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Using Top and Bottom X Rules to format charts

A picture speaks a thousand words, or so they say. Using this principle, it’s easy to see why charts are such a good way to represent data.

In Dynamics 365, you have lots of chart options. These are fairly easy to configure, and whilst not giving you the full power of a tool such as Power BI, will often give you what you need. I’m a great believer in keeping things simple. If you can achieve a goal with a simple tool, don’t use a complex one.

One thing that always bothered me about Dynamics 365 charts was the order it would present bars on a chart. Let me demonstrate with an example.

I have a very simple chart below that shows open opportunities by owner. This is typical information a sales manager may want. However, the order of the bars on the chart seems random. Paul is first, then Kenny, then David.

The sales manager is pleased. He can see his team’s data. But then he asks, “Can you show me the top salesman on the left, descending down to the bottom one on the right?”.

No problem. Just edit the chart and select the ‘Top X Rule’

Select the ‘Custom’ item. This opens a dialog where you can set any number up to 100, i.e. in this case, show the top 100 salespeople on the chart. Clearly 100 is way more than we need in this case, but let’s set to that anyway. After all, the sales team may grow.

Save your chart, and publish it if it is a system chart, and it now looks like this:

Similarly, if you want to show the bars from lowest to highest, just set the Bottom X Rule:

Save it and your chart now looks like this:

All this achieved in about 2 minutes.

Now, there is an obvious limitation in that if you have more than 100 items to show on your chart, in this case, 100 salespeople, this solution won’t work. However, a chart with 100 bars would be fairly unusable anyway, so this should work in the vast majority of cases.

Happy CRMing everyone!

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