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Using Charts Effectively

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

Why Use a Chart?


Adding charts to your research paper or PowerPoint presentation helps you succinctly communicate new information or interrelated information. You have heard the adage that a picture is worth a thousand words. A chart of graph can summarize a complex topic or a large amount of data and give emphasis to your analysis.


Which is easier to comprehend-- the Excel spreadsheet or the bar chart shown below?


Number of international students in the U.S.
 in the academic year 2017/18, by institution type

Doctorate-granting universities


Master's colleges and universities


Associate's colleges


Baccalaureate colleges


Special focus institutions


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