Compare Live Data with a Chart

Communicate relationships within your data in real time with a visual chart. Create a chart, for example, to demonstrate how your sales numbers are trending over time with a line chart sourced from data stored in Smartsheet.

artists-chart

The charts that you create can be added to dashboards to quickly and easily communicate the health of a project, department, and more.

In this article:

The chart widget for Smartsheet dashboards (as well as the dashboards functionality) is available to customers on a Business or Enterprise plan. See the Smartsheet Pricing page for more information.

 

 

Before You Begin

Sharing requirements To add a chart to a dashboard, you must be the Owner or have Admin-level sharing permissions to that dashboard. You must also be shared to the sheet that contains the data that you want to chart. 

Data Format The format of your data in the sheet is key to creating the right chart. Before you create a chart, make sure your data is:

  • On a single sheet or report. Currently, you can’t chart data from other dashboards, or automatically collect data from multiple sheets into a chart. If your data is in multiple sheets, you’ll want to either create cell links or use formulas to collect the data into a single sheet, or create a report to collect the data into one view.
  • Already summarized and collected. The Charts widget will plot your data as it appears in the sheet. You’ll need to create formulas beforehand if you want to perform calculations on the data.
  • Has labels on the top and left sides of the table. If you don’t have text labels on the top row of your data, the Charts widget will use your column names as labels instead. See Apply Custom Formatting to Your Chart for more information.

Note that only integers can be plotted. If your table contains non-integer values such as text or symbols, they will not be plotted.


Create a Chart for a Dashboard

Live charts are stored as widgets on Smartsheet dashboards. (See our help article on dashboards for more information on this feature.) To create a chart widget:

  1. Open a dashboard and click Edit > Add Widget at the top of the dashboard. (If you’ve created a new dashboard that contains no widgets, the Add Widget button is immediately available.)
     
  2. In the widget selection form, select Chart.

    select-chart
     
  3. Before you can select your desired chart, you must first select your data in the Add Chart Data form that appears.
  4. On the left side of the form, select the sheet that contains the table that you want to chart, then select the range of cells on the right side.
  5. Once you have your data selected, click OK.

    TIP: If you need to change your data range later, edit the widget and click Edit Data to reselect the data range.

Once you’ve select your data, you’ll select your desired chart type and formatting. See the Select Your Chart Type section below for details.

Select Your Chart Type

Now that you’ve chosen the data that you want to chart, it’s time to select a chart that visually represents the story of your data. Smartsheet automatically suggests a chart type based on how the  data in your range is formatted. You can select a different chart type on the right side of the Edit Chart Widget form.

Data that you want to compareRecommended chart
How numbers have changed over timeline, smooth line, stepped line
Directly compare numbers against each othercolumn, bar, stacked column, stacked bar
Show how individual numbers relate to the whole of your data setPie, donut


TIP: If your data in the chart doesn’t look as you’d expect it to, try clicking Switch rows/columns.

Apply Custom Formatting to Your Chart

You can find various chart formatting options (for example, changing the font on the titles & legends) underneath their respective sections on the right side of the Edit Chart Widget form.

To do thisFollow these steps
Switch how columns and rows are plotted on your chart for a different view of the dataClick Switch rows/columns
Chart only on certain columns from the selected range.Click Select Columns.
Change the chart typeClick the tile of the chart type that you want to use
Add a title to your chart and/or axesExpand the Title & Legend section and enter your titles as needed
  • When adding a title, make sure that Chart Title is checked
  • To change the format of a title, click in that title’s text box and then use the formatting buttons to make changes to that title
Add or move a legend on your chartExpand the Title & Legend section and select one of the following options:
  • None
  • Top
  • Right
  • Bottom
  • Left
Add gridlines to your chart (except Pie Charts)Expand the Horizontal Axis or Vertical Axis sections and check the Gridlines box
Label slices of a pie or donut chart with percentage of the whole or actual valuesExpand the Pie Chart or Donut Chart section, make sure that Slice Label is checked, and use the dropdown to select one of the following:
  • Percentage
  • Value
Change the colors of data or add labels to data plotted in your chartExpand the Series section and choose which item to apply formatting to.

NOTE: The Default option will apply to all data in the chart
Ignore the text labels that you’ve typed in the cells of your tableCheck the box for Use column names as labels
Edit the interaction of the widget (interaction is what happens when you click the widget)Click Edit Interaction and choose one of the interaction options:
  • Do nothing (no action)
  • Open the source sheet
  • Go to a URL
  • Open a Smartsheet item
Line charts: fill the area below the line with the line's respective colorExpand the Series section and check the box for Fill
Pie and Donut charts: display as a half-pie or half-donutExpand the Pie Chart or Donut Chart section and check the box for Semicircle

Modify an Existing Chart

To change formatting, selected data, or the type of chart being used in a chart widget:

  1. Click the Edit button in the upper-left corner of your dashboard.
  2. Double-click on the chart widget that you want to edit.

    The Edit Chart Widget form appears.
    edit-chart-widget
  3. Make your desired changes, then click Done.
  4. Click Save in the upper-left corner to save the changes you’ve made.

Live Charts on the Smartsheet Mobile App

After you’ve added charts to dashboards from the computer desktop browser version of Smartsheet, you can view them from the Smartsheet App (available for iOS and Android). Your charts may have slight formatting differences when viewing them on the mobile app as opposed to when you view them on a desktop browser.

Why are my data labels for a Line chart not showing up in mobile app?

Due to the smaller screen size of mobile devices, data labels are not displayed on Line charts; however, you can tap on a data point to see labels and individual values.

Why are my labels truncated when on mobile devices but not when viewing from a laptop/desktop?

In order to maximize the visibility of the main chart area on smaller screen sizes of mobile devices, labels are truncated according to different rules than when viewing charts on the desktop.

Why are hours in my date format not displaying?

If hours are included at the end of a date label (for example, 5/27/17 5:00pm), the time component will not be visible on the axis label due to truncation. However, the full time label will be visible by tapping on the data point.

Why are negative data labels not displaying on my chart?

Currently, charts configured with all negative values won’t be displayed on the mobile app. You’ll need to view this on a computer desktop browser.

Why are my data point values formatted differently in between Mobile and Desktop?

There are certain elements that we must display differently on the Smartsheet mobile app due to the way the app interprets your data. Here are some examples of this: 

Currency—If one cell in a series of your source data table has a different format (for example, a mix of US Dollar and Euro formats), the mobile app will not display any currency formatting (it will show 308,488.00, 277,783.00, and so on).

format-series

If all cells in a row have the same format (Euro), the mobile app will show the currency format for that row.

format-row

Decimals—If you have varying formats set for the level of decimal places shown in your source data table, the mobile app will show the full decimal value in the data label and tooltip (visible when you tap on a data point). Desktop will display in the format as displayed in the sheet. For example:

Actual data on the sheet1.2345.203.41116.12
Formatted data on the sheet1.235.203.41116.1
Mobile Data Label and Tooltips1.23405.20003.41116.1200
Desktop Data Label and Tooltips1.235.203.41116.1

Percentages—If one cell in a series has a different percentage format, mobile will default to decimal format. For example:

Formatted data on the sheet2.00%0.23%5.0%
Mobile Data Label and Tooltips0.020.200.030.05
Desktop Data Label and Tooltips2.00%0.23%5.0%

Thousands separators—If one cell in a series has a different format, mobile will not display the format. For example:

Formatted data on the sheet12897251,831,505.001,362,811.00207,000.00
Mobile Data Label and Tooltips1289725.001831505.001362811.00207000.00
Desktop Data Label and Tooltips12897251,831,505.001,362,811.00207,000.00

Available Chart and Column Types

Chart Types

Smartsheet offers the following chart types:

  • Line
  • Smooth line
  • Stepped line
  • Bar
  • Stacked bar
  • Column
  • Stacked column
  • Pie
  • Donut

Column Types

The chart widget supports charting only for the following column types:

  • Text/Number—values must be numbers only
  • Dropdown List—numbers only, excluding text strings that look like numbers
  • Auto-Number/System-generated column—numbers with no Prefix or Suffix (no text)
  • Symbols—numbers only (symbols can't be charted)

More information on the different column types in Smartsheet can be found in Use the Best Column Type for Your Data.

Charts FAQ

I want to use the data in the top row of my table as labels but the chart is using my column names instead. How do I fix this?

When there are integer values in the top row of your data, the Charts widget will assume these values are meant to be plotted and use the column names as labels instead. If you want to force the use of the data in the top row of your table as labels, uncheck Use column names as labels.

Can a chart be created from data in more than one sheet?

Currently, charts can only be created against data in a single sheet or report. If your source data is on multiple sheets, create a report to collect the information, or use cell links or a formula that references data from another sheet to collect your data into one sheet. More information on these options can be found in the following help center articles:

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