Better Dashboards

Working with Microsoft enterprise chart, dashboard and reporting technologies.

Scale Breaks

Posted by milang on February 3, 2009

Arguably the most popular new feature to SQL Server Reporting Services and the .NET chart is the introduction of scale breaks on the chart.  The chart sample framework has some excellent examples of where scale breaks are useful, but I’m hoping to expand on it here to explain what you cannot do with scale breaks.  Once the limitations of scale breaks are established, you can figure out if you still want to use this feature instead of designing your chart differently.

Where Scale Breaks Work

The samples show the obvious use case for the scale breaks – for example, most of the business numbers that I come across in the real world have significantly decreased numbers for the weekend.  If you were to graph this kind of data in one series without the scale break, it might look like this:

Chart without scale breaks

And of course, the scale break is awesome for this use case:

Chart with scale breaks

// Make sure you call this on the Y-axis, not on the X-axis!
 Chart2.ChartAreas[0].AxisY.ScaleBreakStyle.Enabled = true;

// Default spacing is kind of tight, I find 2 to be better visually
 Chart2.ChartAreas[0].AxisY.ScaleBreakStyle.Spacing = 2;

Where Scale Breaks Do Not Work

The scale break is drawn when there are large discrepancies between data points in a series. The scale break will not be drawn when there are large discrepancies between the series themselves:


In this case, the best approach is to add a second chart area and attach the second series to the newly added chart area.


One Response to “Scale Breaks”

  1. […] Scale Breaks […]

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