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Add a Basic KPI and Column Chart to a Dashboard

Explains how to create a basic KPI chart and a basic multi-series column chart including how to duplicate charts.

Charts provide insight into your business. Well-crafted charts can give you and your target audience a visual representation of data. Charts can help you:

  • Pick out exceptional results for a given period or sales region.
  • Draw attention to anomalies or extreme dips in sales of a particular product.

You can create charts on a dashboard that can tell a visual story about the state of your business. For example, the following shows Quarterly Sales Results for each product sold. Use this dashboard to present sales performance to executives:

Dashboard Showing Q4 Revenue for Product, Services, and Maintenance as KPIs and Columns Charts

You must be in edit mode to add a chart to a dashboard in perspective. As you create a chart, see changes as you go and adjust the format to get the results that you are looking for.

This article explains how to create a KPI chart and column for revenue in the Sales Results dashboard. You will create two charts for product revenue. You will create copies of these charts for service revenue and maintenance revenue.

This example focuses on creating basic charts and assumes that the perspective and dashboard were previously created. This example visualizes data using the following GL accounts and sub-accounts:

  • Product Revenue
    • Revenue - Laptops
    • Revenue - Tablets
    • Revenue - Smartphone
  • Service Revenue
    • Revenue - Existing Contracts
    • Revenue - New Contracts
  • Maintenance Revenue
    • Revenue - Existing Contracts
    • Revenue - New Contracts
    • Revenue - Renewal

Your accounts may be different than the ones illustrated in this example.

Create a KPI

The following KPI example shows the variance between planned product revenue for Q4 compared to actuals. A micro chart visually represents the quarterly trend from October through December.

Example KPI Chart

See KPI Chart Settings for descriptions of Appearance, Data, and Time settings.

Create a Basic KPI

You will create a KPI for product revenue that represents three months in Q4. 

  1. Open the perspective and click .
    Example: Go to the Executive Summary perspective

  2. Navigate to the dashboard.
    Example: Go to the Sales Results tab.

  3. From the left panel, click Chart Tab to view the list of charts.

  4. Drag and drop KPI Chart Icon to the design area and create a KPI chart. .

  5. Click the Account Tab to choose an account. Drag and drop an account to the chart in the design area.
    Example: Expand GL accounts and drag Product Revenue to the chart.

  6. From the right panel, click Appearance Settings Tab to edit the appearance settings and change the overall format and style of the chart.

    1. Change the name of the chart.
      Example: Rename the KPI: Product Revenue

    2. Change the Layout: Remove any unnecessary information from the layout.
      Example: Turn off the Series Header and Period Header.

    3. Format the Reference Value - the source for the comparison.
      Example: Keep defaults for Time Alignment, Period, Date Range, Version, Font.

    4. Keep the defaults for Comparison Value, Variance, and Variance Percentage.

    5. Format the Micro Chart.
      Example: Keep the defaults for Time Alignment, Date Range, and Accumulate. Change Period to Quarter and Breakdown Period Level to Month. This will allow you to see the 3-month trend for the quarter. Change the Type to Line and Color to a color of your choice.

  7. Click Data Settings Tab to edit the data settings on the account.
    Example: Keep Product Revenue as the Account. Keep defaults for Filter and Negative Number Format. Change Display Units to $(#,##0).

Navigation Tip: Click the arrow in the account field to expand the detail section for that account.

  1. Click Time Settings Tab  to edit the time settings.
    Example: Keep defaults for Data Range and Span Type. Change Stratum to Quarter and Period to Q4 2016.

In Edit mode, you can override the time settings. Hover your mouse over the toolbar at the bottom of each chart to display the Time toolbar. You can reset these overrides to the settings configured from the Time Settings tab.To keep the overrides, update these settings in the Time Settings tab.

Duplicate and Configure the KPI

Duplicating a chart is useful when you want to reuse a chart that requires with a few setting changes. You can edit a duplicated chart without changing the original chart. 

Create two copies of the Product Revenue KPI and change each copy for Service Revenue and Maintenance Revenue.

  1. Hover your move over the KPI, click moreIcon.png for more options. Choose Duplicate to create a copy the chart with a default name: Product Revenue - Copy.

  2. Click Appearance Settings Tab to edit the appearance settings:

    1. Rename the duplicated KPI: Service Revenue.

    2. Change the micro chart color to another color of your choice.

No other changes are required for this example.

  1. Click Data Settings Tab to edit the Data Settings. Choose another revenue account:

Click Arrow from Account to Choose Another Account

Example: Choose Service Revenue

No time setting change is required for this example.

  1. Duplicate and create the third KPI for maintenance revenue.

Add a Column Chart

These steps explain how to add a multi-series column chart to your dashboard. This chart shows actual revenue for three products for each month in Q4. After completing these steps, you will have a chart that will look like:

Column Chart Showing Product Revenue for Three Products

To create a version-based comparison, add the same account multiple times to a chart and change the version on each account from Data settings tab. See Create a Period-over-period Chart.

See Bar and Column Chart Settings for descriptions of Appearance, Data, and Time settings.

Create a Column Chart and First Data Series

  1. From the left panel, click Chart Tab to view the list of charts. Drag Column Chart Icon to the design area to create column chart.

  2. Click Account tab to view a list of accounts. Choose an account and drag it to the chart.
    Example: Expand GL > Revenue and drag Product Revenue - Laptops to the chart. This account represents the first in a data series of three.

  3. From the right panel, click Appearance Settings Icon to edit the appearance settings. Experiment with the following:

    1. Change the name of the chart.
      Example: Rename Sales by Product.

    2. Keep the default for settings in the Data Labels, Axis, and Legend sections.

  4. Click Data Settings Icon to edit the data settings of the account. Experiment with the following:

    1. Keep the Account as is.

    2. Change the Version to Actuals. Click the arrow to expose a list of available versions.

    3. Keep the defaults for Filter, Series Type, Data Labels.

    4. Change the color of this series to a color of your choice.

    5. Change Display Units to $(#,##0).

  5. Click Time Settings Tab to edit the time settings. Experiment with the following:

    1. Keep defaults for Span and Span Type

    2. Change Stratum to Month.

    3. Change From to Oct 2016 and To to Dec 2016. This will display data for each month in Q4.

Add the Second and Third Data Series

Add a second and third data series to the chart, which inserts additional columns in the chart. Change each data series using the settings described in prior steps.
For example, drag accounts Product Revenue - Tablets and Product Revenue - Smart Phone to the chart.

Duplicate and Configure Column Charts

Create a copy the Product Revenue column chart to create charts for service revenue and maintenance revenue. In these steps, you will experiment with two methods for replacing accounts in the chart.

  1. Hover your mouse over the column chart, click More Icon and choose Duplicate to create a copy the chart with a default tab name: Sales by Product - Copy.
  2. Click Appearance Settings Tab to edit the appearance setting. Rename the duplicated chart to Sales by Services.

  3. Click Data Settings Icon to edit the data settings and replace the product revenue accounts with service revenue accounts:
    1. Expand the first account: Revenue - Laptop and expand and open the Account list.
    2. Navigate to and expand the Services Revenue account and choose Services Revenue - Existing Customers.
    3. Close this account section and delete the remaining revenue accounts: Revenue - Tablets and Revenue - Smartphones. To delete an account from the Data Settings tab, click X next to the account.
    4. Click the Account Tab in the left panel to choose an account. Drag and drop Revenue - New Contracts account to the chart.
    5. Click Data Settings Icon in the right pane to edit the data settings of the account. Change the version associated with the Revenue - New Contracts account to Actuals.
  4. Duplicate one of the column charts to create a chart for maintenance revenue. Repeat these steps – replacing the accounts with Maintenance Revenue accounts. 

This completes this walkthrough for creating a dashboard based on a series of KPI and column charts.

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