is an example. Imagine that, in a real estate database, you have been selling properties over a period of 1, 2, 3 or more years. The properties sold are categorized as single families, townhouses, and condominiums. Obviously in a particular year, you sell properties of all kinds. On the other hand, each property can have its own value. You can use these three sets of values to create a 3-D chart.

The cone, cylinder, and pyramid charts can be used in the same scenario as the column chart. Their 3-D visual effect can enhance the overall analysis of data.

The cylinder chart creates long circular boxes of the same base on both ends. It can be enhanced with good formatted Fill Effects. This chart is suitable for industry, manufacturing analysis, and predictions.

Cone Chart

The cone chart is made of a circular base topped by a higher point. When used with various data, the higher value will have the complete cone while the lower values will share portions of the geometric figure. The cone chart should be used with values that can take advantage of its graphing dimensions.

The pyramid chart resembles the cone chart with a difference on their respective bases. Both are constructed the same and can be used in similar scenarios.

When creating the chart, there are many aspects you can change for it. For example, you may have a chart where the figures in the front seem to hide those in the back:

Or there is too much room on one side. You can rotate the chart. To do this, click one of the borders of the walls of the chart to select its frame. Then click one of the handles on the frame and hold the mouse down. The actual frame of the chart would appear:

You can then rotate the chart in the direction of your choice. You can keep doing this, releasing the mouse to preview, then rotating again, until you get the desired orientation.

If you created the chart as one shape (cylinder, cone, or pyramid) but want to use another shape, you can change it. To do this, in Microsoft Graph, right-click the chart and click Format Data Series. In the Format Data Series dialog box, click the Shape tab and select a different shape:

Format Data Series

Practical Learning: Creating a 3-D Chart

  1. On the Ribbon, click Create and, in the Queries section, click Query Design
  2. In the Show Table dialog box, click Home Sales, click Add, and click Close
  3. In the Show/Hide section of the Ribbon, click the Totals button Totals
  4. In the list of fields, double-click Date Listed, Property Type, and Market Value
  5. In the bottom section, change the Field name of the first column to Year Listed: Year([Date Listed])
     
    Query for Chart
  6. Save the query as Sales Per Year Per Type and close it
  7. On the Ribbon, click Create and, in the Forms section, click Form Design
  8. In the Controls section of the Ribbon, click the Chart button Chart
  9. Click the form
  10. In the first page of the Chart Wizard dialog box, click the Queries radio button
  11. In the list, click Sales Per Year Per Type
  12. Click Next
  13. In the second page of the Chart Wizard, in the Available Fields list, double-click Year Listed, Property Type, and Market Value
  14. Click Next /li>
  15. In the third page of the Chart Wizard, click the Cone Column Chart in the 3rd column - 1st row
    &n 
    Cone Column Chart
  16. Click Next
  17. In the fourth page of the wizard, if there are fields selected in the boxes on the right side, select each and drag it to another box to have Market Value in the box under the Preview Chart, Year Listed in the bottom box, and Property Type in the right box
     
  18. Click Next
  19. Accept the suggested title and click Finish
  20. Save the form as Sales Per Year Per Type and display it in Form View
     
    Chart
  21. If you want, design the form the way you want. Here is an example
     
    3-D Column Chart
     
    Save and close the form
 
   
 

Bar Charts

A bar chart uses the same theories and scenarios as the column chart except that its rectangular boxes are horizontal. Like the column chart, the bar chart is used to compare values of the same category on a common scale. You create a bar chart using the same approach as the column chart, except that you should select the Bar Chart in second page of the wizard:

 

Chart Wizard

As done for the column chart, when specifying the values of a bar chart, use a column that has frequent occurrences of the same values.

 

Types of Charts: Line Charts

 

Introduction

A line chart is used to analyze ups and downs of a tendency in a range of values. You can define it with one series of values where you will judge the evolution of an item over a period. When used with more than one series, this chart can be helpful in comparing values of the same category over the same period. The line chart can also be used to analyze values that do not share the same periodic variable. For example, you can use it to compare library attendance with regards to the real population number (which could be in hundreds of thousands or millions) with the number of people attending the library. In the latter situation, if the same axes are used to analyze, one category will almost disappear from the chart; the alternative is to separate the axes on the same chart.

Practical Learning: Creating a Line Chart

  1. On the Ribbon, click Create and, in the Reports section, click Report Design
  2. In the Controls section of the Ribbon, click the Chart button Insert Chart and click the area under the Detail bar
  3. In the first page of the Chart Wizard dialog box, click the Tables radio button
  4. In the list, click Home Sales
  5. Click Next
  6. In the second page of the Chart Wizard, in the Available Fields list, double-click Date Sold and Sale Value
  7. Click Next
  8. In the third page of the Chart Wizard, click the Line Chart in the 3rd column - 3rd row
     
    Line Chart
  9. Click Next
  10. To preview the chart, click the Preview Chart button  
  11. Click Close and click Next
  12. Accept the Title as Home Sales and click Finish
  13. Enlarge the chart up to 9'
  14. On the Ribbon, click the Page Setup tab and click the Landscape button
  15. Save the report as FY 2008 Home Sales Per Month and display it in Print Preview.
    If you want, switch the report back to Design View and format the chart as you see fit
     
    Line Chart
  16. Save and close the report

Trend Lines

A trend line is a line added to a chart created as a column or else. It can be used to show the high points of the various values on a chart. A trend line is not a type of chart. It is only a line added to an existing chart to accentuate its tendencies.

To add a trend line to a chart, after opening Microsoft Graph, right-click one of the column categories and click Add Trendline...

This would open the Add Trendline dialog box. In the Type property page, you can select the type of line you want:

Add Trendline

If your chart is using more than one category, you can select each in the Based On Series list box and specify its trend line. The Options property page allows you to specify more options. Once you have finished, click OK:

Chart

After creating a trend line, you can change its characteristics. To do this, right-click the trend line and click Format Trendline... This would open the Format Trendline dialog box that you can use for various reasons, including specifying the color of the line. You can also access its Type and its Options property pages and change the original settings. Once you click OK and close Microsoft Graph, the trend line or its new changes would apply to the chart:

Chart

In the same way, you can add a trend line for each category of the column or bar chart.

Types of Charts: Pie Charts

 

Introduction

A pie chart is used to show percentage and/or fractional values. When creating it, you can choose the values as you see fit. Microsoft Graph would identify each value in the column and create categories for them. After getting the categories, the application would calculate the percentage for each category based on the sum of all the values, the total count of categories, and the fraction that each category shares.

The default appearance of a pie chart is a circle with each category taking a pie in the whole. One of the variances of the chart displays in three dimensions that uses two ellipses. The top ellipse is the most visible and shows the format of each chart. Only part of the bottom ellipse is shown.

 

Practical Learning: Creating a Pie Chart

  1. On the Ribbon, click Create and, in the Forms section, click Form Design
  2. In the Controls section of the Ribbon, click the Chart button Insert Chart
  3. Click the form
  4. In the first page of the Chart Wizard dialog box, click the Tables radio button.
    In the list, click Home Sales, and click Next
  5. In the second page of the Chart Wizard, in the Available Fields list, double- click Property Type and click Next
  6. In the third page of the Chart Wizard, click the 3-D Pie Chart in the 2nd column - 4th row
     
    3-D Pie Chart
  7. Click Next
  8. Click Next
  9. Set the Title to Distribution of Properties Types
  10. Click Finish
  11. Save the form as Distribution of Properties Types
  12. Display it in Form View.
    If you want, switch the form back to Design View and format the chart as you see fit
     
    Chart
  13. Preview, print, save, and close the form

Doughnut Charts

A Doughnut chart is an alternative to the Pie chart as both use the same types of values. The main difference between both types of charts is that a Doughnut chart can include more than one series of values.

 

Lesson Summary

 

MCAS: Using Microsoft Office Access 2007 Topics

P3 Create and modify charts
 

Exercises

 

Yugo National Bank

  1. Open the Yugo National1 Bank database
  2. In a form, create a column chart using the State column of the Customers table to have an idea of the ratio of employees by state. Save the form as Location of Customers. Format it as you see fit
  3. In a report, create a 3-D pie chart using the Can Create New Account column of the Employees table to get the distribution of employees who can create accounts and those who cannot. Save the report as Managers and Not. Format it as you see fit

US Senate

  1. Open the US Senate1 database 
  2. In a report, create a pie chart that represents the distribution of the numbers of years the senators have been in office. You can use the Years in Senate query created in Lesson 26. Save the report as Years in Senate and format it as you see fit
 
 
   
 

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