Line charts are most often used to track changes over periods of time. Line charts are generally preferred over bar or column charts when changes are relatively small. The horizontal (X) axis depicts a progression - often of time - while the vertical (Y) axis shows the value of a selected metric.
When should I use a Line Chart?
Line charts are ideal for showing a series of continuous data, highlighting trends and changes over time. Variations in price, the number of visitors to a website, or month-over-month changes to inventory levels are all prime examples.
See the section Line Chart Examples below to see it in action. They highlight situations where Line chart is the best choice to display your continuous series data.
Avoid using line charts when you're examining values that add up to a fixed number, as Pie charts really shine for that type of work. You may also consider other chart types if more than half a dozen categories are being compared, as chart density can make discerning individual changes difficult. If your data does not have a periodic component you might want to investigate Bar or Column charts as well.
Configuring Line Chart Saved Views
Configuring a Line chart is easy with the SmartSuite Chart Setting panel. Just follow these easy steps:
Add a new Chart Saved View (see this article to learn how)
Select Line Chart Type
Specify the chart's Values
Pick a Group By field
Line Chart Type
Select the line chart under Chart Settings to get started with your configuration.
Specifying Line Chart Values
The Values configuration section allows you to pick which field or fields contain the data you want to display on your chart. You can specify fields that either contains a numeric value (Number, Currency, etc.) or you can pick a text or list-type field (Single Select, Multiple Select, Linked Record, and similar) and count the individual values to arrive at a number.
Specifying a "Count" value type will result in the chart drawing one value line for each counted element. When you specify a numeric field, you also select how you want those numbers aggregated. Options include:
Sum - returns the sum (add values added together) for the selected field
Avg - returns the average of values in the specified field
Min - returns the smallest value appearing in the selected field
Max - returns the largest value appearing in the selected field
You can click Add New to include additional Values in your chart, allowing you to add additional series to your chart like this:
Unlike other chart types like Bar and Column, the Group By parameter is not optional for Line charts - we've got to know what to display on the horizontal (X) axis! In most cases you will select some type of date field to show values in a time series, like this:
Configuring Line Chart Widgets
Line charts are great on their own but even better on a SmartSuite Dashboard!
All of the configuration is the same as we've described above, with a handful of minor differences:
Widget Name: Name the Column Chart - this text will be displayed in the widget's border to let people know what data they're looking at.
Table: Saved Views are configured in the context of a specific Table, but widgets live at the Solution level. Start your configuration by picking which Table contains the data you want on your chart.
Once you have configured your chart parameters to your liking, click Add Widget to place it on your Dashboard. That's all there is to it!
Line Chart Use Cases
Here are a few charting use cases to get you thinking about Line chart and when it can be the best chart type choice.
Use Case: Comparing Values Over Time
Line charts are just the best for looking at changes in data over a time series. Add a few values and you're off to the comparison races!
Use Case: Charting Small Changes
Line charts excel at displaying subtle changes in your data over time. Here we have a chart that represents minor incremental changes - but you can quickly get a sense for the trend and relative performance of each group.