Show Percentage Change in Xcelsius / SCDD Charts

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I recently had a requirement to show a month over month change by percentage in an Xcelsius chart. As you may have found out, there is no way to customize the tooltip labels within Xcelsius and SAP Crystal Dashboard Design charts. To fill in the requirement, I came up with a interesting workaround to use a second chart, with the new chart labels feature from SP3 to display month over month changes.

Pros– You can get closer than prior versions of Xcelsius to get what customers ask for in charting with all other functionality like ignore end blanks intact

Cons– I have to insert a second chart and you can only display one value.

In a perfect world, I would be granted with 100% control over what data I display in Xcelsius chart tooltips. That way I can show the following for any bar:

  • Bar value the
  • X-Axis label
  • Series name
  • Month over month change both as a value and as a %
  • Change the color of the % change based on pre-determined alert thresholds

All things considered, if you only have a few charts in your dashboard this workaround is not too bad, and looks great.

Here are a few notes in how to re-produce this functionality.

Configure the first chart

  1. Insert the first chart which will be the primary chart that your user will view
  2. Bind the data, axis labels, series name, etc
  3. In Appearance>Axis tab, hide the minor and major gridlines
  4. Delete the title and sub-title. Since you will overlay 2 charts on top of each other, you don’t want to worry about the titles. Instead you can use labels.
  5. On Appearance>Layout> Check hide chart background

Configure the second chart

  1. Copy and paste the first chart
  2. Change the X-Axis labels to the % delta for month over month. If you complete this step and thought I made a typo, I did mean the X Axis labels and not the values. What you want to end up with is a second chart where the bars are identical, but the x axis labels are percentage values. I know it does not sound correct, but the magic will happen in the next few steps.
  3. Go to Appearance Tab > Text
  4. Hide the horizontal axis lables.
  5. Check “Data Labels” to display the data labels.
  6. While on the same tab go down an un-check “Value” and check “Category Label”
  7. Now you should see the percentage values.
  8. Align the two charts on top of each other using the lower left vertical and horizontal axis points so they sit right on top of each other
  9. Re-size you second chart’s height so the vertical axis labels sit right on top of each other
  10. I usually go back and make the second chart’s vertical axis lables white. This way I don’t get any odd shadows if it is off by a few pixels.
  11. Move the second chart behind the first and you are done!!!
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3 Comments

  1. I’ve used the same basic technique many times in Crystal Reports. Most commonly, I use it when there are a number of small values in the chart that can’t display clearly, but the reader still needs broken out. I lump those small values into a single “Other” category in the chart. I turn off the legend for the chart. Then I create an identical chart, with all values listed, and turn the legend on with percentages listed. Lay the easily viewed chart on top (make sure the background is *not* transparent), and it looks like the “Other” category just gets expanded in the legend.

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