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I'd like to see a timeline of events from a database in a "timeline chart", that should look like this:

alt text

I've made me a small c# program that paints this onto a Bitmap, but that isn't the way to go.

I have input data that has 3 fields:

StartX  EndX    Y
2596    15008   1
5438    6783    2
5450    5453    4
5456    5459    4
5462    5466    4
5470    5474    4
5477    5657    5
5662    5665    4
5668    5671    4

As the picture shows, for each line I'd like to have a line from StartX to EndX with a Y value of Y. Stacked bar chart almost solves my problem, but I don't want to have a new line on the chart for every row, I have thousands of rows and I'd like to have X axis as the time axis, and view which events (Y is the type of the event) happened simultaneously. The image (see above) I've generated with a simple C# program shows that the event SYSTEM was active all the time, and the events TECH and BREAK were almost exclusive, but had some overlaps.

I'd like to at least know the correct direction which I should take; I'm lost in the multitude of Excel chart types.

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up vote 1 down vote accepted

The only way I've found to accomplish this is to use stacked bar charts where the blank time in between actual events is a series that is set to a blank fill. This method also requires helper columns to assist in feeding the data that the stacked bar chart expects. This method would need a table with as many rows as Y values. This makes it tough since the requirement about new line for every row seems to indicate you want to leave your data in the format it currently uses.

Other thoughts: Have you considered perhaps a charting component to the c# program instead of trying to force Excel to make the graph? Microsoft's Chart Control is a clone of Dundas and is free.

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