Friday, July 5, 2013

What are data bars in SQL Server Reporting Services 2012?

Looking at a bunch of data does not give a feeling for the big and small values without making comparisons by reasoning.

This comparison is built into the idea of presenting data bars in Microsoft programs such as MS Excel and Microsoft SQL Server Reporting Services 2012.

If you have used Microsoft Excel (for example MS EXCEL 2010) you would have come across what is known as 'conditional formatting'. In MS Access you could format a range of data with several conditional formatting options such as data bars; color scales; icon sets; and value dependent highlighting.

The first step in applying this formatting is to access Conditional Formatting menu in the Ribbon as shown.

Next you highlight the range of data to which you want to apply data. For example, in the first figure, the whole column 'Item Value' consisting of 6 values.

After you highlight the values (do not highlight the column heading), click Conditional Formatting (to access this you must be in 'HOME'). This displays a drop-down menu and their menus as shown.

Now you can pick the type of formatting you want to apply. For example, you can choose Color Scales and pick the one that appeals to you from its drop-down. Similarly, you could choose the other options instead.

The following figure shows several types applied to the same set of data and I am sure you intuitively know what they mean.

The first one 'Data Bars' shows how your data appears as rectangular boxes (horizontally drawn) whose length is proportional to the data. Probably with 6 numbers you may not need this as your eye can easily notice. What if you had 50 numbers?

Data Bars were added to Report Builder 3.0 which was released with SQL Server Reporting Services (SSRS) 2008 R2. They continue in SSRS 2012. In SQL Server Reporting Services 2012 you could do the same with the reports you author. This is explained in Chapter 5 which describes the use of Report builder 3.0 in my new book, 'Learn SQL Server Reporting Services 2012' released recently in June 2013.

The details are available at this link:

 Databars related page from the book:

1 comment:

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