HOW TO: Put a (very) Poor Man's Bar Chart DIRECTLY in a WSS3 List

Greetings all,

In working on a current assignment – an assessment of a particular project and the associated solution – I am using my own customized WSS3 website, with a bunch of lists for tracking Risks, Issues, SWOTs, and finally an overall “Scoresheet” list.

OK, so far so good, but I thought “Wouldn’t it be nice to have SOME sort of ‘visual’ KPI-type metaphor in this scoresheet… no matter how wretched-looking?”


So – limited by it being WSS3, and further limited in that I wanted this visual KPI to manifest itself as an actual COLUMN embedded IN the list, here’s what I came up with…

1. Define a column “Grade”
     – type = Number
     – range = 0 to 10

2. DEFINE a column “Importance”
     – type = Number
     – tange = 0 to 10

3. DEFINE a column “Score”
      – type = calculated
      – formula (this is IMPORTANT) =        ”  = REPT(“♦”, [Score])  ”

(note – you could use ANY HTML character code, but I liked the black diamonds for bar charts. You could ALSO have used the alternate/equivalent HTML code “♦”, and in the end Sharepoint WILL still accept it, and – this is cool – the next time you go to look at the formula, the browser will RENDER the black-diamond AS a black diamond… )

That’s about it – here are some screenshots of the formula portion and the end result:

The formula (“The Trick”):

Screenshot: formula for generating barchart-like characters in a column...

The resulting display (actually pretty cool, when you consider it’s all contained IN THE LIST):

Screenshot - final result showing barchart-like characters IN the LIST :-)

Finally, here’s another screenshot showing at least a few DIFFERENT length bars, clearly demonstrating the usefulness of this trick:

Screenshot - several barchat bars showing how useful this simple trick CAN be...

IN FACT… here’s yet another screenshot showing how this nifty little bar chart can REALLY enhance even a Task List, by visualizing the % Complete (always hard to read):

Screenshot - nifty bar chart "column" for visualizing % Complete in a Task List !




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