Bar Chart Definition


Categorical data is a grouping of data into discrete groups, such as months of the year, age group, shoe sizes, and animals. In a column bar chart, categories appear along the horizontal axis and the height of the bar corresponds to the value of each category. On a vertical bar graph, as shown above, the horizontal axis (or x-axis) shows the data categories. A histogram is a type of chart that often resembles a bar graph. However, unlike a bar graph, which represents the relationship between two different variables, a histogram represents only a single, continuous variable. In a histogram, the range of values is divided into a series of intervals, known as “bins” or “buckets,” which are labeled on the chart’s x-axis.

vertical bar graphs
stacked bar chart

These s are often used in quality control to identify the areas with the most problems. To help investigate temporal changes in clone frequencies, trap samples were subdivided into time periods and the proportions of each clone plotted on a bar chart (fig. 3). Each segment of the bar chart represents the numbers of each distinct family of lineages, including those lineages that go extinct. If you prefer the bars to be displayed horizontally, right-click in the visualization and select Horizontal Bars from the pop-up menu. Another way to get a similar appearance is to add the column Category to the category axis to create a hierarchy on that axis.

What is a Bar Chart?

Similarly, you should avoid including 3-d effects on your bars. As with heavy rounding, this can make it harder to know how to measure bar lengths, and as a bonus, might cause baselines to not be aligned . But when you have continuous data (such as a person’s height) then use a Histogram.

  • The color can indicate whether the species is threatened or not.
  • The most common type of bar graph is the vertical bar graph.
  • We will take the problem statement and see how the graphs can represent the data given there.
  • A bar diagram makes it easy to compare sets of data between different groups at a glance.
  • They can be as simple, in some cases, as two bars, such as a graph representing the vote totals of two competing political candidates.
  • Initially, the bar chart got made with pen and paper, but nowadays, you can use online tools.

His later books drew heavily from experiences and people he encountered at the bar, including the cruel captain in The Sea-Wolf. Try it now It only takes a few minutes to setup and you can cancel any time. It is best to leave gaps between the bars of a Bar Graph, so it doesn’t look like a Histogram.

The y-axis allows users to measure the height of the bars against specific levels of value inscribed on it. Bar graphs are commonly used in business and financial analysis to display often complicated data. In the financial industry, a volume chart is a commonly used vertical bar graph.

A graph is a chart that uses bars to show comparisons between categories of data. Bar graphs with vertical bars are sometimes called vertical bar graphs. One axis will describe the types of categories being compared, and the other will have numerical values that represent the values of the data. It does not matter which axis is which, but it will determine what bar graph is shown. If the descriptions are on the horizontal axis, the bars will be oriented vertically, and if the values are along the horizontal axis, the bars will be oriented horizontally.

However, with horizontal graphs, the same theory gets applied, but the difference is that the height becomes length while measuring. They are generally useful in case of more than five categories and when a vertical graph cannot accurately represent the data. The data has a small number of discrete categories, with a single value for each category. Where there are multiple values per category, the variables such as small multiples, cluster column charts, and stacked column charts, shown above, are superior. One disadvantage of vertical bar graphs is that they don’t leave much room at the bottom of the chart if long labels are required.

Use the given graph to find out the topping most liked by the students.

Ordinal variables follow an order, i.e. a natural progression. They are also called sequential variables because their subcategories have a natural sequence. To create a horizontal barchart, first choose an appropriate scale based on the data values.


However, unlike a bar chart, these data relate to a single continuous variable, the former being for two different variables. When in doubt, plot your data both ways and compare side by side to judge which will be the easiest for your audience to consume. These variables can be arranged in any order on the graph. In general, it is recommended to sort them so that the most interesting item is displayed first. On the other hand, if the variables to be displayed are ordinal, it is preferable to use a vertical column diagram.

Why are bar charts important to understand?

Older children may be asked to investigate opinions about something, for example school dinners or school uniform. Children then record the information they find using a tally chart. If the security closed higher than it opened, then the body of the candle is unfilled, with the opening price at the bottom of the body and the closing price at the top. But if the security closed lower than it opened, the body is solid or filled, with the opening price at the top and the closing price at the bottom. Generally speaking, thelonger the candle’s body, the more intense the trading. Just a few seconds’ perusal of the chart will tell you that over the given timeframe, overall revenues rose steadily, with one slight dip between April and May.

The most immediately noticeable difference between a bar graph and a histogram is that the bars in a bar graph typically don’t touch each other . A histogram is a type of bar graph where the bars have no gaps between them. The x-axis of a bar graph is the bottom or horizontal axis. The concept of divided bar graph is similar to that of a pie chart. Even though a bar chart can skillfully represent data, but there are a few limitations to its practical application. Inter-relation refers to the relation of a part to the whole of the group.

A grouped bar graph will have two independent variables, such as location and year. The data for each year will be grouped under one location heading. The different year’s data is usually color-coded for easy viewing. Business leaders not only need to know how to use bar charts, they also need to know when other people are using them improperly.

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Complex bar graphs compare data with two independent variables. Either type of graph can be oriented horizontally or vertically. The length of these bars is proportional to the values they represent. The vertical axis represents the categories being compared, while the horizontal axis represents a value. The easiest way to create a bar graph is to use the Charts tool in Microsoft Excel. This tool allows you to transform spreadsheet data into a simple chart, which you can then customize by adding a title and labels and by changing the chart style and column colors.

Bar Graph

This bar chart shows each department’s overheads in the last 12 months. They need to work out whether the numbers on the vertical axis are going to go up in 2s, 5s or 10s and position the numbers correctly. They then need to look at their numbers and make sure their vertical axis goes up as high as the biggest number.

The overall relationship of the data is illustrated using the y-axis and the x-axis .

A bar diagram makes it easy to compare sets of data between different groups at a glance. A pair of histograms, the second one indicating how an increasing number of columns leads to the concept of a distribution curve. It is also possible to indicate a first reading by the bar length and a second reading by the bar color.

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The y-axis, when the bins are evenly spaced, measures the frequency of the given values. Histograms can be used to produce models of probability and to estimate the likelihood of certain outcomes. Alternatively called a bar graph, a bar chart is a graphic representation of data. Bar charts show horizontal or vertical bars going across the chart horizontally, with the values displayed on the bottom of the chart. Below is a sample picture of a bar chart of unique views Computer Hope received between the years of 2005 and 2013. In this chart all important parts that make up the chart are also labeled.

Examples of Bar Graphs

A Complete Guide to Funnel Charts Funnel charts are specialized charts for showing the flow of users through a process. Learn how to best use this chart type by reading this article. JMP links dynamic data visualization with powerful statistics. But, suppose that the candy company requires that every bag have at least 18 pieces of each flavor.

They’re used to present data, or a concept involving data, in a visual way. This can make it easier for people to quickly understand the meaning of the data. In addition, presenting data graphically rather than through text or the spoken word can be an efficient and faster way to communicate.

Bar charts and types of data

While comparing the data for a group of categories, it is best to use the clustered bar chart. But there is a significant difference between these two forms of graphical data representations. This option is grayed out if the ‘Group By properties’ field on the ‘Chart Details | Details’ page has no value. The Chart then displays as a simple column or horizontal bar for each object.

pieces of candy

By changing the aesthetic form of the values, it can make the chart much easier to read. Alternatively, you may wish to depict variance within each category with a different chart type such as the box plot or violin plot. While these plots will have more elements for a reader to parse, they provide a deeper understanding of the distribution of values within each group. These are just a few of the many ways to add groups to bar charts. For your data, you need to think about the message to your audience and how to build the best graph for that message. A bar chart shows the counts of values for levels of a categorical or nominal variable.