• 26 Oct 2020
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Preset Terminology: Basic Terms & Concepts


A chart is a graphical visualization of queried data. Charts can take many forms and Preset supports a wide variety of chart types. Deciding on what type of chart to use often depends on the type of data you are using and what you would like to convey.

In Preset, charts broadly fall into one of five categories:

  • Time Series Charts: These kinds of charts display data over time and are best used to discover trends and patterns. Examples of Time Series Charts include line charts, time series bar charts, and time series tables.
  • Composition Charts: These kinds of charts show how data is distributed across a specific field and are best used to highlight volumetric trends, such as 'The Most...', 'The Least...', and 'Top 10' type charts. Examples of Composition Charts include bar charts, pie charts, and treemaps.
  • Distribution Charts: These kinds of charts show how data is distributed across one or more fields and are best used to highlight data with multiple dimensionsal attributes. Examples of Distributions Charts include histograms, box plots, and horizon charts.
  • Relationship Charts: These kinds of charts show the relationship between two or more variables and are often used to convey commonality, uncommonality, or cause & effect type relationships. Examples of Relationship Charts include pivot tables, heat maps, and bubble charts.
  • Geospatial Charts: These kinds of charts show data on a geographical basis. Preset offers a wide variety of deck.gl based geospatial charts for large datasets, such as scatterplots, arcs, grids, and polygons.


A dashboard is a visual representation of multiple sets of data. In the world of Preset and Superset, a dashboard is a collection of charts. Dashboards have the unique capability to tell a story by combining different types of charts to form a narrative.

There are two types of dashboards:

  • Static Data Display: A static data display conveys a snapshot of data that does not change. This type of dashboard is ideal for engaging, persuasive, and explanatory content.
  • Dynamic Data Display: A dynamic data display is regularly updated by data that changes, such as a metrics, KPIs, and measurements. This type of dashboard is ideal for monitoring, performance analysis, browsing items, and canned analysis displays.


A database is an organized collection of structured data. Preset supports a variety of different database connections — have a look at our Supported Databases topic to learn more.


Within Preset, a dataset refers to a table within a database. For example, the walkthroughs we use in this Getting Started Guide use data from a Vertica database and, specifically, from a schema called public and a table called netflix_titles (i.e., public.netflix_titles). So the dataset/table here is called netflix_titles.


In Preset, a datasource is typically the combination of schema and table that can be selected when creating a new chart. For example, when creating a Sunburst chart in the Create a Chart walkthrough, we selected publix.netflix_titles when asked for a datasource.


A metric is a quantitative measurement (e.g., sum, count, average, etc.) of a column (e.g., new titles, new releases, archived shows, etc.). Preset charts rely on one or more metrics to display meaningful data.


A query is when a subset of data is retrieved from a datasource. In Preset, the chart configuration process includes a number of different fields that enable users to define exactly what subset of data they wish to extract, such as a time period, metrics, filters, and row limits.


The toolbar is the horizontal user interface element located along the top of all Preset screens. The toolbar consists of a number of important tools that enable users to interact with Preset, such as creating a new chart, viewing dashboards, and accessing datasets.

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