jqPlot – Clickable Bar Graphs

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Updated – jqPlot now has the `jqplotDataClick` event which replicates the functionality discussed below. See the example for Vertical and Horizontal Bar Charts.

I’ve been creating several charts using jqPlot and several of them have been bar graphs. One issue I ran into early on was how to I determine which bar someone clicked on without actually clicking on the data point at the top of the bar.

Updated – Clicking on the image will take you a live example.

Bar Graph with One Series

My solution does not actually care if the user clicks within the bar.  For ease of use, I created my functions to determine which column of the x axis the user clicked in.

    line1 = [['Column 1', 99], ['Column 2', 43], ['Column 3', 38], ... ['Column 9', 699]];

    //  .... Create Bar Graph //

    function myClickHandler(ev, gridpos, datapos, neighbor, plot) {
        // The length of my array line1 will tell me how many columns I have on my chart.
        var column = getColumnLocation(plot,gridpos,line1.length);

    function getColumnLocation(plot,gridpos,length)
        // Get the width of the graph area minus the space taken up with axises.
        var insidewidth = plot.grid._width;
        var colwidth = insidewidth / length;
        var column = parseInt(gridpos.x / colwidth);

        return column;

For another chart, I had multiple bars per axis column and I wanted to know which bar in that column had been clicked on.

Updated – Clicking on the image will take you a live example.
Bar Graph with Two Series

        // For this chart I create an array and store each series in it.
	barlines[0] = [0, 4, 3, 1, ...];
	barlines[1] = [1, 2, 3, 0, ...];

	// I need to know the column the user clicked in.
	var column = getColumnLocation(plot,gridpos,barlines[0].length);
	var bar = getBarLocation(plot,gridpos,barLines.length,barlines[0].length,column);

	function getBarLocation(plot, gridpos, bars, length, column)
		var insidewidth = plot.grid._width;
		var colwidth = insidewidth / length;

		// I need to find the right and left sides of the column the user clicked on.
		var leftx = colwidth * column;
		var rightx = colwidth * (column+1);
		var left = 0;
		var right = 0;

		// I need to determine how wide each individual bar is.
		var barwidth = colwidth / bars;
		var bar = 0;

		var j = 0;
		for(i=leftx;i< gridpos.x && gridpos.x < i+barwidth ) {
				// if the X coordinate falls within the walls of the bar then that's the one I want
				bar = j;

		return bar;

So now when the user clicks on the orange bar, they will get the results tied to that bar. I hope this helps someone having the same issue.

5 thoughts on “jqPlot – Clickable Bar Graphs”

  1. Pretty cool. Although I wonder why such basic functionality (drill down/clickable data points) is not being added to the library yet?

  2. Awesome. I am trying something similar but with pie charts. Can you give me the code of this application.

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