This entry is part of our Feature Review Series. These short, to the point blogs strive to provide a quick snapshot of information to a user looking for a quick overview of a feature, how it's managed or configured, some insight into how a business / organization would use it, and provide links to resources or tutorials for a deeper dive.

What Are Charts in Dynamics 365?

Charts are graphical representations of data. As you likely know, each table in Dynamics has hundreds, perhaps thousands, of rows of data. While you can sort, filter, and organize the data in logical ways, it doesn't take long for a data set to become overwhelming to summarize, let alone understand.

Enters: charts.

A chart can quickly take a massive amount of information and present it in a way that someone can quickly comprehend what's happening in the data.

For example, a chart might display customers by time zone.—this helps the viewer quickly decipher when it's appropriate to call the customer. Or, a quick summary of active cases by "Case Type," which might help a routing agent know where to pass the cases as they are triaged.

Below is a sample chart provided in a trial org of D365's Sales Hub:

Chart Pane

To view a chart, navigate to any table. You'll find the "Show Chart" icon in the ribbon of the table, as shown below. Tapping this will open the chart pane.

System vs. Personal Charts in D365

Users can see "System" charts and "Personal" charts.

  • System Charts are those created by the system administrator and published for all users to see.
  • Personal Charts, or "My Charts," are those that a user creates themselves. We'll touch on how to create your own chart in a minute.

Charts are differentiated this way when you open the chart pane, as illustrated here:

How to Create a New Chart

To create a new chart, navigate to a table and open the chart pane. Then, click the ellipses to the right of the chart title to expose the menu and click "+ New."

At the time of writing, tapping new will open a new browser tab with the chart builder.

On it, you'll find a variety of options. We've highlighted the basics below the image. You can learn more here.

  1. Within the ribbon, you'll find the basic Save, Save and Close and Save As buttons, as well as the various types of charts you can create. Note that several of the chart types have variations within them.

You'll find "Top X Rule" and "Bottom X Rule" icons on the far right. These allow you to embed filtering of the results. As an example, you might want to display only the top 5 Opportunities.

  1. The preview pane provides a sample of the dataset. Keep in mind that the chart will align itself with the view you have open, so this is truly only a sample of what the chart will look like for illustrative purposes.

  2. The Legend and Axis area allow you to select the fields. Legend represents what is being counted, and the axis defines how that data is being segmented. As you see below, we're looking for Accounts (counting the account name) by the number of Open Deals they have, showing us that we have five Accounts with 0 open deals, and five Accounts with one open deal.

Using Charts to Dial In Data

When viewing a published chart, you can perform a drill-down on records making up the chart. This convenient feature allows the user to dive into the data to analyze further what they are seeing.

Below there are two screenshots. The first has the My Active Accounts view loaded and displays the Accounts by Address 1: City chart. The second is showing the same view AFTER I've clicked the REDMOND column. The data set has reset itself to show me the three Accounts that make up that data.

First screenshot:

Second screenshot:

Note that I can "Drill Down By" - this allows me to select a new chart type and attribute to examine the data by. For example, I could then add in Open Deals to see which Accounts in Redmond have open deals (not shown).

Closing Our Charts Conversation

There you have it! A crash course in the extremely valuable Charts feature. We encourage you to dive into your Sandbox or open up a trial environment and play around with charts. Questions on how Charts could impact your team and enhance your understanding of your data? Contact C5 today!