In addition to dimensions and measures, each field is categorized as either discrete or continuous. Below are example graphs illustrating the difference between these two data roles. Both examples show the Sum of Sales as a function of Order Quantity. It is the same information presented in two different ways.
|Each distinct order quantity is displayed as a header along the bottom of the bar chart. The Order Quantity field is colored blue on the Columns shelf.||The order quantity values are drawn along a continuous axis along the bottom of the line chart. The Order Quantity field is colored green on the Columns shelf.|
Discrete fields always result in headers being drawn whenever they are placed on the Rows or Columns shelves. Continuous fields always result in axes when you add them to the view. These roles are important because you may want to display your data continuously or discretely depending on what you are trying see and the data itself. You can switch between continuous and discrete data roles using the field menu.
Converting Discrete Fields to ContinuousWhen you are using a relational data source you can convert any numeric or date field into a continuous field. Convert fields by doing one of the following
Select Continuous on
the field menu after dragging it to a shelf.
Converting a field that has already been placed on a shelf does not change its role in the Data window. Use this method when you want to convert the field for a specific view but don't want it to change for the whole workbook.
Right-click a field in the Data window and select Convert to Continuous.
The Order Date field is still displayed in the Dimensions area of the Data window, but now uses a green icon, which indicates it is a continuous quantity.