Table Of Contents

Graph IDEData Graphics ► Bar And Column Chart

A Bar or Column Chart is a Group of Rectangles and Labels that is created using a Spreadsheet. The figure below shows a column chart.

A column chart shows scalar amplitudes by adjusting the height of rectangles while a bar chart shows scalar amplitudes by adjusting the width of rectangles. When the distinction between the height and width is immaterial then the bar or column chart is simply referred to as a bar chart, thus making the bar nomenclature generic, and either width or height is referred to as length.

A bar or column chart can be constructed manually by creating rectangles and labels, aligning them appropriately and then grouping them. However, it is easier to use a Spreadsheet to create a bar or column chart.

When data in the spreadsheet is changed then the spreadsheet will also change the column or bar chart. If the spreadsheet that made the column or bar chart is deleted then the column or bar chart will still operate as a column or bar chart, but data derived properties such as rectangle lengths will need to be adjusted manually. For that reason, the spreadsheet should probably not be deleted unless the column or bar chart data is static. If the column or bar chart is ungrouped then the column or bar chart feature is deleted.

The column or bar chart group subgraphics (elements) can not be altered directly but the Graphic Navigator can be used to select an element of the group and then that element's attributes can be modified. When the data in the spreadsheet is modified then the column or bar chart will be updated and the existing element attributes will be maintained.

Note that it only makes sense to make a bar chart on a rectilinear coordinate system. There is no provision for other coordinates.

Inspector Editor

The Inspector Editor for a pie chart is the Group inspector editor.

Arranger Editor

The Arranger Editor for the bar or column chart is shown below.

Arrangement Type

Bar Chart Type : One of Column or Bar. When Column then the Independent axis is the X-Axis. When Bar then the Independent axis is the Y-Axis.

Stacked Bars : When selected then the bars are stacked against the previous bar group, if any. Stacking means that the data values are relative to the previous bar group data values and that the stacked bar width (or height for column charts) is cumulative.


Bar Color : Specifies the uniform color of each bar.

Use Palette Colors : When selected then the colors assigned in the palette as define in the Color Selector section are used. You may wish to deselect the Use Palette Colors and then modify each bar color individually by choosing that bar within the Navigator. Modifications to the graphics of each bar will be maintained when the data is changed.

Bar Half Width : Specifies the width of the bar relative to adjacent bars. This works best when the bar placement is uniform but if the placement is not uniform then the minimum adjacent distance is used.


Label Type : The label can be automatically generated by using a specific type. If None is selected then the column associated with the Label (if any) is used. If Amplitude or Sequence is selected then the bar value or sequence index is used. If the Label column is also chosen then the Amplitude value or Sequence index, prefixed by a space and enclosed in parenthesis, is appended to the Label.

Restrict General Editor To

The main editor which is the Group Editor will operate on all components of the bar chart unless restricted by this control. There are many uses for this restriction, for example to provide a fill background for the labels, but not the bars; to provide a gradient to the bars but not the labels; to turn the bar boundary stroke on or off or change its color without effecting the labels; or a whole host of other uses.

Spreadsheet Association

Defines and selects the spreadsheet used to generate the bar chart. Any spreadsheet can be choose but that spreadsheet should conform to the intended use. When different spreadsheets are chosen then all representation parameter values are maintained so that this is a good way to flip through alternative data sets while maintaining the bar chart graphical attributes.

Column Associations

The column associations are set during representation creation but can be reset here. Choosing different columns are a good way to quickly view different data sets for one bar chart.

Independent : Specifies the column to associate with the independent dimension (the x-axis for column charts and the y-axis for bar charts). If None then the independent variable is unitized. Note that the independent variable type can be a scalar, date or text. In the case of date or text then the variable is considered categorical; while scalar data is considered ordinal. This distinction allows for stacked bars within one data set when the type is categorical since one category can have duplicate entries.

Amplitude : Specifies the column to associate with the bar length (height for column charts and width for bar charts).

Label : Specifies the column to associate with the label entries. If None then no labels are used. The labels appear adjacent to the bar maximum length.

Reverse Key : Specifies the column to associate with reverse keys to external elements such as the color palette. If the table is not sorted then this key is not needed. Sometimes, a sort is performed where external element order association need not be maintain in which case this reverse key is not needed.

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