Modifying Multi-Series Dynamics CRM Charts to Use a Single Axis

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Microsoft Dynamics CRM gives you the ability to create multi-series charts. This means that you can graph two or more fields side by side so you can compare their values visually. One example of this using ClickDimensions data would be a comparison of delivery, total open and total click email event counts grouped by email send. Using this example, we would have one category (horizontal) axis: Email Send, and two series (vertical) axis: Deliveries and Opens. When the chart is previewed, the sum of each email event count for each email send will be displayed side by side, allowing you to see how your email sends performed in comparison to one another.

Crm chart 2 scales

In the chart designer for our email send comparison chart, we have defined the Deliveries, Opens and Clicks fields as Legend Entries (Series), and the email send as the Horizontal (Category) Axis.

Crm chart legend

The problem we encounter here is that CRM automatically applies different scales for the different series on either side of the graph. In this scenario, the data is still accurate, but the chart is very misleading as a visual aid because the different scales mean that the corresponding bars' heights do not accurately correlate to one another. For example, in the screenshot below, we can see that there are 17 total opens, 10 total clicks and 10 deliveries, but the bar representing the open count is only half as tall as the bars representing the clicks and deliveries, despite representing a larger value.

Crm chart zoom in

There is no way to resolve this issue within the CRM chart designer, but we can fix it by exporting the chart and modifying its XML.

To export personal charts, open the chart pane in CRM and select the chart you want to modify. Click the More Commands button in the chart pane, then click the Export Chart button. NOTE: To re-import the chart, use the Import Chart button above the Export Chart button.

Crm chart export chart

When you export the chart, an XML file will be downloaded. To modify the file, open it in a compatible program, such as Notepad. Within the <presentationdescription> tag in the XML, you will see a <series> tag containing another <series> tag for each of your series defined in the chart. On the second series, you will see an attribute called YAxisType. Remove this attribute so that it looks like the <series> tag above it.

Crm chart xml example

Save the XML file, and then re-import the file using the previously mentioned Import Chart button in the chart pane's More Commands list. Upload the XML file, and then click Next. You will be prompted to replace the existing chart or to keep both. Choose Replace if you only want to keep the updated chart.

Crm chart replace prompt

The chart will be updated, and you can now check the chart again to view the changes. The chart now only uses one series for the vertical axis. This means that all of the compared values to be displayed use the same scale, which makes the chart much more useful as a visual representation of the data.

Crm chart 1 scale

Note that modifying the XML did not change any of the chart's previous functionality, so you will still be able to drill down into individual bars to examine the relevant data.

Written by Rhys Saraceni, ClickDimensions Training Developer

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