Crystal Reports Charting Fundamentals
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by Jeff McWherter
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Choosing Your Chart Type

Crystal Reports 2008 provides 16 chart types that are very professional and will help you visualize your data. The information in Figure 2 contains the 16 different types of charts for Crystal Reports 2008 and the type of data each chart should represent.

Figure 2: Crystal Reports 2008 Chart Types

Chart Type



A chart with rectangular bars with a length proportional to the value that they represent. Useful to show relative comparisons between items or showing the change in a single value over time.


A graph created by connecting a series of data points together with a line; useful for representing changes in multiple values over time.


A line chart with the area between the line and the axis filled in. Volumetrically represents changes in single or multiple values over time.


A circular chart divided into pie-shaped sectors that represent percentages or relative quantities of the whole.


A pie chart with a blank space in the center; additional doughnut charts can be nested inside of each other that may or may not represent data that is related.

3-D riser

A three dimensional bar chart, useful for comparing multiple groups of values in a single chart.

3-D surface

A three dimensional chart; can be used to show how a particular value changes in relation to two different variables.

XY scatter

A chart that plots data points along two axes; useful for analyzing similarities between pairs or sets of values, or comparing large numbers of data points.


A circular chart with a radial line representing each variable; points closer to the center represent a lower value. Useful in comparing multiple variables all related to a single item.


A chart similar to an XY Scatter chart that replaces data points with bubbles whose size is determined by the relative size of a third value.


A chart similar to a bar chart, however, the bottoms of the bars do not have to start at the axis. Useful in illustrating values that have a range with a minimum and maximum.

Numeric Axis

A chart that can be similar to a bar, line, or area chart that can use a time/date or a numeric value for the X-axis rather than a relative value.


A chart that represents values with a “needle” pointing to the value on the circular chart, similar to the fuel gauge in a car. May have more than one needle representing different values on the same chart.


A chart that represents a project schedule, with a bar for each task showing the beginning and ending date for each task.


This chart is shaped like a funnel, with the largest value represented at the top in the widest part of the funnel, and progressively decreasing proportional values as the chart goes downwards. The sides of the funnel can “pinch” in to show a decrease within a subset set of values.


This chart shows a data set broken down into (usually 7 or 8) bars that are sized based on how many times a value in each range occurred.

Specifying Chart Data

The "Data" tab of the Chart Expert allows you to select which data you would like visualized in the chart.  This tab allows you to perform summary options such as a "count" and "Sum" for the values that are shown on the report. The summary options can be evaluated (calculated) for all records, on change of a field or for each record in the data set.

Figure 3: The Chart Expert Data Tab

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User Comments

Title: i agree andy!   
Name: Pooja
Date: 2011-02-26 12:24:52 PM
you mentioned every comment, but you could have went little more indepth.
like i had problems in understanding the working of various things in data tab, bt u did not explain anything in detail.
Title: Yes, but documentation is rather poor   
Name: Andy Foreman
Date: 2009-07-17 10:23:34 AM
Your article on Crystal Reports 2008 charting was very good, and very honest too. However, two things you did not mention are rather important...

1 - Documentation for Crystal 2008 is overall, rather poor. Although they give you the basics, the inevitable detail questions that popup are not covered. For example, I did a chart on Crystal 2008 where some of my formulas were available for the chart, while others were not. Why? I have no idea - its not documented and indeed the documentation suggests that ALL formulas can be used, but in fact, they cannot. And that leads to...

2 - Support for Crystal is well, horrible. You have to go through SAPs web forums and if you have ever visited the SAP web site - well, there is an example of a web site run amock! You submit a question there and if you are lucky, you will get an answer a day or so later - sometimes not at all.

Amazing to spend this much money for Crystal and they cannot provide good documentation or support.

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