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DataBind Charts to CSV Data

Use the standard ADO.NET procedures for databinding to provide bidirectional access to CSV data from controls in the Visual Studio toolbox. This article demonstrates a graphical approach using wizards in Visual Studio, as well as how to databind with only a few lines of code.

DataBinding enables bidirectional access to data from UI controls. You can use the CData ADO.NET Provider for CSV to easily databind CSV data to Windows Forms and Web controls in Visual Studio. This article shows how to use wizards to databind CSV data to a chart that reflects any changes. The code walk-through section shows how to create a chart in 10 lines of code.

DataBind to a Chart

DataBinding consists of three steps: Instantiate the control, configure the data source, and databind.

Configure the Connection and Select Database Objects

Follow the procedure below to use the Data Source Configuration Wizard to create a chart control and the connection to CSV. In the wizard, you can select the CSV entities you want to databind.

  1. In a Windows Forms project, drag and drop a Chart control from the toolbox to the form. In the Data section of the Chart properties, select DataSource and then select Add Project Data Source from the menu.
  2. In the Data Source Configuration Wizard that appears, select Database -> Dataset.
  3. In the Choose Your Data Connection step, click New Connection.
  4. In the Add Connection dialog, click Change to select the CData CSV Data Source and enter connection properties. Below is a typical connection string:


    The DataSource property must be set to a valid local folder name. Also, specify the IncludeFiles property to work with text files having extensions that differ from .csv, .tab, or .txt. Specify multiple file extensions in a comma-separated list. You can also set Extended Properties compatible with the Microsoft Jet OLE DB 4.0 driver. Alternatively, you can provide the format of text files in a Schema.ini file.

  5. Choose the database objects you want to work with. This example uses the Customer table.


After adding the data source and selecting database objects, you can bind the objects to the chart. This example assigns the x-axis to City and the y-axis to TotalDue.

  1. In the Chart properties, click the button in the Series property to open the Series Collection Editor.
  2. In the Series properties, select the columns you want for the x- and y-axes: Select columns from the menu in the XValueMember and YValueMember properties.

The chart is now databound to the CSV data. Run the chart to display the current data.

Code Walk-through

DataBinding to CSV data requires only a few lines of code and can be completed in three easy steps.

  1. Connect to CSV.
  2. Create the CSVDataAdapter to execute the query and create a DataSet to be filled with its results.
  3. DataBind the result set to the chart.

Below is the complete code:

CSVConnection conn = new CSVConnection("DataSource=MyCSVFilesFolder;"); CSVCommand comm = new CSVCommand("SELECT City, SUM(TotalDue) FROM Customer GROUP BY City", conn); CSVDataAdapter da = new CSVDataAdapter(comm); DataSet dataset = new DataSet(); da.Fill(dataset); chart1.DataSource = dataset; chart1.Series[0].XValueMember = "City"; chart1.Series[0].YValueMembers = "TotalDue"; // Insert code for additional chart formatting here. chart1.DataBind();