Software tip: A more informative x-axis label for your control chart

Steve DaumI spoke with a customer the other day who wanted multiple labels along the x-axis of his control chart. His data set and original chart looked like this:

Did you notice how the x-axis labels contain only the date column? He also wanted the batch number as part of the x-axis label. In the chart definition form, you can select only a single identifier as the label as shown below:

The solution lies on the data definition tab.

The customer had defined the chart to look directly at the data table as shown below:

This works well for most chart definitions, however, if you are willing to get your hands dirty with a little custom query work, then you too can solve this problem!

C’mon… give it a try. It’s not as painful as you think. Here is the SQL custom query that solved the problem:

Select [Date] & ” – ” & [Batch] as DateAndBatch, * from [Sheet1$]

Using the custom query gives you a derived column named DateAndBatch. Now, you can setup the data definition form like this:

This allows you to select DateAndBatch as an x-axis label on the control chart tab. The result is a control chart like this: