Chart Types and their Uses

Overview of Chart Types and their Uses | Area Chart | Column/Bar Chart | Segmented Column/Bar Chart | Frequency Polygon and Histograms | Line Chart | Pie Chart | Scatterplot

Overview of Chart Types and their Uses

Chart Type

PIG  

Typical Applications

Variants, Remarks

Area

Yes

Cumulated totals (numbers or percentages) over time

Percentage, Cumulative

Column/Bar

Yes

Observations over time or under different conditions; data sets must be small

Vertical (columns), horizontal (bars); multiple columns/bars, columns/bars centered at zero

Segmented Column/Bar

Yes

Proportional relationships over time

May be scaled to 100%

Frequency Polygon

No

Discrete frequency distribution

 

Histogram

No

Discrete frequency distribution

Columns/bars without gaps

Line, Curve

Yes

Trends, functional relations

Data point connected by lines or higher order curves

Pie

Yes

Proportional relationships at a point in time

Segments may be pulled out of the the pie for emphasis (exploded pie chart)

Scatterplot

No

Distribution of data points along one or two dimensions

One-dimensional, two-dimensional

Map

No

Typically used for geographical data; can also be used for parts of devices, human or animal bodies

Useful, if an analog relation can be used for representing data

The column PIG indicates whether the respective charts types are available as Portable Interactive Graphics.

 

Area Chart

Area chart

Figure 1: Area chart

Use it to...

Variants

 

Column/Bar Chart

Use it to...

Do not Use it for...

Selecting Bars or Columns

Variants

Multiple column chart

side-by-side chart

Figure 2: Multiple column chart (left), side-by-side chart (right)

 

Segmented Column/Bar Chart

Other Names: Divided or stacked column/bar chart

Segmented column chart (relative values)

Figure 3: Segmented column chart (relative values)

Use it to...

Segmented column/bar charts are more accurate than pie chart, because distances can be more accurately estimated than areas.

 

Frequency Polygon, Histograms

Histogrm as frequency ditribution

Figure 4: Histogram as frequency distribution

Variants

 

Line Chart

Line chart

Figure 5: Line chart

Use it...

Line graphs may consist of line or curved segments:

Do not Use it...

Variants

 

Pie Chart

Pie chart

Figure 6: Pie chart

Use it to...

Do not Use it ...

Caution!

 

Scatterplot

One-dimensional scatterplot

two-dimensional  scatterplot

Figure 7: One-dimensional scatterplot (left), two-dimensional scatterplot (right)

Variants

  1. One-dimensional scatterplot: Data point are drawn above a baseline (as in column/bar charts). Here the data points are not connected but remain isolated data points.
  2. Two-dimensional scatter plot: Shows correlation between two data sets. This chart type has two dependent variables: One is plotted along the X axis, the other along the Y axis; the independent variable is the intersection of both dependent variables, realized as a data point in the diagram.

Use it to...

Do not Use it for...

 

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Source:  Recommendations for Charts and Graphics

 

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 Source:  Recommendations for Charts and Graphics