Creating area graphs

An area graph consists of one or more lines drawn on an x-y grid, with the area between the line and the x-axis filled in. Like line graphs, area graphs show trends in values, but the shading gives greater emphasis to differences in quantities. The areas can be oriented horizontally or vertically.

  1. Click the View menu, point to Graphs, then click Create.
  2. Click the Graph type drop-down arrow and choose the Area type.

    Area graph choices

    The procedure for vertical and horizontal area graphs is similar.

    The main difference is that, for vertical area graphs, the values from the source data field, called the Value field, are plotted on the vertical axis. For horizontal area graphs, the source data field values are plotted on the horizontal axis.

    The remaining steps are used to create a vertical area graph, but the same concept applies to the horizontal area graph. Just replace the "X field" references with "Y field."

  3. Click the Layer/Table drop-down arrow and choose the layer or table containing the data values that are to be graphed.
  4. Click the Value field drop-down arrow and choose the field of values to graph. The wizard shows the initial version of the graph.
  5. The points that are connected by the areas are initially in the order of the data values in the source table. Change the order of the points based on another field using the X field parameter.

    For example, you have a table with both economic (GDP) and demographic (population) fields. If you set Value field to the GDP and leave X field as the default, <None>, the data values will be sorted based on the order of the values in the table.

    If you then set X field to a population field and the type to Ascending, the points will be sorted with the least populous country on the left side of the graph, and as the population value increases, the points will be distributed to the right along the horizontal axis.

    If nothing is explicitly set for X field, the order is the same as in the data table (record 1, record 2, and so forth).

  6. Use theX label field lto specify a different field to label the bars in the graph, commonly a text (string) field.
  7. By default, the values of the input data are added to the legend of the graph. Uncheck the Add to legend check box to disable this.
  8. Check the Show labels (marks) check box to mark the data points between the line sections with their actual values.

    This is useful if there are adjacent points of similar value, where the small deviations may not be easily seen.

  9. Change the color of the area segments in the graph with the Colorcontrol. The Custom setting makes all the areas the same color. Using Palette allows you to have different colors applied to each area, determined from a range of predefined palettes.
  10. If you have more than one series, click the Multiple area type control to change how the areas for those series display together. The areas for different series can be displayed in series order, stacked on top of each other, or stacked as a percentage.
  11. Use Stairs mode to connect the data points with rectangular areas instead of directly. This gives a "stepped" appearance to the area graph.

    Screen shot of Stairs mode drop-down

  12. Click Show border to draw a perimeter line around the area for the series.
  13. Adjust the transparency of the areas with the Transparency (%) control. By default, the area graph for each series is opaque (0% transparent). If you have multiple series, you can use the transparency setting to make visible the portions of the area graph for other series that would otherwise be hidden.
  14. The general properties of the graph are set on the second page of the wizard. Click Next to proceed to this second page.

Related Topics

Published 6/7/2010