Datazen Visual Control Categories

Choosing the right visualization control for a set of data can sometimes be challenging.  I find some aspects of designing dashboard solutions in Datazen on the surface to be very simple but it’s easy to get stuck in the details and fine points.  The purpose of this guide to help simplify and categorize visual control choices in mobile dashboard design.  Datazen supports five categories of visual controls:

  • Navigators
  • Gauges
  • Charts
  • Maps
  • DataGrids

Navigator Controls

These controls are used to filter the data displayed in other controls


  • Time Navigator displays a range of time/date values

Supports years, quarters, months, days, hours
Auto-generates each date/time level value (doesn’t require a date lookup table)
Supports one or multiple metric fields

  • Scorecard Grid combines a selection list with multi-field value KPI scorecard
  • Selection List supports single-select, multi-select and All

Gauge Visuals


This group of controls display a single numeric field value rather than multiple values

  • The Number control displays a single value with no target
  • All other controls display a value compared to a target value, which requires that the dataset has two separate metric fields for this purpose.

Chart Visuals


  • Time Chart & Comparison Time Chart:
  • Similar to Time Navigator but also supports auto, decade levels
  • These controls segment aggregated metrics by a category field:

Category Chart, Comparison Category Chart, Waterfall Chart, Funnel Chart, Tree Map

These controls use multiple metric fields (doesn’t segment)

Totals Chart, Pie Chart

Map Visuals


  • Geographic region names map to embedded shape names in the map definition
  • Shapes use well-known region names but not well documented.  All the shape names are exposed in a JSON structure within the dashboard definition file (to view the definition, rename a copy of the .datazen file with a .zip extension.)
  • Single metric field values:

Map, Bubble Map

Metric & comparison (KPI target) values:

Range Stop Heat Map

DataGrid Visuals


  • Simple DataGrid:

Based on one table, displays selected fields

  • Indicator DataGrid:

Based on one table, displays selected fields as either columns or indicators/gauges.

Indicators require 2 fields for metric & target/comparison

  • Chart DataGrid:

Supports features of Indicator DataGrid

Based on two tables with matching key fields

Second table is used for the category chart

Paul Turley

Paul Turley

Microsoft Data Platform MVP, Principal Consultant for 3Cloud Solutions Specializing in Business Intelligence, SQL Server solutions, Power BI, Analysis Services & Reporting Services.

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