What is a Block Plot

On jqPlot’s website, we find as examples of Block Plot charts some typical Scatter charts with both X and Y axes numeric, and a textual descriptive label assigned to each point. These data labels appear instead of the point markers, in small colored rectangles.

Our Scatter charts with both X and Y axes numeric use a Scatter chart type for the Y values and the Label selection for the X axis. If you want to associate another textual descriptive label to each point, other than the Y value already assigned, you have to use as well a Category selection.

To further display this Scatter Chart with Category as a Block Plot, we must show data labels instead of point markers, within a small colored rectangles.

This Block Plot style for data labels may be used as well for other different chart types, such as Line, Area or Bar charts. When Show as Block Plot is checked for the visible data labels, markers are hidden and labels are displayed in small colored rectangles.

Steps to Create a Block Plot

Start Visual Xtractor or Data Xtractor. Connect to a database. Create or design a SQL query. Run the query and check the results.

  1. Display and enable the Chart query builder.
  2. Select the numeric column for Y values as Point ChartsScatter.
  3. Select the numeric column for X values as Label.
  4. To show different data labels than the Y values, select another column as Category.
  5. Show Data Labels and check Show as Block Plot.

Block Plot Demo Query

Look for the ready-to-use MultiColor Block Plot generated query under the Queries > Demo Queries > Charts > Category Charts folder. Click on the “add demo queries” command link, if not there.

MultiColor Scatter Block Plot
Generated demo queries must work for any database, with no restriction. They use constant values generated on-the-fly and your database SQL engine, but do not depend on data from your tables, and never alter your database in any way.

Show Data Labels as Block Plot

Other chart types may use the same Block Plot style for their data labels, when visible, instead of showing markers. Make sure you check the Show as Block Plot option in the data labels drop-down, when available.

Look for the ready-to-use MultiColor Line Block Plot generated query under the Queries > Demo Queries > Charts > Category Charts folder. Click on the “add demo queries” command link, if not there.

Spline with Block Plot Labels
Another demo query you may look at is Broken Area Block Plot. It’s very similar to the Spline chart before, except it is using an Area chart type and it is single-color.

Generated demo queries must work for any database, with no restriction. They use constant values generated on-the-fly and your database SQL engine, but do not depend on data from your tables, and never alter your database in any way.

Customize your Block Plot

  1. Switch between single and multi-color, and check each label’s background.
  2. Change the kind of data labels you want.
  3. Change the layout of you data labels.
  4. Switch to the 3D view.
  5. Uncheck the Show as Block Plot option, to switch back to regular markers and labels.

Custom 3D Block Plot

Conclusion

  • Creating Block Plots in Data Xtractor or Visual Xtractor is fast and straightforward: for Scatter charts, you select an optional Category for your labels, if Label has been already used for the X numeric axis.
  • The generic Block Plot style for data labels can be applied to many chart types, by checking the Show as Block Plot option. This will hide the markers and show the data labels instead in small colored rectangles.
  • All builtin powerful features of these chart type are common to most other charts: filtering series through the legend items, interactivity, monochrome or grayscale colors, rich axis and data label selections etc.
  • Switch to another builtin chart theme, or customize your own, for any possible color or other styles.