Qlikview Watermark Bar Charts (A Bit Like Bullet Charts..But Not Quite)

One of my long standing minor frustrations with Qlikview has been the limited flexibility when it comes to the Symbol Set available in a Combo chart. You can have: dots, diamonds, squares, circles, up/down arrows etc all of which have their uses but for me they’re sorely lacking in one small but crucial area; when used in conjunction with a Bar their inefficient. Allow me to demonstrate:

Across this demo we’re going to be looking at how Sales Volume for a particular Sales Person compare to Average Sales Volume for all Sales People (this could just as easily be how Sales compare to Targets for example). In the example below I’m showing the Volume for the selected Sales Person in Grey and the Average for all Sales People via a Symbol set to default size and auto symbol choice.

As you can see the dot’s are a bit lost in the chart and don’t readily draw the eye – of course we can tweak colours etc to make them stand out but that won’t make too much of a difference. The obvious solution here is to make the symbols larger, let’s do that:

In this example the symbols are now much clearer but as they’ve increased in size vertically as well as horizontally it’s now much harder to accurately read off their values from the Y-axis. Plus annoyingly Qlikview always places the symbols slightly off centre, the reason for which eludes me.

The other inherent problem with both of the above examples is that it’s very hard to accurately judge a distance between non-parallel lines especially when looking at a chart quickly as one does with a dashboard.

As a 3rd option we could show both measures side by side. Generally this works well and can provide accurate results however I find it can get a bit too crowded and end up confusing the picture:

Admittedly this is probably the best solution if you have plenty of space and not too many values on the X-Axis.

So what if you do have lots of values to show in a relatively small amount of space (such as an iPadf deployment)  but need a solid degree of accuracy? – I admit this is getting to be a small niche requirement – Step in the ‘Watermark Bar Chart’.

As you can see in the example below we’re showing the same volume of data as in the above examples but in a much more efficient manner:


Crucially with the Watermark Bar Chart we aren’t loosing that much information fidelity even when we get down to a really small object footprint. From this chart I can instantly see whether the selected Sales Person is above or below average for all the available Products as well as garnering a good indication of how large or small the difference is.

A note for Qliktech: The method needed to generate this is very complex when compared to the amount of benefit we gaining (yes I am doing down my own chart!) it could all be solved easily by having a ‘Line’ available as a Combo Chart symbol option.

As usual an example .qvw is available to download here: https://docs.google.com/open?id=0BxloTMUod74tUEVyRHRSa3h4LUU

The key components are 3x stacked expressions that are controlled along with the Background Colors by an if() that’s looking at whether the selected Sales Person’s Volume is greater or less than the overall Average.

Poke around in the Properties of the chart and all will become clear.

Due to the complexity of the implementation I have to admit that I probably won’t be putting this chart into action in its current guise but it’s always good to have more tools available in the Qlikview Toolbox and I hope it pushes Qliktech to deliver that new Symbol type to make this chart easy to deploy.

As always; all the best,


UPDATE: I’ve submitted this to the Qlikcommunity as a new ‘Idea’, you can vote for it here: http://community.qlikview.com/ideas/2610

6 Responses to “Qlikview Watermark Bar Charts (A Bit Like Bullet Charts..But Not Quite)”
  1. Your post leaves me wondering how much interest Qliktech has in creating new or improving the existing chart types. It seems like there is an over emphasis on extensions and they are expecting that all of our charts will be extensions.

    • qvdesign says:


      I agree, I can’t remember any ‘tweaks’ or small improvements being made to individual chart types in my 6yrs using Qlikview. As for Extensions; they have their place and I like the principal behind them but they certainly shouldn’t replace improvements in the standard functionality of the Qlikview product that eveyone can take advantage of.

      Here’s hoping for Qlikview.next.

      I’ve posted this as an ‘Idea’ to the Community and once it’s approved I’ll post a link so people can vote to support it.

      My next post is another similar chart whereby a useful addition to a chart is quite complex to implement now but could be so easy if the functionality was added into Qlikview itself.

      Many thanks for the comment and all the best,


  2. pablo mr says:

    A bit complex, but brilliant, as usual!!!

    I agree with Chris, it seems that QlikView is focusing on extensions. A clear example is the Global Games app, what you see first is an extension. Have they forgotten the “user friendly experience”?

    Thanks for sharing your knowledge and ideas Matt.
    Cheers from Spain

  3. With such a groundup re-write of the application platform with Qlikview.next can we really expect an radical changes to the existing chart types ? I doubt it….

    • qvdesign says:


      On the whole I agree – but there’s part of me that hopes that it won’t be too much for Qliktech to include enhancements to charts / objects in the ground up re-write; if they’re re-building everything why not include improvements in that re-build.

      According to Donald Farmer this is going to be a ‘Generational’ change to Qlikview which sounds fantastic but if all this change does is re-work the way we get to and how we consume from where we are now (ie the same charts, tables and objects just created via a fancy UI & touch interface) then it’s going to be a failure.

      Qlikview.next details should start leaking out in the next few months so we’ll hopefully know more soon.

      All the best,


  4. Paco says:

    Great post.

    I am looking for a way to create a Bullet Chart in Qlikview.

    Does your example .qvw file has a special flag that allow other Qlikview Desktop Personal Version users to open it.

    Thank you very much.


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