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Using Charts Effectively

This guide is a general overview of creating and using charts including best practices in chart design.

What Type of Chart Should I Choose?

There are seven basic types of charts and each has a unique purpose:

  • Pie chart – for illustrating a proportional relationship between a segment and a whole.















  • Bar Graph – for comparing the size or magnitude of a group of items; these can be vertical or horizontal, and can also be clustered or stacked to show differences between samples. 

  • Histogram – for comparing the distribution of a set of data across a scale (e.g. time, elevation, monetary value).

  • Line chart – for plotting a trend in data.

  • Area chart – for comparing changes in quantities over time.

  • Dot chart (or scatter plot) – for showing whether a relationship between two variables follows an expected pattern. 

  • Gantt Chart or Timeline – for communicating incremental data, usually related to time/duration, or showing the relationship of events to each other across a time scale. 

All chart examples used on this page are from: 
Lile, S. (2018). 44 Types of Graphs Perfect for Every Top Industry. Retrieved May 24, 2019, from Visual Learning Center by Visme website:
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