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Formatting Charts

 

Chart Formatting

 

A Chart as Part of a Form

A chart created using the New Form dialog box is positioned on a form. As such, the form acts as its parent. The chart can only fit inside of the form. Based on this, you can enlarge a form to make available more space for the chart. After enlarging and/or heightening a form, you can increase the side of the chart to have a bigger picture and better appreciate a chart.

 

Practical Learning: Resizing a Chart

  1. Open the Clarksvill Ice Scream you were working on the previous lesson
  2. In the Database window, click Forms and double-click the chtFlavorFrequency form to open it
  3. After viewing the chart, switch the form to Design View
  4. Right-click the chart, position the mouse on Chart Object and click Edit. This opens the Microsoft Graph windowlay the 
  5. Using the lower-right corner of the the Microsoft Graph window, resize it as much as you can afford
  6. Using the lower-right corner of the form, increase the size of the chtFlavorFrequency window as much as possible
     
     
  7. After enlarging the chtFlavorFrequency window, click somewhere close to the circle until a surrounding square appears
  8. Click that square and drag left to move the chart to the left
     
  9. In the same way, click the box that displays the title above the chart and drag it left to place it above the chart
  10. Also, click the box that displays East West North and drag it left to place it close to the chart
  11. After resizing, close the Microsoft Graph window
  12. Back in Microsoft Access, resize the box that surrounds the chart until the chart and the words around it are visible. You may need to continue various trial-and-error attempts until you come to the following
     
  13. Save and close the form

Change of Chart Type

A chart created with all defaults settings usually accomplishes its purpose of helping you analyze data and figures, but the default features are set only as starting points. All the formatting and emphasis needs are left to you.

Besides the values and numbers on it, a chart is a graphic object whose characteristics can be enhanced to accentuate special important points of the whole process. Most aspects of a chart can be changed. For example, if you selected a certain type of chart but think that another is more suitable, you can change it.

The Chart Wizard is equipped with various kinds of charts. In each category, different sub-types are used to accomplish a unique purpose. Although they share a lot of

 of characteristics, some charts in the sub-type can tremendously change or alter the intended goal. You should know what options are available, and then act accordingly.

Many charts can be changed from one kind to another, sometimes completely different. For example, you can change a chart from a flat column to 3-D. You can also change a chart from a bar to a cylinder, etc.

To actually change a chart, after displaying its parent form in Design View, you can double-click it. This would open the Microsoft Graph application. From there, you can right-click any part of the chart to make the necessary changes. Any area you right-click presents a particular menu. This is because a chart is made of various sections.

To change the type of chart, you can right-click a white area on the Form - Chart window and click Chart Type. This would bring up the Chart Type dialog box. It presents the various available types of charts and you can click one of them. If none of the available types suits you, you can click the Custom Type tab for more options.

Practical Learning: Changing a Chart Type

  1. Open the chtDailyAffluence form in Form View and switch it to Design View

  2. Right-click on a white area on the chart and click Chart Type…

  3. In the Chart Type dialog box, make sure the Standard Types property page is displaying
    In the Chart Type list box, click Cylinder
    In the Chart Sub-Type section, make sure the Chart With A Cylindrical Shape is selected
     

  4. Click OK

  5. As done for the the chtFlavorFrequency chart, resize the chart window
     

  6. Close the Microsoft Graph window to return to Microsoft Access

  7. Once again, resize the form and the chart to occupy as much space as possible
     

  8. Save and close the form

The Sections of a Chart

As mentioned already, to present its information and explain it, a chart is made or various sections.

Most or everyone of these aspects can be hidden, displayed or changed. To perform any action on these parts, after displaying the form or report that holds the chart in Design View, you can double-click the chart. Then, in Microsoft Graph, click or right-click the desired part.

The Title of a Chart

To indicate what it is used for, a chart can be equipped with a title. The title is a string that typically displays in the top section of a chart. In some rare cases, a title can also be positioned under the chart. To move the title, click and drag it in the desired direction.

To format the title, you can either double-click it or  right-click it and click Format Chart Title. By default, the chart displays without a border, in bold Arial. You change reformat it using the Format Chart Title dialog box.

Practical Learning: Formatting a Chart's Title

  

  1. From the Forms section of the Database window, double-click the chtContainerByPeriodOfDay form and switch it to Design View

  2. Double-click the chart to open the Microsoft Graph window and enlarge the window that contains the chart

  3. Right-click the Container by Period of Day title and click Format Chart Title...

  4. In the Format Chart Title dialog box, click the Font property page

  5. In the Font combo box, select Times New Roman

  6. In the Size combo box, select 18

  7. Click arrow of the Color combo box and select Blue
     

  8. Click OK

  9. Close the Microsoft Graph window

  10. Adjust the chart to fit the form
     

  11. Save and close the form

  12. Right-click the chtFlavorFrequency form and click Design View

  13. Double-click the chart to open Microsoft Graph

  14. Click the title on top twice (that is, click it and click it again; not double-click) to put it into edit mode

  15. Edit it to display PercentageOrdered

  16. Click between Percentage and Ordered then press Enter to create a new line

  17. Click somewhere else to deselect

  18. Move the title to the top left section and double-click it. Change its font to Haettenschweiler, Bold, 14, Red and click OK

Chart Figures

To represent its numbers to the user, a chart draws some geometric figures, depending on the type of chart. These figures can be rectangles, pie slices, triangles, cones, etc. By default, the chart engine uses some randomly selected colors from its own list. You can either change these colors or apply some preset drawings available. You can also design and use any custom picture to paint the chart's shapes.

To format the geometric figures of a chart, you can right-click one of them and click Format Data Series.

Practical Learning: Formatting a Chart's Shapes

  1. Open the chtDailyAffluence form and switch it to Design View
  2. Double-click the chart to open the Microsoft Graph window
  3. Right-click the most left cylinder and click Format Data Series
  4. In the Format Series dialog box, make sure the Patterns property page is selected. In the Border section, make sure the Custom radio button is selected. click the arrow of the Color combo box and click Blue (5th column - 1st row)
  5. Click the arrow of the Weight combo box and click the 2nd option
  6. In the Area section, click the Pale Blue color (1st section - 6th column - 5th row)
     
  7. Click OK
  8. Close Microsoft Graph
  9. Preview the chart
  10. Save and close the form
  11. Open the chtContainerByPeriodOfDay form and switch it to Design View
  12. Double-click the chart to Open Microsoft Graph
  13. Right-click the most left rectangular box and click Format Data Series
  14. In the Format Data Series dialog box, make sure the Patterns property page is selected. In the Area section, click Fill Effects...
  15. In the Gradient property page of the Fill Effects dialog box, in the Colors section, click the One Color radio button
  16. In the Color 1 section, drag to thumb of the slider to the right
  17. In the Shading section, click the Vertical radio button
  18. In the Variants section, click the box on 1st column - 2nd row
     
  19. Click OK
  20. Save the form and preview the chart
  21. Print the form
  22. Close the form

A Chart's Legend

When a chart draws its graphics, if the data is made of different types of values, the chart engine uses a different column for each type of value to differentiate them. Because this can become confusing, a small box is created as a guide. This box, by default displayed to the right of the chart, is called a legend.

In the legend, a small painted square displays a color and a label on its right. The color is one of the colors used on the graphics of the chart. The label indicates what that part represents.

Practical Learning: Using a Chart's Legend

  1. Right-click the chtDailyAffluence form and click Design View
  2. Double-click the chart to open Microsoft Graph
  3. Click the box that has 1st Qtr and press Delete
  4. Close Microsoft Graph and preview the chart
     
  5. Print then close the form
  6. Right-click the chtFlavorFrequency form and click Design View
  7. Double-click the chart to open Microsoft Graph
  8. Click the box that displays East West North and press Delete
  9. Right-click the chart and click Format Data Series
  10. In the Format Data Series dialog box, click the Data Labels property page
  11. In the Data Labels section, click the Show Label And Percent radio button
  12. Click OK and position the chart to the center of the window
  13. Close Microsoft Graph
  14. Adjust the chart to your liking and preview it
     
  15. Save and print the form
  16. Close the form

Chart's Labels

By default, when a chart is drawn, it is equipped with shapes and a separate legend. If you want, you can display the value of each part and possibly its name close to it. This is done through a label. On a large chart, a label can also be used in the absence of a legend. In fact, you can delete a legend and simply make use of a label.

Labels are created using the same approach as we have done with the legends and titles.

Practical Learning: Adding Labels to a Chart

  1. Right-click the chtFlavorFrequency form and click Design View
  2. Double-click the chart to open Microsoft Graph
  3. Click the box that displays East West North and press Delete
  4. Right-click the chart and click Format Data Series
  5. In the Format Data Series dialog box, click the Data Labels property page
  6. In the Data Labels section, click the Show Label And Percent radio button
  7. Click OK and position the chart to the center of the window
  8. Close Microsoft Graph
  9. Adjust the chart to your liking and preview it
     
  10. Save and print the form then close it

Chart's Walls

The wall is in fact the background of a chart. By default, it is painted either white or gray, depending on the chart. You can use a different color to paint it, a design pattern or a picture to cover it.

Practical Learning: Formatting a Chart's Walls

  1. Right-click the chtContainerByPeriodOfDay form and click Design View
  2. Double-click the chart to open Microsoft Graph
  3. In the chart, right-click the gray area and click Format Walls...
  4. In the Format Walls dialog box, in the Area section, click Fill Effects
  5. In the Fill Effects dialog box, click the Pattern property page
  6. In the Pattern section, click the box in 6th column - 4th row
  7. Set the Foreground to Gray-25% (8th column - 4th row)
  8. Set the Background to Dark Red (1st column - 2nd row)
     
  9. Click OK twice
     
  10. Save and print then close the form
  11. Right-click the chtDailyAffluence form and click Design View
  12. Double-click the chart to open Microsoft Graph
  13. Right-click the gray area and click Format Walls...
  14. Click Fill Effects and click the Texture property page
  15. In the Texture section, click the box in the 4th column - 1st row and click OK twice
  16. Right-click the bottom gray area and click Format Floor...
  17. Click Fill Effects... and click Texture
  18. Click the box in 2nd column - 2nd row and click OK twice
  19. Close Microsoft Graph and preview the chart
     
  20. Save the form
  21. Print and close the form
 

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