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Lesson 4. All about graphical charts.

Please make sure you are using Lab128 version (April 2008) or later before taking this lesson.

This lesson will help you customize and create your own charts. The charts in Lab128 behave the same way in all windows. Once you have learned how to use them, this knowledge becomes applicable throughout the entire application.

Let's open a chart window from the Main window. For example, click on the "Logical Reads" mini-graph in the upper part of the window. A Chart window will open. There will only be one chart in this window. Now let's go back to the Main window and click on "Phys Reads". Another window will open. What if you want to combine two charts together? Right click on a chart and select "Merge Graph to Other Page". You will see a list of available chart pages. For now, you should see 'Charts - UnNamed01' in the list. Select it and press OK. You will be switched to the first Chart window and the new statistic will be added. You can also add a statistic from the Main window directly to an already open Chart window. For example, switch back to the Main window, right click on "Phys Writes" or any other mini-graph, and select "Merge to Another Chart". Then select the Chart window and press OK.

The point of this exercise is to show how graphical charts can be exchanged between windows. The Chart windows have been specifically designed for charts added by the user; it can contain a large number of charts. Many other windows in Lab128, such as the Activity Explorer, SQL Explorer, Session History and others have a chart area which can accept additional charts. For example, open the Activity Explorer window. You can merge charts from the Activity Explorer to the already opened UnNamed01. Right click on the "Active Sessions" chart and select "Merge to Another Chart", then merge to UnNamed01. This example demonstrates the consistency of chart exchange. As mentioned earlier, this principle applies to other windows.

What if you want to change the order of statistics in a Chart window? Click on any non-graphical area of the desired chart (e.g. the title area) and drag it to its new location. Drag and drop only works inside one window. These windows can contain up to 60 charts per window. In order to save a user-defined chart, select "Select Page" in the right-click menu and give it a name. All saved chart pages can be opened by using the toolbar: View | User Charts | <named chart>.

A few words about scrolling charts. Most likely, you will need to scroll charts in time. This can be done by using a scroll bar, but it can often be done much easier with the mouse. Right-click at some point on the graph and move the mouse left or right while holding the mouse button. The graphs will scroll following your movements. If you move the mouse vertically instead of horizontally, the vertical scale of the graph will change.

Other useful hints. To find the value at some point, click on the point. A vertical dashed line will indicate the selected point. Its value will be shown in the upper right corner. To find the average value over a period of time, you need to select the time interval. The boxes in the bottom left and right indicate the selected time interval. The average value is shown in the upper right corner of the graph. You can export statistics data for a selected time interval into an .csv file or onto the clipboard. Click "Clear Selection" to clear the time selection.

The time scale can be "zoomed in" and "zoomed out". Sometimes, zooming out works better than time-scrolling, providing a picture over a bigger period of time. You can then make a selection around interesting activity and "zoom into selection" by selecting the corresponding item in the right-click menu.

Lesson summary. Clicking on a statistic mini-graph in the Main menu opens a larger and more detailed Chart window. The Chart window can have multiple statistics added by the user. Chart windows can be named and saved to be used later. The statistics can be exchanged between all Lab128 windows containing charts. The order of statistics in the Chart window can be changed by dragging and dropping. All the different manipulations on charts can be performed by using the right-click menu. Time interval selection can be used to find average values and to export data. "Zooming out" can be used as an alternative to scrolling charts.

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