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Creating and editing visualizations

You create visualizations from pre-definited charts, fields, or custom objects. Once added to your sheet, you can edit and refine your visualizations. You must be in @Edit mode to be able to add or edit visualizations.

Creating visualizations

You create visualizations by dragging the chosen type of visualization onto the sheet from the assets panel and configuring its properties settings. For instructions on creating specific types of visualizations, see that visualization type in Visualizations.

Qlik Sense offers two methods of creating visualizations with assistance. You can use Insights to let Qlik Sense generate a selection of visualizations by analyzing your data. You can then choose to add these visualizations to your sheets. For more information, see Creating visualizations from your data using Insights. You can also create visualizations using chart suggestions by dragging a field onto the sheet from the assets panel and then dragging additional fields that you want in the visualization onto the first field. Qlik Sense then creates a suggested visualization based on the fields selected for the visualization. For more information, see Creating visualizations using chart suggestions.

You can also add a visualization by copying visualizations. This is useful if you want to use existing visualization settings in another visualization type. For more information, see Copying a visualization from an existing visualization

Custom objects are added in a similar manner. You start creating a visualization by dragging a visualization extension or a widget onto the sheet. For more information, see Creating a visualization using a custom object.

You can use containers to save space on your dashboard, by quickly switching between tabs with different visualizations. For more information, see Container.

Dimensions determine how the data in a visualization is grouped. For example: total sales per country or number of products per supplier. For more information, see Dimensions.

Measures are calculations used in visualizations, typically represented on the y-axis of a bar chart or a column in a table. Measures are created from an expression composed of aggregation functions, such as Sum or Max, combined with one or several fields. For more information, see Measures.

Do the following:

  1. Drag the visualization from the assets panel onto the sheet, or double-click the visualization.
  2. Add dimensions and measures to the visualization.

    You can add dimensions and measures using the buttons on the visualization. Or you can drag a field from the Fields tab of the assets panel, and then selectt to use it as a dimension or measure. The number of dimensions and measures that are required depends on which visualization you selected.

  3. Adjust the presentation: for example sorting, coloring, or labeling.

    For more information, see Changing the appearance of a visualization.

Editing visualizations

After creating a visualization, you may want to make adjustments to improve how it conveys information to users. For example, you can change the data used, or adjust the appearance of the visualization. You can add more dimensions or measures for further depth of information, or remove some to improve clarity, and declutter a visualization

The data in a visualization can be changed. For example, you might correct an invalid dimension or measure, or unlink a measure from a master measure so you can modify it without changing the master measure. For more information, see Changing the data of a visualization.

The appearance of a visualization can be edited to improve design and enhance understanding. There are a number of different ways you can adjust the appearance of your visualizations:

  • Colors: Coloring is one of the best ways to highlight values in your visualizations. Qlik Sense provides a range of different coloring options.

    For example, you can assign specific colors to the distinct values in a master dimension to ensure that those values use the same colors across all your visualizations.

    For more information, see Coloring a visualization.

  • Sorting: The sorting of your dimensions and measures helps ensure that content is presented in a logical and understandable manner.

    For more information, see Change the sorting of a visualization.

  • Titles and labels: Titles and labels can be changed for clarity and detail.

    For example, in a pie chart showing sales by region, you could add an expression providing the total sales sum.

    For more information, see Changing the appearance of a visualization.

  • Presentation: Different visualizations have different options that can be adjusted to enhance the display of data.

    For example, you can set bars in a bar chart to display as grouped or stacked, as well as vertically or horizontally.

    For more information, see Changing the appearance of a visualization.

You can convert a visualization into another visualization type, and preserve your settings. For more information, see Converting a visualization to another kind of visualization.

You edit visualization properties in the properties panel.

Do the following:

  1. Click Edit Edit sheet in the toolbar.

    The properties panel for the sheet opens to the right. (If it is hidden, click Show properties open right panel in the lower right-hand corner.)

  2. Click the visualization that you want to edit.

    The properties panel now shows the properties of the visualization.

  3. Make your changes in the properties panel.
  4. Click  Done editing in the toolbar.

Best practices for designing visualizations

Decluttering your apps

Too much information in an app makes it difficult to see what is important. Today’s modern user interface style is a cleaner, simpler, flatter style of design. A simplified design subtly guides the reader and allows them to stay focused.

Less is more

Users often try to include too much information in one app. Line charts with several measures can be confusing and difficult to interpret. Try creating several smaller visualizations to spread this information out onto the page. It also allows the reader to efficiently compare and contrast visualizations that are side-by-side. You can also use alternative dimensions and measures to allow the reader to quickly switch between measures without overcrowding a visualization. For more information, see Changing the data of a visualization.

There are number of different ways you can improve the aesthetics and functionality of your app. Depending on your audience and what data you want to highlight, the way you design your visualization may have a serious impact on the reader's interpretation of the data.

Know your limits

Consumers of your visualizations may be working with limited screen space or resolution. Qlik Sense uses responsive design to address these limitations. However, if screen space or resolution is too limited, certain design accommodations are necessary. These can include:

  • A subset of data being displayed in bar charts and line charts. When the number of dimension values exceeds the width of the visualization, a mini chart with a scroll bar is displayed.
  • Collapsed menus for selecting data filters. When the number of dimension values exceeds the space available for the filter pane, the menu is collapsed. App consumers have to click on the dimension name in the title of the filter pane to open a new pane. They can then make their selections in the new pane. Additionally, when there is limited space, dimension names may appear as ellipses in filter pane titles. App consumers have to click on the ellipses to view the name of the filter pane.
  • Truncated names in chart legends. Names that are too long for the space available for dimensions and measures are truncated. An ellipses is added to the end of truncated name. App consumers can hover their mouse pointer over the truncated name to view the complete name.
  • Missing legends, labels and titles.

App consumers can expand visualizations to address some of these issues. However, we recommend that you test your apps on devices where the apps may be consumed. You can also use various tools to test, such as responsive design mode in Firefox (Ctrl + Shift + M). If necessary, you can move visualizations to new sheets, reduce the amount of data shown in visualizations, and so on.

Color accessibility

The spectrum of colors is narrower for people who have color-based visual impairment. They may interpret your visualization differently than you intended.

For example, some people see the colors red and green more as yellow or brown. This form of red-green color vision deficiency is the most common. This is worth noting since red often carries a negative connotation in data visualizations, especially in finance.

A red or green KPI status can be confusing. You can use shapes with colors as performance indicators to make your designs more accessible. For example, use a red empty circle to denote bad, a green full circle for good, and a triangle as a warning symbol that only appears when a KPI status is at an unacceptable level.

Lines, bars, and pie slices can be difficult to distinguish when the colors are distorted.

For more information, see Changing the appearance of a visualization.

Filter and icon placement

Filers and icons are an essential part of data visualization, but it can be difficult to know where to place them or how to sort them. You can often anticipate where the user will begin to read based on a few well-established design principles.

Left placement

Several popular websites use left-side navigation tiles and filters. This is due to the fact that many languages read from left to right. As a result, the left-side of the screen is where these readers look most frequently. Users who are scanning for content tend to gravitate toward the left side of the screen. The farther to the right objects are, the less users will look at them. If all your filters and icons are stacked vertically on the left, it gives them equal weight.

Alternately, with languages where text is written right to left, the opposite of this is true. This should be kept in mind if your apps are translated into these languages.

Top placement

Another common placement option for icons and filters is along the top of an app. By not placing filters or icons on the left it gives more space for larger visualizations with distracting menus. When filters and icons are placed above visualizations they are also seen as separate from the content below. This can help show the reader that you are prioritizing the filters or icon. If all your filters and icons are side-by-side at the top, the one furthest to the left carries more weight and is prioritized by the reader.

For more information, see Structuring an app using sheets.

Information hierarchy

Sometimes you want your reader to prioritize certain visualizations over others. You can show hierarchy of information by using a few key design best practices. For example, you can use different sizes to emphasize some visualizations. Larger information is seen as more important: by increasing the font or chart size, you can show the reader where to look first.

Page placement also plays a part in information hierarchy. The information at the top of a page is perceived as more important than information at the bottom of the page because it is read first. Information on the first page is perceived as more important than information on the last page.

Adding context to KPIs

KPIs are a great way to communicate some of the big ideas inside your app. However, KPI values do not provide any context to the numbers and calculations that are happening behind the scenes. A green light next to a KPI does not tell the reader if the goal was barely achieved, or if you greatly surpassed it.

To help bring context to your KPIs, include supporting information next to the value in smaller text. For example, you can compare the current KPI value with the value from the previous year. You can also add a small bar chart without axes or values to provide information about the current trend.

For more information, see KPI properties.

Avoid the pitfalls of data visualization

To experience the benefits of data visualizations you must avoid the pitfalls. Here are some common ones:

Color abuse

Do not overdo colors. Be aware that the wrong color in the wrong place might cause confusion rather than clarity. Also, the same color may mean different things in different parts of the world.

Misuse of pie charts

Avoid having pie charts side by side to compare. Try not to squeeze too much information into them.

Visual clutter

Too much information defeats the purpose of clarity. Use a maximum of nine KPIs, and remove all visual clutter.

Style over substance

A beautiful visualization is not necessarily the most effective. Use design best practices at all times.

Bad data

Spot and correct issues with your data before you present it. Do not let your visualization take the blame for bad information.