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I'm trying to understand what would be the best way to display up to date/real time data coming from a SharePoint List in a chart, if it's possible at all.

Why? Today I was quite surprised to learn that SharePoint lists are not supported in Excel Services as can be read here: http://msdn.microsoft.com/en-us/library/ms496823(v=office.12).aspx This basically means that one cannot refresh data if there is a connection to a SharePoint List.

There's a workaround where you create a PowerPivot model which works based on an OData based data source. Then the workbook has to be uploaded to a PowerPivot Gallery and you can set a schedule to refresh the data or refresh it manually. The con here is that you need PowerPivot for SharePoint set up if I am not mistaken. Or there needs to be a BI Center site present in order to be able create the PowerPivot Gallery.

Another way I can think of is regularly extracting the data and loading it into a SQL Server table and then making a connection to the table from the workbook. Excel Services then should be able to refresh the data directly.

What are your views on this matter? Am I missing anything? Ideally I want this to work using Excel Services as this is the way forward. Are there any alternative ways to build charts in SharePoint 2013 (without Excel)?

Many thanks for your inputs!

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A similar question was discussed on another thread, and the options were either
1. use JavaScript. (works well, but is tedious to setup), or
2. use a 3rd party chart web part like collabion, nevron, or bamboo solutions which have an auto-refresh feature that refreshes the chart every x seconds.

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SharePoint 2010 had chart webpart which are no longer available in SP 2013. But still you can export chart webpart from 2010 and use it in SP 2013. It is very simple to use and it pulls real time data from the list. See this blog .If you have time to invest some development effort then there are lot of other ways such Jquery charts etc which you can use a build your own real time charting control. Further more you can also try this Google chart control for sharepoint lists.

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