How to Create an Area Chart
Table of Contents
What is an Area Chart
Area Charts display filled-in zones between the base axis and a line, or between two lines. The zones are commonly emphasized with colors, textures and hatch patterns.
One continuous zone 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 area charts are usually grouped (not stacked) and multi-color. They may be also split into multiple single-series charts.
Area charts can be mixed with other types of charts, such as scatter, line or bar charts. Area charts may also appear on circular polar plots, but we will refer here as area charts only in the context of a Cartesian XY orthogonal plot.
Points may be missing, in which case the area could be displayed as broken, with an empty space in that segment’s space. Markers could be displayed with different shapes or images. Lollipop charts may show the data values inside the markers. In 3D mode, an area usually appear as a wall, with a perspective.
Area lines can get a different drawing style: straight (default), curve (spline), or step line. The Jump Line does not qualify for an area chart, as it is not a closed line. When talking about area charts without specifics, we frequently refer to areas with straight lines, as in here. There is a separate article to describe how to create area charts with each of these line styles.
Area 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.
We may display the following types of Area charts (only the first two types are described here):
- Area Chart – Cartesian single-series area delimited by a straight line.
- Grouped Area Chart – Cartesian multi-series areas with straight lines.
- Stacked Area Chart – Cartesian multi-series areas stacked one on top of each other.
- Range Area Chart – Cartesian areas delimited by two straight lines each.
- Polar/Radar Area Chart – filled-in area on a Polar or Radar circular plot.
Steps to Create an Area Chart
Start Visual Xtractor or Data Xtractor. Connect to a database. Create or design a SQL query. Run the query and check the results.
- Display and enable the Chart query builder.
- Select one or more numeric columns with the Area Charts – Area chart.
- Select eventually a Label, for legend items and X axis labels.
- Select area series from the toolbar and change eventually their drawing style.
- Multi-series charts can be split into multiple separate single-series charts.
Simple Area Charts
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 Area chart from scratch, as shown here. Most simple Area chart has just one data column, with a horizontal axis automatically generated.
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.
Grouped Area Charts
More than one Area selection creates a Grouped Area Chart. All areas start from zero, so they may get partially or fully covered by other areas. That’s why a semi-transparent fill is recommended.
Individual area charts may be selected one by one from the toolbar and have the drawing style, line style or markers changed. Or change them all together, with the default “(all)” series selection.
Customize your Area Chart
- Make your area chart multi-color, with a different color for each segment.
- Show data labels, with custom X markers.
- Show X axis labels as staggered.
- Click on some legend items to hide individual segments.
- You may change the area’s line drawing style to straight, spline, or a step line.
- Creating Area Charts in Data Xtractor or Visual Xtractor is fast and trivial: select one or more numeric columns as Area, and one column as Label if you wish.
- Change its line drawing style to one of: Straight (default), Spline, or Step 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.