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Progression Charts - Timeline Chart

Overview

Timeline charts help you visualize the relationship between groups of events so you can compare the timespans over which these events took place. The timeline visualization works with numbers as well, as described later in this section.

You can choose to use a timeline visualization by clicking the ellipsis in the Visualization section and choosing Timeline. Then you can use the visualization options for editing timeline charts, as described on this page. The visualization option menu can be accessed by clicking the gear in the upper right corner of the visualization tab.

The timeline chart below shows the timespan between a customer’s first order date and the customer’s most recent order date. In addition, each timespan is colored to indicate the number of orders that the customer has placed.

Timeline visualizations are based on fields in the Data section, so the fields must be in a particular order. Ignoring any fields that are hidden from the visualization, the timeline needs the following fields (in order from left to right):

  • Label field: A string field, such as a name.
  • Detail field: A second, optional string field, which enables multiple bars per row of the timeline visualization. See Displaying Multiple Bars per Row.
  • Start field: A start date or number.
  • End field: An end date or number.
  • Magnitude field: An optional number field, which determines the bar color on a continuum between the two colors specified in the visualization options. See Using Colors for additional information and other options using colors and labels.

Using Timeline Visualizations Without Dates

Note that timeline charts can be helpful for information other than dates. For example, the timeline visualization below lists several airlines, each with a bar where:

  • The bar starts at the airline’s on-time flight count
  • The bar ends at the airline’s total flight count
  • The bar’s color indicates the airline’s on-time percentage as a magnitude value

The magnitude coloring helps illustrate that although an airline may have a large difference between its on-time flight count and its total flight count, it may have a good on-time percentage. For example, Southwest has a wide bar but also has the best percentage of on-time flights, as shown by the purple bar showing its on-time percentage. You can hover over a bar to see the data that the bar represents, including:

  • The beginning value of the bar
  • The ending value of the bar
  • The value represented by the color of the bar (if any)

Displaying Individual or Multiple Bars per Row

If you have included the optional Detail string field in your data, each value of the Detail field is displayed as a different bar on its associated Label row. For example, the visualization below has a Label field indicating the airline carrier name and a Detail field indicating the origin state for flights. The detail bars are grouped by label, meaning that each airline has only one row. Then each detail value, the origin state, displays as a single bar on that airline’s row:

Alternatively you can display each of the Detail bars on its own row by setting the Group Bars by Label option to OFF. In this case, you will have multiple rows with the same Label value, as shown below:





Using Colors

For timeline visualizations, the color of a bar can mean different things, depending on your data:

  • Magnitude value—Each bar is a color along a continuum between two colors to illustrate the magnitude value for the bar. To set this up, include a Magnitude field in your query and specify exactly two bars colors in the visualization options.
  • Detail value—Each bar matches one of the possible values of the Detail field. To set this up, include a second string field in your data and choose three or more bar colors in the visualization options. (If you don’t have a Magnitude field, you can select two bar colors and the colors will indicate the values in the second string field. But if you do have a Magnitude field and select only two colors, the color will always indicate the Magnitude field.)
  • In all other cases, the color of the bar is determined by a repeating pattern of the bar colors selected in the visualization options.

For example, below we have two different visualizations of the same airline data. The data includes a second string field (Origin State) and a magnitude number (Flights Percent Ontime). In this first example, we have selected more than two bar colors, so the colors indicate the values in the string field. The legend shows which Origin State is represented by each color:

In this second example, we have selected two bar colors. Since we have set the magnitude, the colors indicate the magnitude number on the continuum between the two selected bar colors. This is the same data as above, but now the legend shows the color continuum and what Flights Percent Ontime value the colors on each end of the continuum represent:

Finally, if we remove both the Detail and Magnitude fields, the colors simply alternate between the colors specified in the visualization options:

Options

Bar Colors

The Bar Colors section lets you define the color scheme for the chart.

Using a Predefined Color Scheme

The Bar Colors dropdown menu lets you choose from Analytics' pre-defined color options. Analytics includes color palettes for a variety of use cases, such as highlighting differences, showcasing a progression, serving a color-blind audience, and so forth.

Each bar in the chart represents one number in the underlying data series. Colors will be assigned to each bar in order. The first bar will be assigned the first color, and so on. If there are more bars than colors listed, the colors will repeat from the beginning of the list.

Creating a Custom Color Scheme

To create a custom color scheme, you can either:

  1. Click on one of the colors already shown, then edit it
  2. Click the "+" button at the end of the color scheme to add a new color
  3. Click the "#" button at the top right of the menu to use a comma-separated list of CSS or hex color values (such as mediumblue or #2ca6cd)

Clicking on one of the colors already present, or clicking the "+" button, will bring up a color picker that you can use to select a color. The corresponding hex value for that color will also be displayed at the bottom of the color picker:

To remove a color from the palette, click the trash can icon in the color picker.

Clicking on the "#" button reveals the Chart Colors box, where you can enter a list of CSS or hex colors:

You can input a list of hex strings, such as #2ca6cd, or CSS named color strings, such as mediumblue.

You'll notice that the the text box will be populated with the hex codes of any color scheme you've already chosen or customized. Copying and pasting this list is the best way to copy custom color schemes from one visualization to another.

Group Bars by Label

If your data has the optional Detail string field in your data, the Group Bars by Label option lets you determine whether the visualization should display each Detail bar in its own row, or if the Detail bars for each Label value should all be in the same row. See Displaying Multiple Bars per Row.

Label Size

Label Size sets the font size of the labels, from Tiny to Huge.

Value Format

Value Format specifies the number or date format of the value. The parameter accepts Excel-style formatting. If no formatting is specified, the value will be displayed in the format of the underlying dimension or measure.

You can read Excel’s complete guide about how to specify these formats in their documentation. However, note that color formatting is not supported in Analytics.

Using this field, you can specify the formatting of numeric values. Some of the most common formatting options are shown here:

Value Format
Meaning
#
Integer (123)
*00#
Integer zero-padded to 3 places (001)
0.##
Number up to 2 decimals (1. or 1.2 or 1.23)
0.00
Number with exactly 2 decimals (1.23)
*00#.00
Number zero-padded to 3 places and exactly 2 decimals (001.23)
#,###
Number with comma between thousands (1,234)
#,##0.00
Number with comma between thousands and 2 decimals (1,234.00)
0.000,," M"
Number in millions with 3 decimals (1.234 M). Please note division by 1 million happens automatically.
$#
Dollars with 0 decimals ($123)
$0.00
Dollars with 2 decimals ($123.00)
$#,##0.00
Dollars with comma between thousands and 2 decimals ($1,234.00)
#%
Percent with 0 decimals (1%). Please note multiplication by 100 happens automatically.
0.00%
Percent with 2 decimals (1.00%). Please note multiplication by 100 happens automatically.
0.00\%
Percent with 2 decimals (1.00%). Multiplication by 100 does NOT happen automatically here.

Using this field, you also can specify the formatting of date values. Some of the most common formatting options are shown here:

Date Format
Meaning
m
Month as a number with no leading zero. May is shown as "5".
mm
Month as a number with a leading zero when appropriate. May is shown as "05".
mmm
Month as an abbreviation (Jan to Dec).
mmmm
Month as a full name (January to December).
mmmmm
Month as a single letter (J to D).
d
Day as a number without a leading zero.
dd
Day as a number with a leading zero when appropriate.
ddd
Day as an abbreviation (Sun to Sat).
dddd
Day as a full name (Sunday to Saturday).
yy
Year as a two-digit number.
yyyy
Year as a four-digit number.
h
Hour as a number without a leading zero.
hh
Hour as a number with a leading zero when appropriate. If the format contains AM or PM, the hour is based on the 12-hour clock. Otherwise, the hour is based on the 24-hour clock.
m
Minute as a number without a leading zero.
NOTE: The m must appear immediately after the h or hh element or immediately before the s or ss element (otherwise, it will be interpreted as month instead of minutes).
mm
Minute as a number with a leading zero when appropriate.
NOTE: The mm must appear immediately after the h or hh element or immediately before the s or ss element (otherwise, it will be interpreted as month instead of minutes).
s
Second as a number without a leading zero.
ss
Second as a number with a leading zero when appropriate. If you want to display fractions of a second, use a number format that resembles h:mm:ss.00.
am/pm, a/p
Hour using a 12-hour clock. Excel displays "AM" or "A" for times from midnight until noon and "PM" or "P" for times from noon until midnight.


Show Legend

Show Legend lets you determine whether or not a map legend should be displayed at the bottom of the visualization.

See Using Colors above for more information about using color to represent your data.