Create and Modify a Chart Programmatically

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This topic describes how to create and modify charts in code using the Spreadsheet Chart API.

This topic consists of the following sections:

Arrange Worksheet Data to Create a Chart

When you create a chart, the SpreadsheetControl plots data on the chart based on the number of rows and columns in the source range:

  1. If the source range has more rows than columns, the first column provides labels for the category axis (X-axis), and the first row contains series names. Series values are arranged in columns.

    If you do not include labels and/or series names in the source range, a chart displays sequential numbers for data points on the category axis and uses the default series names (Series 1, Series 2, ..., Series N).

    Spreadsheet_ChartingBasics_SeriesByColumns

  2. If the source range has more columns than rows or the number of rows and columns is the same, the first row provides labels for the category axis (X-axis), and the first column contains series names. Series values are arranged in rows.

    If you do not include labels and/or series names in the source range, a chart displays sequential numbers for data points on the category axis and uses the default series names (Series 1, Series 2, ..., Series N).

    Spreadsheet_ChartingBasics_SeriesByRows

You can use the ChartObject.SwitchRowColumn method to change the default direction used to plot data series on a chart (whether the series values are obtained from columns or rows), or call the ChartObject.SelectData method with the direction parameter to specify how to retrieve series values.

The table below lists how to arrange data on a worksheet to create a specific chart.

Chart type

Data arrangement

Line, column, bar, area, surface, or radar chart

In columns or rows:

Spreadsheet_ChartingBasics_ColumnChartData1

Spreadsheet_ChartingBasics_ColumnChartData2

Pie chart

Uses a single series of values arranged in one column or row. Another column or row contains data labels.

Spreadsheet_ChartingBasics_PieChartData2

Spreadsheet_ChartingBasics_PieChartData1

Doughnut chart

In one or multiple columns or rows, and one column or row contains data labels.

Spreadsheet_ChartingBasics_DoughnutChartData1

Spreadsheet_ChartingBasics_DoughnutChartData2

Scatter or bubble chart

In columns or rows. Place x values in the first column or row, and the corresponding y values in the adjacent columns or rows.

Spreadsheet_ChartingBasics_ScatterChartData1

Spreadsheet_ChartingBasics_ScatterChartData2

For a bubble chart, add columns or rows specifying the bubble size.

Spreadsheet_ChartingBasics_BubbleChartData1

Spreadsheet_ChartingBasics_BubbleChartData2

Stock chart

In columns or rows in the same order as the stock chart name.

Spreadsheet_ChartingBasics_StockChartData1

Spreadsheet_ChartingBasics_StockChartData2

Create a Chart

The chart collection (ChartCollection) stores charts in a worksheet. You can use the Worksheet.Charts property to access a worksheet's chart collection, and the collection's ChartCollection.Add method to create a chart. The ChartType enumeration value specifies the chart type.

Use one of the following approaches to specify the chart's data:

  • Pass a cell range containing chart data to the ChartCollection.Add method. Refer to the Arrange Worksheet Data to Create a Chart section for information on how to organize data in the source range to create a specific chart.

    
    // Create a column chart using a cell range as a data source.
    Chart chart = worksheet.Charts.Add(ChartType.ColumnClustered, worksheet["B2:F6"]);
    
  • Pass a cell range containing chart data to the ChartObject.SelectData method. This method also allows you to specify the data direction: whether the series values are arranged in columns (ChartDataDirection.Column) or rows (ChartDataDirection.Row).

    
    // Create a column chart.
    Chart chart = worksheet.Charts.Add(ChartType.ColumnClustered);
    // Select data for the chart and specify the data direction.
    chart.SelectData(worksheet["B2:F6"], ChartDataDirection.Row);
    
  • Use the SeriesCollection.Add method overloads to add data series to the chart's series collection (ChartObject.Series). These methods enable you to plot data contained in the noncontiguous cell ranges. You can explicitly specify a name, arguments, and values for each series.

    
    // Create a column chart.
    Chart chart = worksheet.Charts.Add(ChartType.ColumnClustered);
    // Add two data series to the chart.
    chart.Series.Add(worksheet["D2"], worksheet["B3:B6"], worksheet["D3:D6"]);
    chart.Series.Add(worksheet["F2"], worksheet["B3:B6"], worksheet["F3:F6"]);
    

The ChartData object specifies data plotted on a chart. You can also use an array of numeric, string or boolean literals as the chart's data source. ChartData supports implicit conversion from an array of CellValue objects. You can use these objects to specify numeric, string or boolean values without casting. Use the ChartData.FromArray method to convert the CellValue type arrays to chart data, or assign these arrays to the series's arguments and values directly.


// Create a column chart.
Chart chart = worksheet.Charts.Add(ChartType.ColumnClustered);
// Add a series bound to a set of literal data.
Series literalSeries = chart.Series.Add(
    new CellValue[] { "Jan", "Feb", "Mar", "Apr", "May", "Jun" },
    new CellValue[] { 50, 100, 30, 104, 87, 150 });

Refer to the How to: Create and Modify a Chart topic for more examples on how to create charts in code.

Each chart has an associated ChartView. This object is created automatically when you create a chart. It consolidates data series of the same type (ChartView.Series) and provides customization options. A ChartView object is a member of the ChartViewCollection collection you can access using the ChartObject.Views property. A chart can have several ChartView objects (a combination chart). To create a combination chart, use the Series.ChangeType method to change an existing series's type. If the specified type is incompatible with the other series types, the SpreadsheetControl clears the ChartViewCollection collection and creates a new ChartView object to display all chart series. This object has the same type as the modified data series. The How to: Create and Modify a Chart topic contains a list of compatible chart types and provides an example on how to create a combination chart.

Modify a Chart and Adjust Its Settings

After you create a chart, you can use the Spreadsheet Chart API members to change the chart's layout and appearance.

TIP

To improve the control's performance by avoiding unnecessary render operations after each modification, enclose the chart modifications in the Workbook.BeginUpdate() - Workbook.EndUpdate() method pair.

The table below lists the actions you can perform on a chart.

To perform this task

Use these API members

Example

Change the source data for a chart

Chart.SelectData

(ChartObject.SelectData)

Series.Arguments

Series.Values

How to: Create and Modify a Chart

Add or remove data series

SeriesCollection.Add

SeriesCollection.Remove

SeriesCollection.RemoveAt

SeriesCollection.Clear

How to: Create and Modify a Chart

Change the data direction on a chart

Chart.SwitchRowColumn

(ChartObject.SwitchRowColumn)

How to: Create and Modify a Chart

Change the data series' order

Series.BringForward

Series.SendBackward

Series.BringToFront

Series.SendToBack

How to: Create and Modify a Chart

Change a chart type

Chart.ChangeType

(ChartObject.ChangeType)

How to: Create and Modify a Chart

Change a series type

Series.ChangeType

How to: Create and Modify a Chart

Create a chart on a separate sheet (chart sheet),

or move an existing chart to a new chart sheet

IWorkbook.ChartSheets

ChartSheetCollection.Add

Chart.MoveToNewChartSheet

(ChartObject.MoveToNewChartSheet)

How to: Create a Chart Sheet

How to: Move a Chart to a Chart Sheet

Display or hide primary axes,

adjust their position and orientation

Chart.PrimaryAxes

(ChartObject.PrimaryAxes)

Axis

Axis.Visible

Axis.Position

Axis.Scaling.Orientation

(AxisScaling.Orientation)

How to: Change the Display of Chart Axes

Add axis titles

Axis.Title

Axis.Title.Visible

(ChartTitleOptions.Visible)

Axis.Title.SetValue

(ChartText.SetValue)

Axis.Title.SetReference

(ChartText.SetReference)

How to: Change the Display of Chart Axes

Change the axis scaling, and

format numbers on the axis

Axis.Scaling

AxisScaling.Min

AxisScaling.Max

AxisScaling.LogScale

AxisScaling.LogBase

Axis.NumberFormat

How to: Change the Display of Chart Axes

Display secondary axes

Series.AxisGroup

AxisGroup.Secondary

Chart.SecondaryAxes

(ChartObject.SecondaryAxes)

How to: Change the Display of Chart Axes

Display or hide gridlines

Axis.MajorGridlines

Axis.MinorGridlines

How to: Change the Display of Chart Axes

Add a chart title

Chart.Title

(ChartObject.Title)

ChartTitle.Visible

(ChartTitleOptions.Visible)

ChartTitle.SetValue

(ChartText.SetValue)

ChartTitle.SetReference

(ChartText.SetReference)

How to: Display the Chart Title

Display or hide a chart legend, specify its position,

customize a legend entry

Chart.Legend

(ChartObject.Legend)

Legend.Visible

Legend.Position

Legend.CustomEntries

How to: Show or Hide the Chart Legend

Display data labels for the entire chart

or individual series/data points

ChartView.DataLabels

DataLabelPosition

Series.UseCustomDataLabels

Series.CustomDataLabels

How to: Display and Format Data Labels

Apply a number format to data labels

ChartView.DataLabels.NumberFormat

(DataLabelBase.NumberFormat)

How to: Display and Format Data Labels

Apply a chart style

Chart.Style

(ChartObject.Style)

How to: Format Chart Elements

Fill a chart element

ShapeFormatBase.Fill

ShapeOutlineFill.SetNoFill

ShapeOutlineFill.SetSolidFill

ShapeOutlineFill.SetGradientFill

How to: Format Chart Elements

How to: Change the Color of Series Points

Format a chart element's outline

ShapeFormatBase.Outline

ShapeOutlineFill.SetSolidFill

ShapeOutlineFill.SetNoFill

ShapeOutline.Width

How to: Format Chart Elements

Format a chart element's text

ShapeTextFormat.Font

How to: Format Chart Elements

Apply protection to a chart

Chart.Options.Protection

(ChartOptions.Protection)

How to: Protect a Chart

See Also