Working with graphs and charts in FastReport VCL

We continue to publish support articles for students as part of the Academy's educational programme. Every developer at some point will need to work with business graphics: diagrams, charts, barcodes. And our FastReport VCL will help them do it!

Creation of charts and graphs

To draw a diagram the TfrxChartObject  component is used. In Rad and Delphi it is based on the TeeChart library for Delphi/Rad, which comes with Delphi/Rad. Alternatively the TeeChartPro library can be used, but is purchased separately. In Lazarus the diagram component is based on the TAChartLazarusPkg package, which is the LGPL licensed TeeChart component and is available from the standard Lazarus package manager.

Let's look at a simple chart with the country table as an example. It contains data about countries, their area and population:

Name            Area              Population
Algeria          2 381 740       36 485 828
Angola          1 246 700       20 162 517

Add a "Diagram"   object to the report sheet  and set the size of the object to 18x8cm. To customise the object, call its editor by double-clicking.

Chart editor


The numbers in the figure indicate:

1 - Diagram structure. It can contain one or more series.

2 - Object Inspector, which displays the properties of the element selected in window 1. This way you can fine-tune the properties of the diagram.

3 - series data binding panel, which becomes active when a series is selected in window 1.

The first time we run the editor window, it will look like the following figure. But first we need to add one or more series (one in our example). In the tree marked with number 1, we click on Series and then on the button , then select the type of chart and type from the pop-up window. Now we will use a pie chart ("Pie").

Chart type selection

After adding the series in area 3, the Chart Settings window becomes active. Here you must specify which data will be used in the diagram. First select the data set from the "Data set" drop-down list. The fields "Y" and "Text" will be filled in as follows - they can also be selected from the drop-down lists:

Setting up the chart

In this pie chart example, the "Text" values are used to display explanatory text, and only the "Y" values are used to build the chart. Optionally, you can select values for "Color", which allows you to set the desired colour for each "slice" of the diagram. Don't forget to save our data!

Enable captions for the chunks, set Marks -> Style to "smsLabelValue" (display label and value), turn off the axes visibility, setting both axes ("0 - Left" and "1 - Bottom") Visible to False. Press OK to close the editor and run the report for plotting:

A report with a diagram

This is a good start, but the diagram clearly needs some work. Let's turn on one more property that will separate the labels from each other before moving on to the next point. To do this let's set PieSeries -> Marks -> OverlapPolice from opIgnore to opHideNeighbour.

Visually it looks better already!

 Diagram with inscription control

Some helpful settings

Let's look at some settings that can be useful for changing the appearance of a diagram. These can only be done in the diagram object inspector:

Diagram with fixed data

In the previous example we built a diagram based on data from a database table, but you can also enter data into the diagram manually. This method is useful for creating small diagrams.

Let us demonstrate this with a small example. Add a diagram to the report page and enter its editor. Insert a series of 'Bar' and go into the property settings:

Entering fixed data into the diagram

It is worth mentioning that we will have to manually enter values for the X-axis. When you run the report, you will see the following result:

Bar chart with manually entered data

Barcode creation


FastReport has the useful element of barcode. This greatly extends the scope of our report generator.

To add a barcode to the report you need to select the object rom the side toolbar. Immediately afterwards the settings window appears:

Linear barcode settings window

2D Barcode Settings Window

The Preferences window allows you to specify the code itself, select the barcode type, enable checksum verification option and display the code symbols. The object can be rotated 0°, 90°, 180°, 270° degrees for easy placement. 

The code for the barcode can be set by a field from the database, a function, a variable, or entered manually. The following figure shows the expression editor.

Expression Editor

Don't be surprised if the code in the barcode does not change after selecting a value. Be sure to save the whole thing and then run the report afterwards. From there, it is clearly visible that the entered code is displayed and has formed a barcode.

Barcode Display in Report

On behalf of the entire company we wish all the students every success in their studies!