How to Create a Parallel Coordinates Plot

Table of Contents

What is a Parallel Coordinates Plot

First graph below measures three parameters (First, Second, Third) for ten products. Each colored Line Chart represents a product. You may select any number of parameters, and products usually map to the result rows.

Each vertical axis line has the maximum parameter value on top, and the minimum value at the bottom. The other lines cross the axis at a proportional distance.

Steps to Create a Parallel Coordinates 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. Click on the Chart cell above each column whose numeric values you want to measure. Select the Line ChartsParallel Line menu item.
  3. Select now a column as Label, whose values will appear as chart legend items.

Parallel Coordinates Plot Demo Query

This is a great alternative to learn about and play with this type of chart, if you don’t want to create anything from scratch.

Look for this ready-to-use generated query under the Queries > Demo Queries > Charts > Cartesian Charts folder. Click on the “add demo queries” command link, if the Parallel Coordinates Plot demo query is not already there.

Parallel Coordinates 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.

Customize your Parallel Coordinates Plot

  1. Make it monochrome, to use one color for all series.
  2. Show spline (curve) and dash lines.
  3. Change the chart theme (to Metallika).
  4. Hide all axis labels, and show data labels with series names instead.
  5. Display square point markers.
  6. Click on legend items to hide some lines.
Custom Parallel Coordinates Plot


  • Creating Parallel Coordinates Plots in Data Xtractor or Visual Xtractor is fast, simple and trivial: declare one or more numeric columns from your result set as Parallel Line, one column as Label if you wish, and that’s it!
  • 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.