Software tools

Charting tool with nested charts?

David Schwartz Multi-Platform (Desktop+Mobile) Rapid Prototyping + Dev, Tool Dev

May 5th, 2015

I'm looking for a charting tool that does something I've not found anywhere, and wondering if anybody here knows of something new.

Consider something like Visio: you can drop shapes on a canvas and put labels inside of the shapes. If you double-click you can set the shape's properties, or edit the label.  That's not what I want.

I want the ability to double-click on a shape and have it "zoom in", essentially opening another level or layer in the chart. 

So if you have a box labeled something like, "Customer Intake", you could double-click it and zoom-in to another chart that shows another chart with the whole customer intake process exploded on it. Clicking some button on the page (or the <- Back button would "zoom out" to the previous level.

You'd be able to create these "nested" diagrams as deep as you want.

The only thing I've seen that comes close is the ability to link to related charts that look and act sort of like web pages. They aren't very clean in that respect.

This is something that would have to have a different kind of behavior in the "edit/design" mode vs. in "view" mode, especially if you were able to render it as a PDF, because clicking or double-clicking on a shape with more details would have to then zoom-in and show the "hidden details".

Maybe a charting tool that literally creates web pages and uses CSS or some features of HTML5 to draw shapes on the page?

Julien Andrieu eCommerce Business Analyst - eBay Enterprise

May 7th, 2015

Hi David,

I'm currently building a web application which may fit with what you are looking for (actually there is a zoom in / zoom out feature so you can go deeper in a diagram). You can find a demo here:

It is not yet done :-) but if you want to have a look I would really like to get your point of view and would  appreciate any suggestion.

Kind regards

Andrew Bloch Founder of LabVegas

May 5th, 2015

Have you tried Prezi?

Mark Dostie CTO of Artificial Intelligence Dev

May 5th, 2015

Speaking as someone with a past in Data Warehousing the concept and tools you are referring to are called OLAP - an analytical system of displaying data in a summary and then detailed format. A common example is looking at sales which shows overall what products are selling for a company. If I then click on that pie chart it explodes to show  a new dimension of by region how are the products selling and so on. Or I can branch into another dimension and see the suppliers for a given product in a region. If I right click or "back out" then it moves back to the summary level.

Take a look at Tableau Software for an example (I am not affiliated in any way). Maybe BI toolsets have this capability. Another one I have worked with is Dundas Visualization - you can see the steps of creating drill-downs here:

If you need more information drop me an email. Best of luck!

David Schwartz Multi-Platform (Desktop+Mobile) Rapid Prototyping + Dev, Tool Dev

May 5th, 2015

Haven't seen Prezi, but the video didn't look like what I want: not a fancy Powerpoint, but more like Visio. Maybe I missed something?

I've seen BI reporting tools that do this. It's conceptually what I want: not for statistical data, but just a hand-drawn diagram like ... Visio.

Thanks, tho.

Any other ideas?

Spokey Wheeler Director at Zinaida Ltd

May 6th, 2015

So, just to clarify your requirements, you're looking for a charting tool where "drilling down" will potentially open a completely different chart, not just a more detailed or narrower view of the data in the current chart?

David Schwartz Multi-Platform (Desktop+Mobile) Rapid Prototyping + Dev, Tool Dev

May 6th, 2015

Well, I prefer the imagery associated with "zooming in" and "zooming out". You have a box that represents a process. You double-click and it zooms-in to reveal a more detailed view of that diagram. Not data, per se. Just a more detailed chart. Some of the shapes on that chart might be zoomable to reveal further details about them as well. 

If it were a web browser, think of a diagram made up of shapes that could be, say, buttons (circles, rectangles, squares, diamonds, etc.) with a labels on them; you click on one and it brings up another chart representing the details of that item. Not like it's another page; it just zooms in. Or out.

I'm making these diagrams. They're not data generated by some reporting system. But conceptually, yeah, they're like if you click on a line in your checking account and it shows more details about that transaction. Or if you click on a segment of a pie chart and it shows different components that went into that metric. The difference is, all of that stuff is auto-generated.

Andrew Bloch Founder of LabVegas

May 6th, 2015

Prezi does exactly that kind of zooming in and out (and not much else). I found prezi to be limited in other respects, so I stopped using it, but I think you can make the diagrams with another program and incorporate them as images in prezi to get the zooming effect.

Simon Bone Founder At Zoom Labs

June 7th, 2015

If you know JavaScript you can do this with Chartist.js