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How to: Specify Consistent Colors across Multiple Shape Charts (Report Builder 3.0 and SSRS)

On non-shape charts, a new color is selected from the palette based on the index of series in the chart. For example, the first series on your chart will be mapped to the first color in the palette. However, this behavior differs for shape charts. On shape charts, each color in the palette is mapped to a data point in the dataset. For example, data point 1 is mapped to the first color in the palette, data point 2 is mapped to the second color palette and so on.

If a data point has no value, it is omitted from display on a shape chart. This means that the data point is skipped from being colored. For example, if point 2 has a value of zero, point 1 will be mapped to the first color in the palette, and point 3 will be mapped to the second color in the palette. This approach is useful because the empty points in the dataset of a pie chart do not unnecessarily use a palette color when the empty point does not need to be drawn.

As a side effect, when multiple pie charts are displayed in a report, the pie charts may display different colors for data points that have the same category grouping. To resolve this, you need to define individual colors that map to a category group instead of individual data values. How you do this depends on if the shape charts are sparklines in a table or matrix, or if they are shape charts in the report itself.

The legend is connected to the series, so any color you specify for the series will automatically be shown on the legend.


You can create and modify report definitions (.rdl) in Report Builder 3.0 and in Report Designer in Business Intelligence Development Studio. Each authoring environment provides different ways to create, open, and save reports and related items. For more information, see Designing Reports in Report Designer and Report Builder 3.0 (SSRS) on the Web at

To specify consistent colors across multiple sparkline shape charts in a table or matrix

  1. Click the chart to display the Chart Data pane.

  2. In the Category Groups area, right-click a category and click Category Group Properties.

  3. On the General tab, in the Synchronize groups in box, click the name of the category for which you would like to synchronize colors, and then click OK.

To specify consistent colors across multiple shape charts

  1. Right-click outside the body of the report, and select Report Properties.

  2. In Code, type the following code into the textbox.

        Private colorPalette As String() = {"Color1", "Color2", "Color3"}
        Private count As Integer = 0
        Private mapping As New System.Collections.Hashtable()
        Public Function GetColor(ByVal groupingValue As String) As String
            If mapping.ContainsKey(groupingValue) Then
                Return mapping(groupingValue)
            End If
            Dim c As String = colorPalette(count Mod colorPalette.Length)
            count = count + 1
            mapping.Add(groupingValue, c)
            Return c
        End Function


    You will need to replace the "Color1" strings with your own colors. You can use named colors, for example "Red", or you can use six-digit hexadecimal value that represent the color, such as "#FFFFFF" for black. If you have more than three colors defined, you will need to extend the array of colors so that the number of colors in the array matches the number of points in your shape chart. You can add new colors to the array by specifying a comma-separated list of string values that contain named colors or hexadecimal representations of colors.

  3. Click OK.

  4. Right-click on the shape chart and select Series Properties.

  5. In Fill, click the Expression (fx) button to edit the expression for the Color property.

  6. Type the following expression, where "MyCategoryField" is the field that is displayed in the Category Groups area: