Having knowledge about the types of charts that exist, understanding their functions and knowing in what context you should use each one, is what you must achieve to get the best out of each type of chart and its features .
Regardless of the size of your company or how you manage it, you will always need to make use of the different types of charts, since with them you will be able to improve the order and presentation of your data, as well as reduce the risk of losing important information.
But, knowing which types of charts are capable of understanding and analyzing research data, as well as showing the variability of these data, is not enough when using them.
So, if you already know what graphs are and remember that they are divided into three different categories (Cartesian, geometric and cartograms), the next step is to analyze what are the best types of graphs and learn how to use them.
let’s get started!
1. Bar chart
In this type of charts, also called column charts, bars are used on two Cartesian axes to indicate different values or quantities, which are able to adapt to any context.
So, the bar chart is undoubtedly one of the most famous and used types of graphs to represent data, since they are very easy to read and also to elaborate .
But… Why is this one of the easiest types of graph to make? simple! It is all thanks to its two-dimensional nature, which only requires two variables to be combined and, in turn, allows the margin of error to be smaller.
In the bar chart, a name is assigned to each of the axes. The values on the X-axis are those that appear on the horizontal line and the Y-axis determines how “high” the column will be.
In short, both are important, but the main focus of attention will be on the Y-axis because the upper end of the bar is the point that indicates the value data to be represented or analyzed.
There is no doubt that this type of statistical graph will be of great help to you, therefore, if you want to know which are the steps to design it, we indicate them below:
Propose a situation or topic you want to show.
Identify the data and variables.
Determine which data should be placed on the X-axis and which on the Y-axis.
Draw a bar on the X-axis and, regardless of the thickness, take it to the corresponding value, represented by the Y-axis.
2. Line chart
Among all the types of graphs that exist, the line graph is one of the most useful because it allows you to analyze and understand how a variable changes over time .
Unlike the bar chart, in which only the precise X-axis data is displayed on the Y-axis, and a point is placed on each X-axis, in line charts the points will vary on each X-axis, and then are joined with straight lines to show us the increase, decrease or equality from one axis to the next.
So, there is no doubt that the line variant is one of the best types of statistical graphs to know how a sequence of data varies, to analyze it correctly or to observe its trends.
For example, this type of graph can be used to visualize the amount of money grossed by science fiction movies over a given period. Each X-axis would be the year, and the Y-axis the amount of money raised
Therefore, with the line graph it is possible to determine whether the trend of the films‘ grosses is stable, increasing or decreasing, as well as to understand the changes of the phenomenon and make future decisions.
In short, this type of graph is very useful to put into practice in any situation and, if you want to create it, try to follow these steps :
Place the information you want to analyze on the X-axis and Y-axis .
Draw a sequence of points in each sector where both axes join.
Join, in an orderly and neat way, each point placed with a straight line until the graph is completed.
3. Pie Chart
The pie chart is one of the easiest types of graphs to remember because it is a simple circumference, divided into different spaces, which is also known as a pie, pie, pie, pie or pie chart.
The purpose of the pie chart is very simple: it is used when you already know the value or absolute amount of what you are measuring, but you need to know how many parts the total is divided into.
On the other hand, you should know that this type of graph to represent data has a geometric style, easy to design with any program, and always stands out for its visual simplicity.
For example, if you are interested in politics, you can see how the pie chart is used to determine from a total number of votes, how much of the electorate voted for each party and/or candidate.
And in case you want to create a pie chart, remember to follow this procedure:
Get the total of your data sets and the percentage of each element you want to visualize.
Make a circle and place the percentages occupied by each element to be measured proportionally, i.e. 50% should be half of the pie chart, 25% should be ¼ of the circle, etc.
that’s it! In just two steps you will already be able to represent the phenomenon to be analyzed in the pie chart
4. Scatter plot
Now, we have already analyzed some examples of simple types of graphs, therefore, it is time to know some more complex ones, which are more useful for collecting data in specific cases, as is the case with the scatter plot.
In simple words, the scatter plot represents, in the form of points, the data obtained through observation, to then compare them with certain trends.
That is, this type of graph, also known as XY graph, is used in cases of ordered pairs, in order to know the type of relationship established between variables.
For example, you can use a scatter plot to check the quality control of a product that you have had for a certain period of time in your company and find out how this variant behaves with respect to a standard that you consider normal.
So, to design a scatter plot, remember to complete the following procedure :
Plot the X-axis and Y-axis, with their respective values.
Place the tie points in the appropriate areas of the graph .
Draw a straight line, passing through the zero point of the graph. That is, between the X-axis and the Y-axis.
Finally, if you want to design this type of graph, you should use some kind of data analysis tool such as, for example, Excel.
And in case you have access to the program but don’t know how to make graphs in Excel, we recommend you to strengthen your knowledge with the help of our Excel payroll template.
5. Stacked area chart
If you want to compare total magnitudes and show the distribution of a known total , the stacked area chart is the best option.
In this type of chart you can achieve both actions simultaneously, representing the distribution in a rectangle instead of a circle. That is, it is the combination of the bar chart and the pie chart.
Of the types of graphs used in statistics, this one is used to visualize, for example, the monthly or annual sales of a product or service.
Finally, if you want to recreate this type of graph to represent data, you simply create a bar chart and, in each one, divide the spaces with the same technique you use in a pie chart.
6. Clustered bar chart
As the name implies, this type of chart uses a single bar chart to represent several aspects of a topic at once, i.e. for each “x” value there are several “y” values.
The important thing, in this case, is to understand that the grouped bar chart should be organized with different colors so that one variable can be easily distinguished from another.
In addition, another point to keep in mind is that in these types of statistical graphs the total of the categories is not adequately perceived.
In conclusion, it is a graph that is used, for example, to record the number of women and men living in a specific territory and thus decide where you should direct your sales strategies.
So, if you want to create one to put the above into practice, you must follow the same procedure used to create a traditional bar chart, with the addition of one more value for each data you place on the Y-axis.
7. Pyramid chart
The pyramid chart, also known as a population chart, is the representation of the characteristics of a city or country’s population at a given time.
In other words, this type of graph represents your data set with horizontal bars: the length of each bar has a directly proportional relationship to the number of people in a population.
As the variable goes up (age), the frequency goes down, making the graph pyramid-shaped. Therefore, it is one of the most common types of graphs to show the results of population censuses.
And if we focus on analyzing its design, you will easily notice that it has the Y-axis located in the center of the graph, unlike other traditional graph shapes that place it on the left margin.
Therefore, if you want to create a pyramid type of chart, in addition to respecting this particularity of its design, you should also place the bars in a horizontal format. that is, with their base on the Y-axis.
have you heard the word histogram? Well, it is one of the most used types of graphs in statistics because they are very reliable and important.
Although it may seem very similar to the type of bar chart, since bars are used to indicate by means of Cartesian axes the frequency of certain values, in this case it seeks to reflect an entire interval.
That is, in the histogram it is possible to observe ranges of values, which could also represent intervals of different lengths. Thus, it allows to show the dispersion of a continuum of values, which also helps to infer the probability.
Finally, these types of statistical graphs, which have a design similar to that of a bar chart but without separation between them, are generally used to represent data of continuous variables, for example, time.
Finally, remember that if you download an example histogram in Excel you can make your own analysis with the data you prefer.
The cartogram is a type of graphical representation very different from the others, since it is made on maps. That is, different marks or references are used to show the results of a certain event or situation.
These types of graphs are commonly used in the field of epidemiology, since they indicate the geographical areas in which there is a greater or lesser frequency of a variable.
On the other hand, the frequencies in the cartogram are represented by a color or size to measure the behaviors of the data evaluated in both aspects.
For example, a cartogram is perfect to be applied in maps that show the number of active cases of coronavirus in a locality or the presidential election vote according to states.
So, even though it requires a great deal of effort, to implement this type of graph and its functions, you will need to make a geographical cutout that includes the area to be analyzed and divide it into sectors.
10. Fluctuation chart
The fluctuation graph is used to represent magnitudes, the changes they have had and their eventual modification. That is, the length of the line is what visualizes that fluctuation.
And, as expected, this type of graph is mostly used to plot fluctuations in the economic market or those that happen within a digital marketing campaign, for example.
Anyway, it is one of the most common chart types and, to your surprise, you can create it in simple steps :
Plot on the X-axis information about the time period you want to analyze.
Draw two Y-axes: one with the main data and the other to mark the degree of incidence, determined from a standard measurement.
Mark, with a line or dots, the junction between both axes.
11. Bullet graph
The bullet chart is very similar to the bar chart in terms of the type of utility it has, however, its representation is different because it is organized into two types of measurement (characteristic and comparative) within the same chart.
In simple words, its success is due to the fact that with this type of graph you get a better view of the points of comparison between two or more values, so it is regularly used to compare variables.
So, of all the types of graphs we have mentioned, this is the one that best reflects the relationship between the different variables of analysis of a study and, similarly, it is also ideal to apply in an investigation on what were the objectives of a company and see how much they were met.
On the other hand, it is also important to note that, according to Tableau, of all the different types of graphs that exist, “the bullet graph is the one that allows you to analyze the performance of a project more quickly, without the need to go so deep into the data”.
To make this clearer, let’s think of an example of this type of graph, in which a company analyzes, with the bullet graph, what was the performance of its different sales segments during the last quarter of the year.
Therefore, using a combination of two colors, the company can use this type of statistical graph to easily see which were the months in which the objectives were met, and in which they were not.
12. Highlight chart or heat map
Known as a highlight table, or heat map, this is one of the most commonly used types of graphs to measure the performance of each market segment.
What happens is that, thanks to the use of colors, it quickly attracts the attention of the audience and allows the most important variables for the growth of a business to be known quickly.
If, for example, you use the highlight chart to measure which branches of a business generate the most sales over a period of time, you can optimize the use of resources and invest in the most effective distribution channels. that’s why it’s one of the types of charts that sales analysts like the most!
Anyway, to give you a better understanding, below we share with you an example of a type of highlight chart graph in which the sales of different product categories of a company over the course of a year are analyzed.
As you can see in the image, the use of different shades of color allows you to recognize at a glance which months and product category generated the most revenue per sale.
And finally, you should also know that using this type of graphs is very simple, since you only have to organize the data and classify them by color according to the company’s objectives.
13. Tree map
The tree map is a type of hierarchical chart, which allows you to understand what are the most important elements of a project or business in an attractive and dynamic format.
But… Why does it have these benefits? simple! The graphical representation of the tree map is very attractive because it classifies the variables in a rectangle format and gives them a size proportional to their relationship with the complete set of variables.
On the other hand, it is also essential to mention that this type of tree charts is often used for many purposes. It is even possible to use it for finance and even in learning how to invest in cryptocurrencies.
Anyway, to show you how the treemap looks like, below we share an image in which you can see how the cryptocurrency page,Coin360, uses a heat map to show cryptocurrency market capitalization and rank all crypto based on their hierarchy.
Finally, remember that one of the best ways to use this type of graphs to represent data is to classify the variables and use a color to distinguish each category.
In the case of the example we show you, the classification depends on the type of blockchain network they belong to, and the color indicates whether the trend of the coin is down or up.
14. Box and whiskers diagram
Although its name is very different compared to all the others, the box and whiskers diagram is one of the most important types of charts out there for distributing data and displaying it more accurately.
While it is one of the most common types of graphs among statisticians, as it reflects the median information along with its first and third quartiles, it is also very useful for analyzing outliers within any kind of analysis.
And, so that there are no doubts or concerns about its name, you should know that it is called box and whiskers diagram because, in addition to the median and quartiles values, it includes some lines (whiskers) that reflect the minimum and maximum values of each segment.
Finally, keep in mind that this type of statistical graphs are more specialized, so it can be difficult to understand for those people who do not have the necessary notions and knowledge.
15. Candlestick chart
As is the case with the treemap, this type of chart is often used in the financial field, mainly with regard to investments in stocks, bonds, or any other asset.
Generally, candlestick charts are very efficient for studying the financial behavior of a product over time. For example, it is perfect for analyzing the performance of a company’s stock.
On the other hand, it also stands out among all types of charts because it has a very easy to understand format, reflecting the opening, closing, high and low values of a financial product over a period of time.
Overall, the candles of this type of charts give us an idea of what has been the value trend of a product, such as, for example, Apple shares.
Although we have mentioned different types of charts in all the previous paragraphs, none of them have points in common with the main characteristics of the pictogram.
That is, the main difference between this type of graph and the others is that a pictogram does not use bars, but rather figures, such as icons or images, which are proportional to the frequency to be evaluated.
Then, the figures are placed on both axes with the aim of recording informal data, which are capable of attracting attention and pleasing to the eye of the person who analyzes them.
In conclusion, the pictogram is perfect to apply in very particular cases, since it is a type of graph that prioritizes its appearance over the accuracy of the data.
For example, using a graph of these characteristics to analyze the data of a production line is a bad option, but it can be very useful to measure the degree of employee satisfaction with a company, for example.
Source: Fast Voice Media
17. Arc diagrams
Judging by its image, we can quickly come to the conclusion that arc diagrams are not positioned among the top 10 most used chart types, but it is very important to fulfill specific functions.
Required to collect data on voting, preferences or to count the point of view of a group of people in the face of multiple debates, this type of graph includes multiple arcs that move along the X-axis .
And, once the arc plot is drawn, it is divided into equal parts. the objective is to place a percentage in each section, similar to what happens with a pie chart, which allows the results to be analyzed without major difficulties.
Source: Research Gate
18. Spider chart
The spider graph, as its name suggests, is a type of graph designed with a series of “equiangular rays”, joined together, which modify their angle and extension based on the data to be highlighted.
In other words, it is a very particular graphic form, usually used to compare two or more multiple quantitative values, located at the same distance from a central point.
So, if you want to use it to evaluate which were the most consumed drinks at an event, for example, you should place all the values in circumference .
Subsequently, when loading the results obtained on this type of graph, the most extensive rays, i.e., those that are farthest away from the central pointand form an acute angle, will be those that represent the most consumed beverage.
And, on the contrary, the shortest rays, designed with obtuse or flat angles, are those closest to the central point, and therefore, will represent the least chosen beverage.
19. Gauge chart
The gauge plot is a type of statistical plot with a format very similar to arc diagrams. however, in this case the arc plot is complemented by a radial gauge .
In simple words, it is a graph that is primarily used to represent a set of data that are within an acceptable range and, in turn, differentiate them from each other.
Then, through the gauge or needle, this type of graph allows to interpret, in a simple, progressive and immediate way, what were the results of a comparison where there are only two types of values at stake .
In short, the gauge chart can be applied in multiple scenarios. but, if chosen for a company, it can be useful to compare current values with target values and analyze the distance between the two.
20. Funnel chart
Last but not least, another type of chart you should implement in your company is the funnel chart, which is also known as an inverted pyramid .
Although we have mentioned different types of charts with complicated designs to imagine, in this case everything is said: the data to be analyzed will be divided into different segments that, together, will form a funnel.
The objective is to be able to analyze the values in gradually decreasing proportions, represented in percentages. Then, at the widest part of the funnel, the data with the highest percentage should be placed and, at the other end, the data identified with the smallest percentage .
Thanks to its power of adaptation to analyze all types of information, as well as the simplicity of its design, the funnel chart type is ideal for analyzing marketing data and sorting them into different categories or segments, and then analyze them without major difficulties.
If you have read the article in its entirety and have paid attention to the images of the 20 most important chart types, you will probably understand the benefits of incorporating them in your company.
Sometimes, presenting a type of analysis to a certain group or trying to get the point of view of all the members of a work team can be complex. But if you know how to put that information on the different types of graphs, the process will be much easier .