Area Chart

A perfect way to show changes in two or more related groups over time

Peter Novosel avatar
Written by Peter Novosel
Updated over a week ago

Area charts combine features of Line and bar charts to show how one or more values change over the progression of another value, typically that of time. Area charts differ from line charts as they feature shading between the edge of the line and the baseline.

When should I use an Area Chart?

Area charts excel at indicating change among different data sets, generally across a span of time.

See the section Area Chart Examples below to see it in action. They highlight situations where an Area chart is the best choice to display your comparative series data.

Avoid using area 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 you aren't comparing the values of a small number of data points over time, as a larger number of series may result in a chart that hides a portion of the data due to the shading effects.

Configuring Area Chart Saved Views

Configuring an Area chart is easy with the SmartSuite Chart Setting panel. Just follow these easy steps:

  1. Add a new Chart Saved View (see this article to learn how)

  2. Select Area Chart Type

  3. Specify the chart's Values

  4. Pick a Group By field

Area Chart Type

Select Area Chart under Chart Settings to get started with your configuration.

Area Chart

Specifying Area 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 contain 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 boundary line (the boundary for the value's shaded area) 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:

Group By

Unlike other chart types like Bar and Column, the Group By parameter is not optional for Area charts (in the same way that it is required 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 Area Chart Widgets

Area 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 Saved View, but widgets live at the Solution level. Start your configuration by picking which Saved View 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!

Area Chart Use Cases

Here are a few charting use cases to get you thinking about Area chart and when it can be the best chart type choice.

Use Case: Comparing Related Values Over Time

Area charts are great for comparing two related values over a time period. Here, we're looking at revenue versus expenses across months - it's easy to see at a glance where margins tightened up or increased a bit.

Use Case: Nested "Tiers" of Data

If your data happens to fall into discreet "tiers" you can use Area charts to clearly show the difference in category magnitude. Consider this chart where it is very easy to see the relative differences in values over time.

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