Visual SQL - Quick Start


New to Chartio? We know documentation can be a bit daunting, so we’ve highlighted some topics to help you get started.

Access to Chartio

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Connect to data

Chartio is a data visualization tool, so the first step would be to find some data. To add data to your Chartio account, navigate to the Data tab from the top navigation bar. From there you can:

  • Connect your database to Chartio. Chartio will need read-only access to your database. You can find more information in our instructions for connecting a data source.
  • Connect a Google Sheet or upload a CSV file from your computer. If you aren’t quite ready to connect your database, you can start to leverage Chartio to gain insights from those spreadsheets on your local machine.
  • Use our demo data sources to start learning Chartio. The value of Chartio is best realized when visualizing your own data, but the demo sources are a quick way to get started.
  • Use the data sources to which you’ve been granted access. If you are joining an existing Chartio account, there is a good chance that your data is already connected. If all data sources are listed as unauthorized in the Data tab, you may need to reach out to an Owner on your Chartio account to be granted the proper permissions.

Open the Data Explorer

Once you have some data, it’s time to get started! There are several ways to open the Data Explorer to create charts in Chartio. For this guide, we’ll access it from the top navigation bar by clicking the Explore tab. You can access this tab from any page within Chartio to quickly analyze data without the need to save it to a specific dashboard.

Click the Explore tab to get quick insights

Create a chart

Chartio’s Visual SQL interface makes it easy to get up and running quickly and start getting insights from your data. This guide will walk you through the steps to create your first chart. No SQL knowledge required.

Save results to a dashboard

Charts and tables in Chartio are organized on dashboards, which can be easily created, updated and shared. When you’ve finished creating your chart, click Save to Dashboard in the upper right of the Data Explorer and you will be provided options to save your chart to an existing dashboard or create a new dashboard.

Share with colleagues

Don’t keep it a secret! Chartio has several options to share your work:

Create a Chart

Once your data is brought into Chartio, you can easily start creating charts by simply adding the columns you want from your data source. We’ll start with a quick example to calculate the total amount of users over time using our Demo Data Source.

Create a Chart example

Creating a basic chart

From the top navigation, click Explore to open the Data Explorer.

The other path to the Data Explorer is through an existing Dashboard. From the Dashboards page in the top navigation, click the New Dashboard button or select an existing Dashboard. From the Dashboard sidebar, click Add Chart.

  1. Select your data source from the top-left dropdown.

    Select a data source from the dropdown

  2. Click +Add Column to select a column from your data source.

    Add a column to your chart by clicking +Add Column

  3. For each added column, select how it will be displayed (aggregated, grouped, etc.) from its dropdown menu in the Results Table.

    Group or aggregate column in the Results Table

  4. Click Run Query.
  5. Change chart type (optional).

    Change chart type

  6. To add a chart title and customize the chart, click the Paintbrush icon to the right of the Save to Dashboard button to change Chart Settings (optional).Edit chart settings to edit chart title and customize the chart
  7. Click Save to Dashboard and choose a Dashboard from the pop-up or create a new one.


Datasets are where you build your queries. They let you select and modify the data you wish to visualize.

Example Dataset with 2 columns added

Data Pipeline

If you need to make any changes to your data results before you put them into a chart, the Data Pipeline can be incredibly useful. Filter or group your data, add calculated columns, and more.

To view a list of available Data Pipeline steps and instructions for how to add them, see our Data Pipeline documentation.

Chart Types

Chartio offers many useful chart types. Some chart types require specific column formatting and data types. To view our chart types and the format required for each, please see our Chart Type documentation.

Learn more about Chart Types

Sample chart


Foreign Keys

If you’d like to make a chart with data from multiple tables in a database, you’ll need foreign keys in your schema. Foreign keys tell Chartio how to combine multiple tables together in one query (dataset). When building your query, you’ll know if foreign keys are not set up when a table you want to use is disabled in Visual SQL Mode.

Learn more about Foreign Keys

Dashboard Variables

Dashboard Variables allow you to dynamically filter multiple charts at a time using a dashboard widget such as a Dropdown or a Text Input.

Learn more about Dashboard Variables


Chartio’s Drilldown functionality allows you to click an area on a chart to update a Dashboard variable value. The Dashboard variable then updates any charts that are connected to it.

Learn more about Drilldowns

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