« Back to help center

User guide

This step-by-step guide will show you how to plot a chart, drill into data, and more.


User guide

1. Getting started

This is how the explore section is organized:


The explore section lets you create and manage queries. A query pulls data from the database, organizes it according to your instructions, and lets you visualize the result as a chart or a table.

On your first visit to the explore section, you will start with a blank query.

1.1. Getting help

You can get help at any moment by:

These functions are accessible from the top right corner anywhere in Contiamo:


2. Plotting a metric

A metric is a measurable quantity in your data: sales, cost-per-click, return ratio…

In this section you will learn how to select a metric and display your first chart.

2.1. Choose a metric

Available metrics are listed in the sidebar on the left, grouped by data source:


Within a data source, metrics are grouped by category. Click on a data source and then on a category to unveil a list of available metrics. Notice how hovering over a metric name provides information on the metric:


Choose a metric (if available, we recommend a metric from the Popular category in Google Analytics, as in the screenshot above) and a table should be appear in the results area, for instance:


If the table is empty, it means that the metric contains no data (at least for the selected time range). Try another metric, or ask the admin – the person who invited you – to suggest a metric that you can use.

2.2. Create a chart

Now is the time to create your first chart! From the sidebar to the right of the results area, choose Line:


A chart will be drawn in place of the table:


How about a column chart? Simply choose Column from the sidebar on the right. If available, pick another metric from the sidebar on the left. The result should look like this:


Notice how hovering over the graph provides more information on the data.

3. The time axis

In this section you will learn how to manipulate the time axis.

Let us take a look at query area sitting at the top of the results area:


If you come from the previous section, you should have one or two metrics selected. These appear in the first row. We now look at the last row of the query area, which controls the time range and frequency of the data.

3.1. Define the time range

Click on the drop-down menu in the Time row where it says: ‘trailing 7 days’. You will be presented with this “picker”:


Take some time to explore the various options. Notably, you can switch from Trailing to Last if including the current period skews the results because the numbers for the current period are not final yet. Notice how the chart is immediately updated to reflect your choice.

Let’s settle on the last 8 weeks for now:


The resulting chart should look like this:


That’s a lot of bars!

3.2. Change the frequency

In order to plot a more meaningful chart, let’s change the frequency of the data, and aggregate it by week. This control is to the right of the Time row in the query area:


The result is a lot easier on the eye:


Note on aggregation: If you aggregate the data by month, the time range will automatically adjust (to ‘trailing 3 months’ in this case). This is because weekly and monthly aggregation are incompatible, as a month does not have a round number of weeks.

4. Introducing dimensions

4.1. What is a dimension?

So far we’ve only looked at metrics. A metric is a measure, for instance of the amount of sales or the number of unique visitors. While metrics are numerical, dimensions are categorical: A metric can be split along dimensions. For instance, total sales can be split by product category. Adding a dimension lets you drill down into the data. Dimensions can also be used to filter data, for instance by looking at sales of electronic products only.

We have already explored the time dimension in the previous section. The time dimension plays a central role in Contiamo, which is why it has its own dedicated row in the query area.

4.2. Add a dimension

Dimensions are added to the data from the second row of the query area:


Note: If you have selected more than one metric (as above), please remove all selected metrics but one. This is because only dimensions compatible with the selected metrics will be shown. If no common dimension is available, no dimension can be added.

Click on the + sign next to Dimensions. This opens a list of dimensions in the sidebar on the left. Click on a category and choose a dimension. In table view, the data will look like this:


A new column has been added, and for each date the data is split along the dimension values. The subtotal for each date is shown in bold in the highlighted row.

4.3. Plot with dimensions

Let’s plot only one metric along one dimension for now. Choose the Line plot from the sidebar on the right. The chart will display one line per dimension value:


The column chart will produce a similar result. Now however is a good time to introduce the bar chart. Click on Bar in the sidebar on the right, and the resulting chart will split the metric by dimension like this:


Two comments:

Note: When plotting two metrics along one dimension, the line and column charts will be identical. In both cases, lines will represent one metric and columns the other, while colours will be used to distinguish dimension values.


In general, the more complex the data, the more restrictions will be placed on graphical representations. If necessary, Contiamo will hide some of the data to keep the chart readable, and display a warning:


The table view will always handle the data, no matter how complex.

5. Adding filters

In this section, you will learn how to filter results. Filters are used to select (or remove) dimension values from the results, based on user-defined conditions.

5.1. Add a filter

A filter can be added by clicking on the + sign next to Filters on the third row of the query area. Alternatively, if a dimension is already selected, you can click on the funnel next to the dimension name:


This will bring up the following dialogue:


5.2. Apply a filter

There are three types of filters available. The filter highlighted by default is Values. It filters values listed explicitly.

In order to apply the filter, select fields on the left (selected fields will be moved to the right).

In order to apply the other filters, select the corresponding tabs:

Finally, click the Done button. The data will be updated accordingly.

6. Adding custom calculations

So far we have only plotted data as returned by the query. In this section we will apply calculations to the data and plot the result.

Two types of calculations can be applied to metrics:

6.1. Statistics

In order to add a statistic, click on fx next to the metric name:


Click + Add stat in the dialogue that pops up, and you will be presented with this interface:


Use the dropdown menu next to Type to select a statistic. Each statistic comes with a detailed explanation of what it calculates. Try the following:

The statistic will generally be represented by a dashed line in both line and column charts…


… except for period over period which is represented with columns (green for a positive change and red for a negative one):


6.2. Calculations

In order to add a calculation, click on the symbol Σ next to Metrics in the query area:


Inside the dialogue that pops up, you can compose a custom calculation by selecting metrics and adding mathematical symbols as well as numbers, as in the example below:


The result of the calculation will be plotted alongside the original metrics:


Hint: You can use calculations to plot baselines or goals in charts: Simply enter a number in the calculation formula (no metric), give the calculation a meaningful name such as Baseline, Goal, or Projection, and the chart will display a horizontal line.


7. Managing queries

If you like a chart you have created, you can keep it and start working on another one by creating a new query (top left):


A query is automatically saved until you modify it. Please note that all modifications are saved instantly and cannot be undone.

7.1. Exporting data and charts

You can export the data from a query as a CSV or Excel file by clicking on the last button in the collection of tools on the upper-right corner of the results area (see the overview screenshot).


If you have admin rights, you can also export a chart to a dashboard. To do this, click on the middle button in the same collection of tools, and select Dashboard.


8. What next?

Congratulations, you have completed the tutorial. You are ready to start exploring on your own.

As a starting point, you can visit existing dashboards (navigate to the Dashboards section from the navigation bar at the top).

Otherwise, why not visit the admin tutorial, and create your own project with your own data sources?

If you have any questions, please contact us at support@contiamo.com. We’re always happy to hear from you.