SharePoint is often described as a “Swiss Army knife”. It empowers organizations to create a modern workplace through its various capabilities. While SharePoint is widely popular as a Content (Document) Management and Collaboration platform; SharePoint lists, libraries, sites, or site collections are filled with insights that can propel an organization to the next level. It can enable organizations to take data-driven and confident decisions regarding future expansion, business investment & divestment among other business-critical decisions.
However, to make the most out of their SharePoint data modern-day organizations need to invest in creating beautifully designed, hyper-responsive, amazingly cogent dashboards displaying all the key performance indicators (KPIs), report updates, big data analyses, and business intelligence of the day. Such big-picture and pleasing to the eye score sheets can be remarkably useful to get a point across and transform business decision making.
Charts are an inseparable part of SharePoint dashboards. Though there are many visual charts and graphs utilized by modern businesses to spice up their SharePoint site, the line charts remain and will continue to remain the most popular chart types. Most amazing SharePoint dashboards utilize line charts to establish facts in an easy to comprehend manner. With that in mind let us take explore various important areas of line charts.
What is a Line Chart or Line Graph?
Line charts are the most basic, ancient, and efficient graphical representation showcasing a series of data points (markers) in a straight line. The roots of the line chart, also known as the line graph, can be traced as far back as the 10th century. While humankind has moved a long way in creating way more complex charts since those times, but the line chart can still pull its weight, especially when a user wants to plot continuous data in a chart and identify certain trends or patterns in them. This makes line charts a favorite chart type for SharePoint developers and power users.
Powerful use cases of Line Charts
Line charts are ideal for scenarios where the user is looking for large changes in the data values over a period of time. Some of the best use cases of the humble line chart, when it comes to SharePoint dashboarding are:
- Track changes that occur on data over a designated time: Line charts are great options for showing trends chronologically and can easily be interpreted at a single glance. Business users can use this graph to track sales performance, employee or team performance, the status of projects, among other things. By showing a trend, the line chart helps organizations plan efficiently for the future.
- Compare between two groups of data over a period of time: For example, users can compare the number of leads a particular salesperson has created in a year against those of the other team members with a simple line graph. You can plot the number of opportunities on one axis and the relevant quarter on the other. Each line would represent the performance of a salesperson. By doing so, you can quickly spot when the performance of a salesperson was good, average, or poor.
Tips to build better Line Charts
Line charts can help organizations build insightful, beautiful, and easy to comprehend SharePoint dashboards, which continuously provide useful data insights to users. But these charts still have to be built properly, so below are some tips to build better line charts to powerpack your SharePoint dashboards.
- Always begin axes from the zero point: Many users start a line graph from a random numeric value to fit their purpose. However, the best practice is always to start from the zero point. This practice makes it easier for users to gauge the rises and falls in the data values.
- Restrict the length of axes: Ensure that the line(s) of the chart takes up around 50%-60% of the total area. This makes the finished chart appear better and neater. If the axes overstretch this limit then the chart would look too crowded and if the proportion is any less then the chart might look less significant.
- Omit the legend when possible: Line graphs are meant to be simple and having a legend defeats that purpose. Many users create a legend with names for the individual lines, while this might be your approach towards creating a graph, it takes away the simplicity from the line graph. The viewers have to go back and forth between the chart and the legend to comprehend the value. It would be a better practice to put the corresponding names beside the lines themselves. This way, the viewers can study and understand the line chart faster.
As evident, line charts help viewers in identifying trends from a series of values over a particular period at a single glance. It can be helpful to almost anyone – from CEOs to business analysts. QuickApps for SharePoint On-premises and SharePoint Online enables organizations to display SharePoint data with line charts thereby helping users make the most from SharePoint business data. QuickApps is a set of powerful web apps enabling organizations to create impactful dashboards and automate their processes. qChartView is a popular QuickApps web app that allows organizations to create compelling charts (including 3D varieties) utilizing data from multiple lists across sites, site collections, and web applications. It contains 30 plus popular chart types, including line charts, to satisfy a wide range of visual, BI, and dashboard requirements. Gather more information about QuickApps features and capabilities here.
Associate Director – Product Development
Amit Gupta plays a key role in incubating and establishing best SharePoint practices at AgreeYa. He is closely associated with the Product Development and Delivery team and works to find new solutions based on Microsoft technology and optimize performance and responsiveness for our clients. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org