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Advanced Charting in SharePoint with Dundas Chart for SharePoint
A guide to help you get started in SharePoint data visualization

by Jeff Hainsworth, Technical Evangelist, Dundas Data VisualizationTuesday, August 28, 2007

With the release of Microsoft Excel 2007; Microsoft has finally added a new charting engine capable of making some really fantastic looking charts. Unfortunately, those of us in the SharePoint community were completely neglected and are still stuck with the older version of their chart. Anyone who needs to create dashboards for their organization knows that something more is necessary, since previous versions of Excel charting tend to have the visual appeal of something that a high school student came up with in their spare time. This is where third party control vendors like Dundas come into play.

Developed for Microsoft Office SharePoint Server MOSS and WSS, this fully-managed charting Web Part control takes charting to a whole new level. Dundas Chart for SharePoint provides extensive functionality and abilities that go far beyond the native SharePoint chart. Incredible design-time support lets you quickly create sensational looking charts with a minimal amount of effort. A lot of time and energy has been invested in making sure that this charting control is as easy and as flexible to use as possible so you can get things up and running in minutes.

Once you have installed Dundas Chart for SharePoint it will automatically be added to the catalogue of available Web Parts under the miscellaneous section. This makes adding the Web Part to your page extremely easy.

Dundas Data Visualization Control Panel

At this point, you should see that the Chart has been automatically added to the page and is ready for your data.

Dundas Data Visualization Bar Chart

The data itself can come from a variety of sources including but not limited to the following:

  • Other Web Parts
  • SQL Server
  • Excel spreadsheet
  • CSV file
  • Oracle database
  • Business Data Catalogue
  • Excel Services

Let’s use the Wizard included with Dundas Chart for SharePoint to bind our chart to a neighboring SharePoint list. This will let users of this dashboard view both the raw data and a meaningful graphical representation of this data. It’s a good idea to show a data table because many users will often want to see both a pictorial and textual representation of their data.

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  1. 1. First, choose the type of data source that will be used. Select “Get Data From Another Web Part”.
  2. 2. Choose a web part data provider for your chart control. We will choose the SharePoint List from the drop down list of Web Parts that will provide the data to the Chart.
  3. 3. Choose the format to use for your data. In this case, select “Provide Data To” and click next.
  4. 4. Finally, choose the field a series will use and also customize the Series by changing the Series Type to Pie and then select the X and Y fields to you

After performing these simple steps the chart will be connected and your data is ready for the customization process.

Dundas Data Visualization Pie Chart

Now all we have to do is go into the Chart properties and make this chart look pretty. This is simply a matter of walking through the many settings that are provided with Dundas Chart for SharePoint and making changes that fit your corporate goals. As you will see, you can change so many aspects of the chart that it is easy for you to make images that fit well into your corporate color schemes. You can even import a template that someone else created in order to save you some work. Using your own corporate color scheme gives your charts an official feeling that’s missing from most pages where the chart was created using Microsoft Excel.

pic

Now you have seen the truly stunning visuals that you can add to your dashboards. This will improve the visual appeal and readability of your dashboards. Tools like Dundas Chart for SharePoint can really unlock a lot of hidden potential for your users. Just remember, a picture is worth a thousand words!

Why not try making some charts of your own? Dundas Data Visualization provides a free trial version of Dundas Chart for SharePoint which is a fully functional version of the product that will never expire; use it for as much testing as you require. Dundas will even give you free technical support during your evaluation period so there is no risk to give it a try. Take a moment to see some of the dashboards created with Dundas Chart for SharePoint.

Dundas Chart for SharePoint
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