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CR 8.5 Line Chart with lots of lines: should I give up?

Posted on 2004-11-14
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Last Modified: 2012-05-05
I have been working on a Crystal Reports report with a line chart for many hours now. It sure does seem like I should probably suppress printing of the chart if there are more than about 25 lines in the chart. Otherwise, the legend overwrites the chart. The chart is worthless without a legend; data labels within the chart are just as bad (obscured and overwritten.) This chart was supposed to show a retail trend analysis, covering hundreds of products in a store. I expect the chart lines to be very crowded and overwritten; the few retail items that break from the pack are the ones of interest to the store owners, in comparison to all the ones clustered together.

Am I simply asking too much of any chart, or is it just the charts in Crystal? I found the company that wrote the charting DLL used in Crystal, and they sell an "enhanced charting library." But, I'm skeptical since the one I have doesn't seem too hot.

If I don't get some help I'm going to use my home lobotomy kit! (as if Crystal wasn't enough by itself)

Tutorials for a crowded chart? Ideas beyond shrinking the fonts in the legend using the Chart Analyzer? Something to make the sting of George W. Bush's win go away? (I know there's not enough points for that!) Any way to show all the lines but only show a subset of the items in the legend? Or maybe print the legend on a separate sheet?

TIA,

Dennis Leahy



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Question by:dtleahy
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mlmcc earned 1284 total points
ID: 12583714
I know one of the biggest lackings in Crystal is the charting ability.  The enhanced ability really is but I don't know if it will solve your problem.  You might call them and see if you can get a trial version.

Here is a link to an enahnced CR Chart addin.  It does offer a trial download
http://www.threedgraphics.com/tdg/noteworthy/crystalreports.asp

mlmcc
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by:dtleahy
ID: 12586067
mlmcc:

Three D Graphics is the company that made the original DLL for Crystal. The "enhanced" version includes a few other chart types, and some macros to modify certain chart items. However, it does nothing to solve the problems associated with the original DLL's weaknesses and bugs. I'm not trying to "bad-mouth" the developer that created the charting DLL; It works just fine in certain relatively undemanding circumstances. But it really is buggier than a Costa Rican swamp in August. And, the algorithm the developer uses to select colors for lines/markers/pie wedges/etc. is just awful. The same few colors (including very light colors, like yellow!) are used over and over again, making even a legend nearly worthless without text at each data marker.

So I am back to square zero. Requiring my users to own Excel is not an option, so I guess I'm looking for another charting add-on, or maybe even a new reporting tool with charting capabilities. I wonder if ActiveReports charting is any better? Or maybe I would need to get ChartFX Client Server? (This is for a VB6 application.)

-Dennis
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by:mlmcc
ID: 12590432
I don't use the charting feature since our reports don't lend themselves to charts.  They might be useful if metrics were desired but user dropped that requirement several years ago.  

I wasn't sure if that was the same developer or not.  There are not many (if any) other reporting tools that are compatible with Crystal.

mlmcc
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Author Comment

by:dtleahy
ID: 12597277
Just in case anyone reads this thread...

I'm awarding the points to mlmcc. I think the correct answer is , "Unless you're creating a rudimentary chart, Crystal Reports charting sucks!" and that's basically what mlmcc said. There is evidently no workaround for the charting deficiencies and bugs.

ActiveReports, even the new 2.0 version, does not include charting. ChartFX Client-Server (which looks pretty powerful) is supposed to work in ActiveReports. The bad news is scrapping my Crystal Reports investment and learning in favor of spending $1K for those two tools.

My additional questions about ActiveReports and ChartFX Client-Server are tangents to the original question, so I don't expect a followup to those questions, especially from Crystal experts.

I'll close this thread on that note.

-Dennis Leahy
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by:mlmcc
ID: 12600125
Thanks.  I know from reading here most complex charting is done with data exported to excel then charted there.  It is a shame Crystal can't get charting to work better.  Must not be too much of a priority

Glad to help

mlmcc
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