Animating Visuals In R

Tomaz Kastrun shows how to create animated charts in R using ggplot2:

In addition to R code, the ImageMagic program needs to be installed on your machine, as well. Also the speed, quality and many other parameters can be set, when creating animated gif.

Animated gif can be also included into your SSRS report, your Sharepoint site or any other site – like my blog 🙂 and it will stay interactive. In Power BI, importing animated gif as a picture, unfortunately will not work.

Be very careful with this, as not everything supports animated GIFs and you can make some really painful graphs if you try hard enough…

Sankey Bar Charts

Devin Knight continues his custom visuals series:

In this module you will learn how to use the Sankey Bar Chart Power BI Custom Visual.  The Sankey Bar Chart is used to show a flow of data between different stages of a process.

It’s an interesting mix of sankey, bar chart, and funnel.  In other words, you may only have one thing you can use it for, but it’ll be a really good use.

Sorting By Column In Power BI

Reza Rad explains how to sort a column by another column’s value in Power BI visuals:

Problem happens when you want a Text field to be ordered based on something different than the value of the field. For example if you look at above chart you can see that months ordered from April to September. This is not order of months, this is alphabetical order. If you change the sorting of visual, it will only change it from A to Z, or Z to A. To make it in the order of month numbers you have to do it differently.

Read on for the solution.

7 Visualizations In R

Dikesh Jariwala provides sample R code for seven common visualizations:

In your day-to-day activities, you’ll come across the below listed 7 charts most of the time.

  1. Scatter Plot
  2. Histogram
  3. Bar & Stack Bar Chart
  4. Box Plot
  5. Area Chart
  6. Heat Map
  7. Correlogram

We’ll use ‘Big Mart data’ example as shown below to understand how to create visualizations in R. You can download the full dataset from here.

That’s a nice set of visuals, covering a broad swath of potential visualization scenarios.

Horizontal Funnel

Devin Knight shows off the horizontal funnel Power BI custom visual:

In this module you will learn how to use the Horizontal Funnel Power BI Custom Visual.  The Horizontal Funnel functions somewhat similar to the traditional funnel but it allows you to display a secondary measure and has a few more customizations than you would normally get. You’ll find that the Horizontal Funnel is great for displaying a flow of data.

One of the better non-sales uses of funnels I’ve seen is tracking completion rates on multi-page forms or multi-step processes.  If you see a huge drop-off at one step in the process, it might indicate a bug in the form or some incongruity with the end user’s expectation.

Linear Gauge Custom Visual

Devin Knight shows off the linear gauge custom visual in Power BI:

In this module you will learn how to use the Linear Gauge Power BI Custom Visual.  The Linear Gauge would often be used to visualize a KPI. It gives you the ability to compare an actual vs target as well as showing up to two trend lines.

This can be a very useful visual.  The tricky part is that the bars aren’t scaled the same, so when your eyes want to compare bar lengths, it can get a little confusing.

Dial Gauge

Devin Knight explains the dial gauge custom visual:

  • The effectiveness of gauges on dashboards is an often debated topic.

  • The Dial Gauge is completely data driven. Which means not only must your measure (drives the needle) come from a dataset but also the different thresholds ranges must come from your dataset too.

  • There are no specific Format settings for the Dial Gauge, which does limit you a bit with what you can do with this gauge.

There are certain scenarios in which I think the dial gauge works well.  The best scenario is the the same as its analog counterpart:  when you are measuring a single continuous variable with a safe range and meaningful range differences.  This scenario occurs less often than you might think.

Sankey Custom Visual

Devin Knight looks at the Sankey visual in Power BI:

In this module you will learn how to use the Sankey Power BI Custom Visual.  The Sankey is a type of diagram that visualizes the flow of data between a source and destination.

Sankey diagrams are among the most information-dense diagrams out there.  They aren’t general-purpose diagrams, but for someone willing to take the time to unpack them, they can be quite informative.

Custom R Visuals In Power BI

Ginger Grant notes that there are R-powered custom visuals for Power BI:

Interacting with R visuals works differently than with other report visualizations as you cannot click on elements within the visualization and filter other items on the page. Other visuals on the page will filter the data contained within the R visual. For example, let’s say my report contains a total field, a slicer which contains years and a correlation plot which contains products. If the slicker is changed to select a year, total field and the data within the R visual will change to reflect that. If on the other hand, I choose to click on the R visual to select one of the product categories, the total field will not change and the R visual will not change. The R visual’s appearance will not change in any way.

Read on for more.

Power BI Synoptic Panel

Devin Knight’s series on Power BI visuals continues with the synoptic panel:

  • The Synoptic Panel allows you connect areas in an image with attributes in your data model.

  • Using the Synoptic Designer you can convert an image that you have to one that is compatible with plotting out data points on it.

  • You can fill each area with a color or a saturation of a color.

The Synoptic Panel is definitely a more advanced visual, but it’s very powerful.


January 2017
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