Charts and Graphs

Charts and Graphs - Choosing the Right Visual For Your Data
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M-image Bring your data to life with engaging charts and graph. ocular representations help us to understand data quickly. When you show an effective graph or chart, your report or presentation gains clearness and agency, whether you ‘re comparing sales figures or highlighting a course .
But which kind of graph or graph should you choose ? If you click on the chart option in your spreadsheet program, you ‘ll likely be presented with many styles. They all look fresh, but which one works best for your data, and for your audience ?

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To figure that out, you need a good understanding of how graph and charts knead. This article explains how to use four of the most common types : line graph, bar graph, pie charts, and Venn diagrams .

How to Tell a Story With Charts and Graphs

The independent functions of a chart are to display data and invite foster exploration of a topic. Charts are used in situations where a simple table wo n’t adequately demonstrate significant relationships or patterns between data points .
When making your chart, think about the specific data that you want your data to support, or the result that you want to achieve .
Keep your charts simpleton – bombarding an audience with data will likely leave them confused and uncertain, so remove any unnecessary elements that could distract them from your central steer .


Our brains process graphic data in a different way to text. Your hearing will subconsciously seek a ocular center that draws their attention. merely habit bright colors for areas that you want to emphasize, and avoid careen or angling your graph, as this can cause confusion .


If the datum does n’t support your sharpen of view, avoid manipulating it to do therefore. This is not entirely unethical, it ‘s besides relatively easy to spot for anyone who is experienced in analyzing data .

How to Create Basic Graphs and Charts

The word “ chart ” is normally used as a catchall term for the graphic representation of data. “ Graph ” refers to a chart that specifically plots data along two dimensions, as shown in figure 1 .

Figure 1: x- and y-Axes

Graphs and Charts
When you plot your data, the known value goes on the x-axis and the measured ( or “ unknown ” ) prize goes on the y-axis. For model, if you were to plot the measure average temperature for a total of months, you ‘d set up axes as shown in visualize 2 :

Figure 2: The Known Value Goes on the Horizontal x-Axis and the Measured Value on the Vertical y-Axis

Graphs and Charts

The pursue sections cover the most normally use types of data visual image .

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Line Graphs

One of the graph you will probably use most frequently is a argumentation graph .
Line graph simply use a line to connect the data points that you plot. They are most utilitarian for showing trends and for identifying whether two variables relate to ( or “ correlate with ” ) one another .
Examples of trend data include how sales figures vary from calendar month to month, and how engine performance changes as the engine temperature rises .
You can use correlation data to answer questions like, “ On average, how much sleep do people get, based on their long time ? ” or “ Does the distance a child lives from school affect how frequently they are late ? ”

Note 1:

Data can be continuous or discontinuous ( or discrete ) .
continuous data is measured, and can represent any value on a continuous scale : height, weight and meter are all examples of continuous data .
Discontinuous data is not measured but counted : numbers of employees in a company or cars in a traffic obstruct are examples of discontinuous data .
Along the x-axis of a production line graph, you can only use continuous data. This is because course graph are used to make a lead link between the datum points. If the variables are not continuous, a stripe graph is probably more appropriate. ( See the section on legal profession graph, below. )

Using Line Graphs: An Example

ABC Enterprises ‘ sales vary throughout the year. By plotting sales figures on a line graph ( as shown in figure 3 ), you can see the main fluctuations during the course of a class. here, sales drop off in June and July, and again towards the end of the class .

Figure 3: Example of a Line Graph

Graphs and Charts

While some seasonal worker variation may be ineluctable for ABC Enterprises, it might still be possible to boost cash flows during the low periods through market action and particular offers .
Line graph can show more than one line or data serial, excessively. It ‘s easy to compare trends when you represent them on the same graph .
For case, you might have different lines for different merchandise categories or memory locations, as shown in figure 4, under .

Figure 4: Example of a Line Graph With Multiple Data Series

Graphs and Charts

Bar Graphs

Another type of graph that shows relationships between unlike data sets is the bar graph .
In a stripe graph, the acme of the bar represents the careful value : the higher or longer the bar, the greater the value .

Using Bar Graphs: An Example

ABC Enterprises sells three different models of its main merchandise : the Alpha, the Platinum, and the Deluxe. By plotting the sales of each model over a three-year menstruation, you can see trends that might be masked by a simple analysis of the figures themselves .
In design 5, it ‘s clear that although the Deluxe is the highest-selling, its sales have dropped off over the three-year period, while sales of the early two have continued to grow .
possibly the Deluxe is becoming outdated and needs to be replaced with a new model. Or it could be suffering from stiffer contest than the other two models.

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Figure 5: Example of a Bar Graph

Graphs and Charts

You could besides represent this data on a multiple-series production line graph, as shown in trope 6 .

Figure 6: Data From Figure 5 Shown on a Line Graph

Graphs and Charts

frequently, the option of which style to use comes down to how easy the tendency is to spot. In this model, the trace graph works better than the measure graph, but this might not be the lawsuit if the chart had to show data for 20 models, rather than fair three .
generally, if you can use a line graph for your data, a bar graph will often do the job just deoxyadenosine monophosphate well. however, the opposition is not always true : when your x-axis variables represent discontinuous data ( such as employee numbers or different types of products ), you can entirely use a banish graph .
Data can besides be represented on a horizontal barroom graph, as shown in calculate 7. This is a better method acting when you need more distance to describe the measured variable. It can be written on the side of the graph rather than squashed underneath the x-axis .

Figure 7: Example of a Horizontal Bar Graph

Graphs and Charts

Pie Charts

A proto-indo european chart compares parts to a whole. As such, it shows a percentage distribution. The pie represents the total datum set, and each segment of the proto-indo european is a particular class within the hale .
To use a proto-indo european chart, the datum you are measuring must depict a proportion or share relationship. Each section must be calculated using the lapp whole of measurement, or the numbers will be meaningless .

Using Pie Charts: An Example

The proto-indo european chart in name 8 shows where ABC Enterprises ‘ sales come from .

Figure 8: Example of a Pie Chart

Graphs and Charts

Tip 1:

Be careful not to use besides many segments in your pie chart. More than six and it gets far besides crowded .

Tip 2:

If you want to emphasize one of the segments, you can detach it a little from the main proto-indo european .

Tip 3:

For all their obvious utility, pie charts do have limitations. For exemplar, the layout can mask the relative size and importance of the percentages. Consider whether a measure graph would better illustrate your intentions .

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Venn Diagrams

Venn diagrams show the overlaps between sets of data .
Each set is represented by a circle. The degree of overlap between the sets is depicted by the measure of overlap between the circles .
A Venn diagram is a good choice when you want to convey either the coarse factors or the differences between distinct groups .

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Using Venn Diagrams: An Example

figure 9 shows sales at Perfect Printing. There are three merchandise lines : stationery printing, newsletter print, and customized promotional items, such as mugs .

Figure 9: Example of a Venn Diagram

Graphs and Charts

By separating out the customers by the type of product that they buy, it becomes clear that the biggest group of customers ( 55 percentage of the total ) are those buying stationery printing .
But, most stationery customers are only using Perfect Printing for stationery ( 40 percentage ). They may not realize that Perfect Printing could besides print their company newsletters and promotional items. Perfect Printing could consider some selling bodily process to promote these merchandise lines to its stationery customers .
newsletter customers, on the other hand, seem to be well aware that the ship’s company besides offers stationery print and promotional items – 23 percentage of newsletter printing customers besides buy other products .


Try creating a few case charts using Excel, Google Sheets or other chart-making software. Get comfortable entering data and creating the charts thus that when you need to create one for real, you are well prepared.

Key Points

Charts and graph avail to express complex data in a simple format. They can add value to your presentations and meetings, improving the clearness and potency of your message .
There are many graph and graph formats to choose from. To select the veracious type, it ‘s useful to understand how each one is created, and what type of information it is used for. Are you trying to highlight a course ? Do you want to show the overlap of data sets, or display your data as a share ?
When you ‘re clear about the particular type of data that each graph or graph can be used with, you ‘ll be able to choose the matchless that best supports your compass point .