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# what do the continuous and categorical type options on the x-axis format section mean?

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09-09-2016 03:08 PM

hi all,

i am trying to learn more about power bi desktop. i created a stacked column chart.

in the x-axis section there is a field named "type". it has 2 options continuous and categorical.

i selected each option and the only thing i noticed was that the width of the columns changed.

i searched this forum, but couldn't find anything that explained these options.

i searched for an explaination of these options. the only page i found was this one, but it doesn't say what the options should be used for. it just says to select one or the other . . . duh!

i'd like to know if someone can give me a short description of what these options are for or what they mean of when to pick one over the other.

any help would be greatly appreciated.

thank you

tracy

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## Re: what do the continuous and categorical type options on the x-axis format section mean?

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09-09-2016 10:17 PM

@elz Here's the difference between the two in simpler terms.

Continuous axis is where values change continuously and you cannot count the number of different values. Examples include weight, price, counts etc. Basically anything you can measure or count. Categorical is where you make small number of categories. This includes type, gender, age group, etc.

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## Re: what do the continuous and categorical type options on the x-axis format section mean?

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09-09-2016 05:32 PM

You can customize your chart according to your data type.

Thanks & Regards,

Bhavesh

Bhavesh

Love the Self Service BI.

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## Re: what do the continuous and categorical type options on the x-axis format section mean?

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09-09-2016 10:17 PM

@elz Here's the difference between the two in simpler terms.

Continuous axis is where values change continuously and you cannot count the number of different values. Examples include weight, price, counts etc. Basically anything you can measure or count. Categorical is where you make small number of categories. This includes type, gender, age group, etc.

## Re: what do the continuous and categorical type options on the x-axis format section mean?

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09-13-2016 09:43 PM

thank you for taking the time to explain these options in every day terms. i really appreciate it.

tracy

## Re: what do the continuous and categorical type options on the x-axis format section mean?

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09-13-2016 10:59 PM

Hi Tracy,

Adding some additional information.

I think you have noticed the Note: “If the X-axis is string/Boolean, the Type option will not display.”

Then the available data type could be used here should be left with number and Date/Time. (Reference**: **Data types in Power BI Desktop**)**

When we put those two kind of data into X-Axis, the Type option would show up in Format, with Continuous, Categorical available.

Continuous, means the X-Axis would show the data in a natural growth order, like 1,2,3,…… regardless of the Y-Axis data;

While Categorical would only show the part which have values based on Y-Axis, those part of X-Axis with no values in Y-Axis, would be removed.

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## Re: what do the continuous and categorical type options on the x-axis format section mean?

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05-16-2018 03:28 AM - edited 05-16-2018 03:31 AM

Thanks for the clarification. Is there a way I can change the increment manually?

I want to have a 24 hr count on my X-axis (0, 1, 2, 3, 4, ... ) but the default increment is by 5 (0, 5, 10, 15, 20 ...) and I would like to change the increment to 1. I couldn't figure out how to do that.

I found some work arounds, one of them is to change Type from Continuous to Categorical. With that, the increment changes to 1 as desired, but the X-axis is displayed in reversed order, and I can only sort in descending order Z to A, but not in ascending order A to Z.

I opened a thread on this subject:

Any help appreciated. Thank you!