How to Create Pictograms

Table of Contents

What are Pictograms

Pictograms use series of repeated icons or geometric shapes to visualize simple data.

Single icons can be selected from predefined selectable image markers, manageable through Xtractor Templates. Stacked pictograms are based on multiple values and use image markers from a predefined selectable marker palette.

We have three basic types of pictograms:

  1. Pictogram – single-series, set directly to one numeric data column, it repeats a single image marker the number of times equal with the related value.
  2. Stacked Pictogram – multi-series, linked to multiple numeric columns, it shows several times the first palette marker, then the second palette marker and so on.
  3. Bubble Pictogram – multi-series, it draws a small gray rectangle for each linked numeric column, with size proportional to the related value.

Steps to Create a Pictogram

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

For a single-series pictogram:

  1. Display and enable the Inline Chart query builder.
  2. Set directly one numeric column as Pictograms – Pictogram.
  3. Column’s values will be translated into a repeating icon.

For multi-series pictograms:

  1. Display and enable the Inline Chart query builder.
  2. From any column, select either PictogramsStacked Pictogram or Bubble Pictogram.
  3. A new empty column may be added, with this inline chart setting.
  4. In the Edit Inline Chart Series popup, reference the columns they are based on, or some constant values.

Pictograms Demo Query

Look for the ready-to-use Pictograms generated query under the Queries > Demo Queries > Inline Charts > Horizontal Bars folder. Click on the “add demo queries” command link, if not there.

Combined Pictogram Query

Stacked pictogram and bubble pictogram both use the quantity and reminder numeric values. Reference these columns in the Edit Inline Chart Series popup. As that’s a multi-value based chart, you cannot assign it directly to an existing column data, but to an empty column, which may be generated if you selected it elsewhere.

Pictogram Parameters

Customize your Pictogram

  1. You may change the image marker for a Pictogram, or the marker palette for a Stacked Pictogram.
  2. You may show ratings with either one single-series Pictogram, or two Stacked Pictogram graphs, as here below.

Complex Ratings Pictogram


  • Creating Pictograms in Data Xtractor or Visual Xtractor is fast, funny and straightforward: set directly a numeric field as Pictogram, and its values will appear as repeating figures. You may change the predefined icon with another image marker.
  • For multiple columns involved, select either Stacked Pictogram or Bubble Pictogram, and reference in the popup window the columns they are based on. You may change the predefined set of stacked icons with another marker palette.
  • Load your own images, and create your own marker palettes with them, through Xtractor Templates.
  • Switch to another builtin inline chart theme, or customize your own, for any possible color or other styles.