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Visualizing your results

Results tables can be useful for finding specific numbers or checking out your data, but it's usually easier to see trends and make sense of your data using charts.

In Lightdash, the data in your results tables can be visualized in a bunch of different ways:

The visualization type that you pick determines how Lightdash shows the data series in your chart. To change how your data is displayed, go into the charts tab in the Explore view. You have the option to change the chart type shown by selecting a style from the drop-down:

chart-types

you can also adjust all of the configuration settings for your chart type by clicking on the configure button:

config-button

Once you've finished creating your chart, you can share it using the URL, save the chart, download it as an image, or save it to a dashboard.

Chart types and options​

Each chart type has its own configuration options. Click the configure button next to the chart type in the chart tab to see your options.

Big value​

big value chart

The Big value option is for displaying a single value, well, big.

The Big value works for any type of value: string, numeric, boolean, you name it! We always display the first value from the field in your results table.

The options for Big value include:

  • Selecting which field you want to use for your Big value.
  • Updating the label below the Big value value.

Table​

table chart

The Table option is good for looking at (surprise, surprise) tabular data, or for lists of things like user IDs or transactions.

The options for Tables include:

  • Renaming the columns in your table.
  • Showing/hiding the columns in your table.
  • Showing/hiding the table name from the column labels.

By default, we attach the table name to your field name (just in case you've got any duplicate fields from joined tables). But, you can easily turn this off in your table viz with a toggle.

Bar chart​

bar chart

Bar charts are helpful to:

  • compare things between different groups (e.g. the number of orders you have by product type)
  • track how a number changes over time if you have a smaller number of x-axis values (e.g. number of new users per month over a year).

Stacked bar chart​

stacked bar chart

You can also stack bar charts to compare proportions across different groups.

Stacked bar charts work best when:

  • the focus of the chart is to compare the totals and one part of the totals. It's hard to compare bars if they don't start at the same baseline. So, if you're trying to build a chart to compare multiple parts of your total with each other, consider keeping your bar chart unstacked!
  • you're trying to show the parts of multiple totals. If you only want to show parts of one total, consider an unstacked bar chart instead.If you only want to communicate one part of one total, consider if you should be using a big value chart instead.

You can see more details about bar chart configurations here.

Area chart​

Area charts are best if:

  • you want to show how values develop over time. If you want to show how values differ in different categories, consider a (stacked) bar, or horizontal bar chart instead.
  • the total is as important as its parts. If the total (= the height of all your stacked areas) is not important, consider a line chart instead. Many readers will have an easier time understanding a line chart than an area chart.
  • there are big differences between your values. If the differences between your values are very small, consider a line chart instead. Compared to an area chart, the y-axis of a line chart doesn’t need to start at zero. This means that your y-axis can be stretched to show the tiny differences.
  • you're showing multiple series over time. If you just want to show one value over time, also consider a line chart instead; especially if you don’t want your y-axis to start at zero. If you only have a few dates, you can also consider using a column chart. In both cases, labelling will be better.
  • you have many data points. If you have less than ten or so data points, consider a stacked bar chart instead.

Line chart​

line chart

Line charts are used to show changes in a number over a short or long period of time.

They're a good option when:

  • you have small changes between your values. The y-axis of a line chart doesn’t need to start at zero. This means that your y-axis can be stretched to show the tiny differences.
  • you have lots of x-axis values. In this case, line charts are better to use than bar charts.

Line charts with multiple lines can also be used to compare changes over the same period of time for more than one group.

multiple line chart

You can see more details about line chart configurations here.

Horizontal bar chart​

horizontal bar chart

Horizontal bar charts are just bar charts, except the columns are placed on the chart horizontally instead of vertically.

Horizontal bar charts are useful when:

  • you're trying to group a number by something with a lot of possible values.
  • your groups have really long label names.

You can see more details about horizontal bar chart configurations here.

Scatter chart​

scatter chart

A scatter chart is useful if you want to to look at the relationship, a.k.a. correlation, between two variables. Something like the age of your users vs. the amount of time they've spent on your website.

You can group your scatter chart using a third variable. This will make the points on the scatter the same colour if they have the same group value.

scatter chart grouped

You can see more details about scatter chart configurations here.

Mixed chart​

mixed chart

You can combine bars, line, and scatter charts on the same chart using a Mixed chart.

To use a Mixed chart, you'll need to start with either a line, scatter or horizontal bar chart type and have two or more series on your chart. Either from having two or more fields selected for your y-axis or from having a group with two or more groups.

Once you have the series you want on your chart, you can pick and choose the different chart types you'd like for each series in the series tab of the Configure space.

mixed chart configure

You can easily revert all of the series on your chart to a single type using the chart type toggle list in the series tab.

mixed chart convert back to one type

You can see more details about mixed chart configurations here.

Configure your bar, line and scatter charts​

These chart types have very similar configuration options, so we thought it would be easiest to talk about them all together:

Layout​

This is where you can pick the columns from your results table that you want to plot on your x and y axes or that you want to group by.

For bar charts, this is also where you have the option to stack your bars, or leave them unstacked (grouped).

configure layout options

Series​

The series tab is where you can adjust how your chart shows each data series. A data series is a set of related data points plotted on a chart. For example, the number of new users created each day over a set of dates is a series. In a bar chart, a series is represented by bars of the same color; in a line chart, a series is represented by a single line. You can see a list of the series for your chart in the series menu, and on the chart legend.

configure series options

The options available in here will depend on the data in your chart. But, in here you can:

  • Set the chart type of your series.
  • Put your series on a left or right y-axis.
  • Show the value labels on data points.
  • Show or hide a series from your chart.

If you have multiple series in your chart, you can adjust these settings for all of the series in your chart at once using the configuration options at the top. Or, you can adjust these setting for each of the series individually.

configure multiple series options

Axes​

Here’s where you can customize the axes on your plot.

You have the options to:

  • change the text for your axes labels.
  • set the axis limits for your y-axes. You can either leave the auto-axis range or manually enter your own limits.

Legend​

This tab is where you're able to control the legend in your chart. You can:

  • Show/hide the legend
  • Adjust the position of the legend on your chart
    • The values in position are the coordinates of the legend on your chart. They can either be numbers or percent. We suggest using %.
    • If you want the position to be in the bottom right, you would set: Right = 0%, Bottom = 0%. For the legend to be in the middle of the chart, you'd set: Top = 50%, Left = 50%.
  • Set your legend to scroll (if you have so many groups that they overlap your chart).
  • Orientate the values in your legened to form a list vertically, or horizontally

Margins​

The Margin tab is where you're able to add or remove margin around the grid (aka your chart with its plotted values). Removing margin means that your chart will fill more of the space in the chart tab. Adding margin will shrink your chart into a smaller space.

You can either add numbers or percent values to the margin settings listed. The default margin is set to top = 70, bottom = 30, left = 5%, right = 5%