Working with the Time Wheel

The Time Wheel function in Analyst's Notebook is a highly visual way to analyze the time-based data on your chart.

About this task

The Time Wheel visualizes the relationship between the date and time properties of chart items, in a circular diagram made up of sectors and rings. This is useful because you can quickly identify when events occurred and with what regularity. For example, you are interested in the number of calls made between certain telephone numbers, and when those calls were made. Individual values in the matrix are represented by colors from a predefined palette, which you can customize. The sectors are shaded to show the amount of activity in the time period selected. When you hover your cursor over a sector, say between 17:00 and 18:00 on Saturday, Analyst's Notebook displays a summary of all the calls made during that hour. When you click that sector, the relevant records are highlighted on the chart.

By default the lowest value is displayed in the lightest color, through to the highest value, which is displayed in the darkest color. This setup shows high levels of activity as dark areas on the wheel. You can choose to change the palette of colors, and reverse the scale shading option, so that the highest values are represented by the lighter shades.

You can also select a linear, logarithmic, or sequential scale to change the color and what each color represents. The linear scale shows an even color distribution as each color represents a similar sized band of the range of cell values. For example, your count values are in the range 3-22. A linear interval of 4 might be used so the colors represent ranges of 1-4, 5-8, 9-12, 13-16, 17-20, 21-24.

The logarithmic scale is similar to the linear scale, but it emphasizes higher counts with each color representing progressively smaller bands of the range of cell values. This is useful where you have fewer high count values and want to emphasize the distribution. For example, 1-50, 51-75, 76-86, 87-93, 94-95.

The sequential scale is the default option and distributes color evenly across counts that contain data. Each color represents a group containing a similar number of unique cell values. For example, if the ordered unique nonzero count values are: 1, 2, 4, 6, 7, 11, 13, 17, 18, 20, 27, 36, 51, 59, 60, 63, 68, 75, 80, 81, 90 and 99, the unique count value is a total of 22. The range is broken down into ranges that contain around the same number of unique values. In this example, approximately every four numbers are taken resulting in the following: 1-7, 11-20, 27-59, 60-75, 80-99. The generated scale is not contiguous.


To use the Time Wheel:
  1. Click the Analyze tab, and then in the Gain Insight group, click Time Wheel. The Time Wheel window opens.
    Option Description
    Property Shows available date and time properties.
    Sectors Shows a list of scales for use in comparison to Rings.
    Rings Shows a list of scales for use in comparison to Sectors.
    Options Turns Pan to Selection on or off. Selects either the chart time zone or ignore time zones.
    Copy Copies the Time Wheel to the clipboard.
    Scale Shows the colors available to select, gives the option to display the color scale in reverse, and changes the range options between linear, logarithmic and sequential.
    Count Chart Items Gives the option to change from all chart items being displayed in the Time Wheel to selected chart items.
  2. Click Property and select the chart item properties that you want to investigate.
  3. Click Sectors and set the time period for sectors, for example Hour of Day.
  4. Click Rings and set the time period for rings, for example Day of Week. You should select different settings for sectors and rings.
  5. Click Options to change the pan setting, and to change time zones from local time to the chart time zone.
    When you enable Pan to Selection and click on a cell in the Time Wheel, the activity from that cell is panned to on the chart.
    The Time Wheel time zone setting defaults to local time zones. If you change the setting to use the chart's time zone, values are normalized to that time. For example, if your chart is set to Eastern Standard Time (EST) and the local time is Greenwich Mean Time (GMT), the time in the Time Wheel is adjusted to -5 hours in line with EST.
  6. Click the drop-down list on the Scale legend to see the available color options and spacing scales. Customize the colors used in the Time Wheel to suit your needs.
  7. Change Count Chart Items to Selected if you want to focus on items you have selected on the chart, rather than all items on the chart.


The Time Wheel displays your data as selected. Hover over a sector to see a summary of the activity that occurred in that time period, and click the sector to highlight the activity on the chart. You can use Ctrl+Click to select multiple cells. To select all or part of the Time Wheel, click on a cell, hold Shift, and drag the cursor until all the required cells are within the border. Click again to confirm the selection. All of the activity from the chosen area is highlighted on the chart.