Optimizing your clients’ PDF graphs using the Bar graph option

Do you ever get frustrated that the little data boxes don’t appear on the PDFs of your FVREB Stats Centre graphs? It’s not an easy programming fix, but there is a workaround – choose a different graph format. 

It’s likely the number one request we have received from members regarding InfoSparks, the product name of our Stats Centre tool – the desire for the data info boxes on the graph line to appear on the PDF print versions – currently, these boxes only appear on the live link graphs.

In response to our enhancement request, the makers of InfoSparks, ShowingTime, have told us it’s a complicated programming fix because of the number of data boxes that would populate the PDF – but they’ve acknowledged the ask and are committed to working on it.   

The best way to illustrate the problem and solution is through images. Here’s a snip from a live graph from our Stats Centre at http://stats.fvreb.bc.ca showing the number of sales of all three main property types in the Fraser Valley in May.  

It looks like this online and it’s what your clients see when you send them the live link to the URL.  Plus, using their mouse, they can scroll along the graph lines and see data info boxes for every month.

But, here’s what they see if you send them a PDF.

No data info boxes. And the only way to ascertain what the metrics are is to look at the vertical and horizontal axes, read the unit values and visually estimate the values of the end data points. For those of us who are graphically challenged, this is not the most effective way to receive info!

However…. look what happens when you simply change the format of the same graph.

By choosing the Bar Graph format instead of the Line Chart format, the sales numbers are clearly visible and do print on the PDF graph.

The Bar graph feature was added a couple of years ago now, but many members still may not know that it’s there. If you click the down arrow in the Line format box, you’ll see a second option for Bar… and it works on data going back a maximum of three years. Here’s another example, this time, illustrating price.

The graph below shows Benchmark prices for FVREB for the three main property types for the month of May, and because we selected a timeline of two years, it also displays the percentage change year-over-year at the bottom of the bars.

Clearly, the bar graph format conveys a lot more info than the line graph format. It works well for illustrating the change in number of sales, days on market, active listings and all three price options (benchmark, median and average.)

ShowingTime recommends members use the line chart to get in-depth look at market trends throughout history, and the bar chart to look at three years of data (or less) to present year-over-year changes in a clean, simple layout. 

ShowingTime has many resources to help you get the most out of your FVREB Stats Centre tool….. first and foremost, regular, free, live webinars!

The next webinar, called “Using InfoSparks and FastStats to Understand Your Housing Market” is scheduled for Thursday, July 25 from 10 am to 10:45 am (PDT – our time zone).

Here is the link to register:


Other resources are: