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Adaptive Insights
Knowledge @ Adaptive Insights LLC, a Workday company.

Create a Period-over-period Chart

Explains how to create a period-over-period line chart using Discovery.

Period-over-period charts can show you how your business is performing in one period compared to other periods. A period-over-period chart can help you visualize any cyclical trends in your business. Column, line, and area charts work best for creating period-over-period charts.

The walkthrough will explain how to create a period-over-period chart:

  • Add the same data series (average sales price) twice to a line chart.
  • Set up unpinned time for 12 months, 6 months in the past and 5 months in the future.
  • Set up the first data series for the current period.
  • Set up the second data series for a prior period, 12 months in the past.

The following is a period-over-period line chart that visualizes the average sales price for a current period compared to a 12-month period in the past.

Line Chart that Shows the Average Sales Price for a Current and Prior 12-month period

Before You Begin

You must have:

This walkthrough assumes that the perspective and dashboard were previously created. This walkthrough uses the default version Actuals, Perspective Context September 2018, and a metric account ASP - Average Sales Price.

Your versions and data sources may be different than the ones illustrated in this example.

See Area and Line Chart Settings for options and descriptions.

Create a Line Chart for an Unpinned 12-month Period

You will add the same data series twice to a line chart to set up the period-over-period visualization. You will set time for the chart to show data for a 12-month period for an unpinned time range – six months prior to the current month and five months into the future.

Create the Line Chart 

After completing this step, the chart will look like:

Line Chart with Same Data Series Added Twice

Each data series is set by default to the current time alignment. Initially each data series is aligned on top of each other – giving the appearance of only one data series. Open th Data Settings tab to confirm that two identical data series are in the chart. In a later step, you will change the time alignment on one of the data series to create the period-over-period visualization.

  1. Open the perspective and navigate to the dashboard and click Edit icon.
  2. On the left panel, click Chart tab to choose a chart. Drag and drop Line Chart Icon to the design area to create a line chart.
  3. Click Accounts Tab to choose an account. Drag and drop the ASP - Average Sales Price account to the line chart.
  4. Re-add the same account again.

Set Up  Unpinned Time

You will set time for the chart to show data by month for an unpinned time range from January to December of the current year. You will set the time alignment on each data series to create the period-over-period alignment. After completing these steps, the chart will look like:

Line Chart Set up for an Unpinned 12-month Period

If the current time period is September 2018, the time range is March 2018 through February 2019.

  1. Click Time Settings Tab to set the time for the chart:
    • Stratum: Month
    • Span is Range
    • Unpin time. Unpinned Icon(gray indicates unpinned) and choose Backwards 6 months and Forwards 5 month. Including the current period, this setup will visualize data for a 12-month period.

Change the Time Alignment on a Data Series

After completing these steps, the chart will look like:

Line Chart with Time Alignment on Second Data Series set to 12-month Prior

The time labels on the x-axis will reference the same month for the current year and for the prior year. For example: Mar 2018, Mar 2017. If these pairing do not match month-for-month, the offset count needs adjustment.

  1. Click Data Settings icon to change the data settings of a data series.
  2. Expand the second ASP - Average Sales Price account and change:
    1. Time Alignment: Previous
    2. Offset Count: 12. Sets the time alignment back 12 periods based on the time settings on the chart.

Format the Chart

To make the data on this chart more impactful, experiment various settings:

  • Zoom into key data ranges by scaling the primary axis.
  • Trim the data series referenced on the legend.

After completing these steps, the chart will look like:

Line Chart that Shows the Average Sales Price for a Current and Prior 12-month period

Scale the Primary Axis

By default, a data series is set to auto-scaling and axis is set to start at zero. You can change the scale to zoom into key data ranges for a more impactful visualization.

  1. On the right panel, click Appearance Settings tab to change the appearance of the chart.
  2. Expand the Axis section and change the Primary Axis Start From Zero to off. 

Notice in this example that the axis starting point changes from 0 to 77. The changes from data point to data point is more visible. 

If you want to zoom in more, set Primary Axis Auto Scaling to off and enter minimum and maximum axis ranges.

Format the Data Series

Improve the readability of a chart by editing the legend labels for each data series and adding a data labels on the data points of one of the data series.

  1. Click Data Settings icon to change the data settings for each data series.
  2. On the first data series, change:
    • Name: ASP - Current Period
    • Data Label: On 
  3. On the second data series, change the Name: ASP - Prior Period

This completes this walkthrough.

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