Sorting Charts by Value

This is one of those "whaaaaat, that didn't work before?" features. No, it didn't. Until version 22, you were only able to sort bar charts with string labels ascending or descending. Alphabetically. Numerics and dates are treated differently, but for strings you only could get A-Z, Z-A or unordered, i.e. in the order the database supplies the data.

Take the following simple bar chart for an example:

Unordered chart in report designer

While it is nice to look at and the labels are neatly sorted alphabetically, it would be even more useful and easier to read if the labels were sorted by value. This would allow to see at a glance which are the three best performing product categories – and which category does worst. Using the new feature is straight forward – switch to the x-Axis and find the property for the coordinate sorting. It’s value list has two new inhabitants: Result Ascending and Result Descending.

Set chart properties to show results descending

For this example, let’s choose a sorting by value, descending. The resulting chart looks like this:

Ordered bar chart in combit reporting tool

Now compare its readability to the result before – it’s a pleasure to work with now. At least if you’re the kind of person that finds pleasure in working with charts at all, of course ;).

The same feature works for grouped bars as well, where we then order by the sum of all bars in one group. It’s available for line and area charts just as for pie charts.

And while we were at it, we also made sure to support the “Limit To” functionality we’ve added to the crosstab a while ago. This enables easy Top-N reporting within charts. In the sample above, setting the property “Limit To” to “3” …

Limit displayed bars in bar chart properties

… gives you a neat Top-3 chart for your sales:

Limited bar chart in List & Label report designer

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