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How to render bubble graph in libreoffice calc

asked 2018-11-17 19:51:45 +0100

elnath78 gravatar image

updated 2018-11-18 14:07:11 +0100

I'm trying to render a really simple graph using bubbles, on the first column I have the name of the bubble, then on the right cell X and then Y coordinates, the fourth column has the size value.

I have selected the area and specified it has data in lines, values of X and Y ranges between 0 and 255 while values of size ranges from 1 to 100.

I'm not able to show a correct graph, in fact when I switch to data series, it doesnt correctly assign X,Y and size to the relative cell of each entry, rather it assumes Y and size as ranges rather than a single cell, and just ignore my X giving no value at all.

What am I doing wrong?

descrizione immagine

2nd test: it seems that the graph needs contiguous data, so all x, all y then all sizes; in this example it did ok, ill now try to add a names column: image description

3rd test: now I have manually added the name column but this has no effect in coloring, it seems that like excell we could have more areas and for each more series so to proper coloring every entry like I want I should add multiple areas each one with one single entry, manually it seems, unless someone has a solution: image description

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I have not useed LO for bubble charts before, but in a quick test (using arbitrary values) I am having similar problems. I think the "labels" column must be numerical values and are actually used as the x-axis values. Then my x and y columns are being interpreted as two different series of y-values, with the "size" column applied equally to both series. Does this make sense?

ve3oat gravatar imageve3oat ( 2018-11-17 20:36:02 +0100 )edit

it seems there is no way to tell calc what column is what type of value, if x,y or size.

elnath78 gravatar imageelnath78 ( 2018-11-17 23:18:08 +0100 )edit

Actually there is, but results are confusing, and it seems faulty. Double-click on the chart to place it in Edit mode. Right click to get the dialog box, and choose Data Ranges. Under the Data Series tab, there are entry boxes for the bubble sizes, x values, and y values, as well as border, fill color, and names. While x, y, and size seem to work, the names don't work at all, unless I am doing something wrong. "First column as label" choice might be the problem.

ve3oat gravatar imageve3oat ( 2018-11-18 05:15:56 +0100 )edit

but my first column (B) has the labels

elnath78 gravatar imageelnath78 ( 2018-11-18 07:38:29 +0100 )edit

Yes, mine too, but I couldn't get the labels to appear on the chart, either as word labels or number labels. I played with the format of that column but it didn't make any difference. Maybe I didn't find the right option or combination. It is confusing. And/or maybe "label" doesn't mean what we think it means.

ve3oat gravatar imageve3oat ( 2018-11-18 16:26:12 +0100 )edit

serie label is different than area label/name, a serie has the same color, while different areas do have different colors. However it is confusing.

elnath78 gravatar imageelnath78 ( 2018-11-18 16:55:10 +0100 )edit

Yes, the series label is different (called "Name" in the English version). I see one of your charts has the series label "Colonna D". I got that to work. But I can not get the labels for the data points (Data Labels, like column B of your data) to be displayed, even after changing the format to Text and adjusting the transparency of the bubbles. It is confusing, and I don't know if it is a bug or something I don't understand yet. The help file did not help.

ve3oat gravatar imageve3oat ( 2018-11-18 20:54:28 +0100 )edit

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answered 2018-11-19 02:10:05 +0100

Ratslinger gravatar image


Bubble charts are like scatter charts with an added value for the size. From the documentation:

A bubble chart is a specific variation of a scatter chart in which the data points are replaced with bubbles showing the relations of three variables. Bubble charts are often used to present financial data or social/demographic data.


Scatter charts may surprise those unfamiliar with how they work. While constructing the chart, if you choose Data Range > Data series in rows, the first row of data represents the X-axis.

So based upon your example you probably are expecting this graphic (Data series in rows):

image description

but to generate notice how the data is formatted. Not meant for this. If set as documented (this with Data series in columns):

image description

Best to refer to LO documentation for further info -> LibreOffice Calc Guide. See Chapter 3 - Charts and Graphs.

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it is rally confusing, what should I do with my data to render it?

elnath78 gravatar imageelnath78 ( 2018-11-19 12:57:30 +0100 )edit

My first example showed the data from your question rendered. But I have no idea what your data represents and whether using a bubble chart is proper for your data. Please read the documentation pointed to. Bubble and scatter charts are not for all types of rendering. Maybe the question is why are you needing a bubble chart for your data?

Ratslinger gravatar imageRatslinger ( 2018-11-19 17:58:33 +0100 )edit

I need to represent occupied surface, with bubble I can collocate the item on the floor and set its size, what chart would you recommend?

elnath78 gravatar imageelnath78 ( 2018-11-19 18:28:44 +0100 )edit

Sorry. Not in a position to recommend what you should do. The question was simply on rendering a bubble chart and that is in the answer.

Ratslinger gravatar imageRatslinger ( 2018-11-19 19:02:19 +0100 )edit

you said "Maybe the question is why are you needing a bubble chart for your data?" thought was a eal question.

elnath78 gravatar imageelnath78 ( 2018-11-20 20:30:35 +0100 )edit

The intention was possibly that the chart type was not proper for the data presented. The scatter chart example in the docs show a monthly comparison of currencies with the different currencies comparing to the Yen (the X axis). As stated earlier, the bubble chart goes one step further with the bubble size available. This example can use that to visually show the relation maybe as a percentage.

Really don't know just what you have and what results you expect with this chart type.

Ratslinger gravatar imageRatslinger ( 2018-11-21 03:49:53 +0100 )edit
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Asked: 2018-11-17 19:51:45 +0100

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Last updated: Nov 19 '18