How to Create a Line Chart

Table of Contents

What is a Line Chart

Line charts show one or more series of data points connected by straight line segments. You may define optional labels for the horizontal category axis, or a suite of 1, 2, 3 etc will be automatically generated.

One continuous line is usually single-series, i.e. it has all points collected from the same data column. All segments can have the same first palette color, or use different colors, as multi-color. Multi-series line charts are usually grouped (not stacked) and multi-color. They may be also split into multiple single-series charts.

Line charts can be mixed with other types of charts, such as scatter, area or bar charts. Line charts may also appear on circular polar plots, but we will refer here as line charts only in the context of a Cartesian XY orthogonal plot.

Points may be missing, in which case the line could be displayed as broken. Markers could be displayed with different shapes or images. Lollipop charts may show the data values inside the markers. In 3D mode, a line usually appear as a thin continuous band, with a perspective.

Lines can get a different drawing style: straight (default), curve (spline), step line or jump line. When talking about line charts without specifics, we frequently refer to straight lines, as in here. There is a separate article to describe how to create line charts with each of these styles.

Lines can also get a dash style, being displayed with either a solid (by default), dotted or dashed line. The line width is usually fixed and determined by its theme.

Steps to Create a Line Chart

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 one or more numeric columns with the Line ChartsLine chart.
  3. Select eventually a Label, for legend items and X axis labels.
  4. Select line series from the toolbar and change eventually their drawing style.
  5. Multi-series charts can be split into multiple separate single-series charts.

Line Chart Demo Queries

Look for ready-to-use generated chart queries under the Queries > Demo Queries > Charts folder. Click on the “add demo queries” command link, to make sure they’re all there.

Or build your Line chart from scratch, as shown here. Most simple Line chart has just one data column, with a horizontal axis automatically generated.

Line Chart

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 Line Chart

  1. Make your line chart multi-color, with a different color for each segment.
  2. Show data labels as lollipops, inside some custom diamond markers.
  3. Change the dash style to interrupted lines.
  4. Add a data column as Label., and show staggered X axis labels.
  5. Set another column as Category, to group multiple segments with the same color.
  6. Click on some legend items to hide segments within that Category.
  7. You may change a line drawing style to straight, spline, step or jump line.

Custom Line Chart


  • Creating Line charts in Data Xtractor or Visual Xtractor is fast and trivial: select one or more numeric columns as Line, and one column as Label if you wish.
  • Change its drawing style to one of: Straight (default), Spline, Step or Jump Line.
  • 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.