Formatting 3D charts

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Use Format > 3D view to fine tune 3D charts. The 3D View dialog has three pages, where you can change the perspective of the chart, whether the chart uses the simple or realistic schemes, or your own custom scheme, and the illumination which controls where the shadows will fall.

Rotation and perspective

To rotate a 3D chart or view it in perspective, enter the required values on the Perspective page of the 3D View dialog. You can also rotate 3D charts interactively.

Rotating a chart

Some hints for using the Perspective page:

  • Set all angles to 0 for a front view of the chart. Pie charts and donut charts are shown as circles.
  • With Right-angled axes enabled, you can rotate the chart contents only in the X and Y direction; that is, parallel to the chart borders.
  • An x value of 90, with y and z set to 0, provides a view from the top of the chart. With x set to –90, the view is from the bottom of the chart.
  • The rotations are applied in the order x first, then y, and z last.
  • When shading is enabled and you rotate a chart, the lights are rotated as if they are fixed to the chart.
  • The rotation axes always relate to the page, not to the chart’s axes. This is different from some other chart programs.
  • Select the Perspective option to view the chart in central perspective as through a camera lens instead of using a parallel projection.
    Set the focus length with the spin button or type a number in the box. 100% gives a perspective view where a far edge in the chart looks approximately half as big as a near edge.


Use the Appearance page to modify some aspects of a 3D chart’s appearance.

Modifying appearance of 3D chart

Select a scheme from the list box. When you select a scheme, the options and the light sources are set accordingly. If you mark or unmark a combination of options that is not given by the Realistic or Simple schemes, you create a Custom scheme.

Select Shading to use the Gouraud method for rendering the surface, otherwise a flat method is used. The flat method sets a single color and brightness for each polygon. The edges are visible, soft gradients and spot lights are not possible. The Gouraud method applies gradients for a smoother, more realistic look. Refer to the Draw Guide for more details on shading.

Select Object Borders to draw lines along the edges.

Select Rounded Edges to smooth the edges of box shapes. In some cases this option is not available.


Use the Illumination page to set the light sources for the 3D view. Refer to the Draw Guide for more details on setting the illumination.

Setting the illumination

Click any of the eight buttons to switch a directed light source on or off. By default, the second light source is switched on. It is the first of seven normal, uniform light sources. The first light source projects a specular light with highlights.

For the selected light source, you can then choose a color and intensity in the list just below the eight buttons. The brightness values of all lights are added, so use dark colors when you enable multiple lights.

Each light source always points at the middle of the object initially. To change the position of the light source, use the small preview inside this page. It has two sliders to set the vertical and horizontal position of the selected light source.

The button in the corner of the small preview switches the internal illumination model between a sphere and a cube.

Use the Ambient light list to define the ambient light which shines with a uniform intensity from all directions.

Rotating 3D charts interactively

In addition to using the Perspective page of the 3D View dialog to rotate 3D charts, you can also rotate them interactively.

Select the Chart Wall, then hover the mouse pointer over a corner handle or the rotation symbol found somewhere on the chart. The cursor changes to a rotation icon.

Press and hold the left mouse button and drag the corner in the direction you wish. A dashed outline of the chart is visible during dragging, to help you see how the result will look.

Content on this page is licensed under the Creative Common Attribution 3.0 license (CC-BY).
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