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How to Use Bar Chart to Compare Data Effectively

> Chart Knowledge > How to Use Bar Chart to Compare Data Effectively
Posted by James Freeman | 11/29/2019
This article will show you how to use a bar chart to compare data effectively. Simply follow the suggestions to start your own work!

A bar chart is one of the common types of charts for analyzing data groups. Bar types are ideal for comparing concepts and percentages among multiple data sets. You can decide different meanings for your respondents, like annual or quarterly data. How can you create a bar chart effectively? Check this how-to article here.

Choose Your Bar Chart Type

You can start creation by using well-designed and fully editable bar chart templates even without any advanced drawing skills. You can select from 2D, 3D, cylinder, stacked or 100% stacked bar charts. The key point is you should choose the type that best presents your data.

Simple or Non-Stacked Bar Chart

Simple or non-stacked bar charts are the most common type of the bar chart category. It is shown in horizontal forms, and is very helpful to present a set of data over a period such as quarterly sales or annual statistics. Readers can easily track the growth of data over a certain time and analyze the comparisons between different data groups. Groups of data are usually in different colors for readers to distinguish. The adequate space for the long bar length along the horizontal axis is good for categories with long titles.

2d bar charts samples

3d bar chart images


Stacked Bar Chart

Sometimes it could be impractical to include all the comparisons only in a simple or non-stacked bar chart type. The stacked type can convey more data details for different categories than the traditional non-stacked types. Readers can find the development and values of dominant groups, and the trends for sub-groups for each category in a stacked bar chart. The overall length of a bar indicates the total size of a data category, and the various colors or markers are used for showing the percentages or numerical values of different sub-categories. The 100% bar chart type is shown in percentages.

2d and 3d stacked bar charts

cylinder bar chart

Understand Your Bar Chart Elements

Each bar chart has a series of important elements. You should understand their meaning before creating your own ones. Check the bar chart below as an example for you to understand different key elements.

  • Chart Title: This is where you show the main idea or topic of your bar chart to readers. The title should not be too long.
  • Data Labels: These are elements in numerical or percentage formats to show specific details for every single bar.
  • Single Bar: This is the very basic unit for forming a single bar chart. You can also add 2 to 3 single bars next to each dominant bar as sub-groups.
  • Horizontal Axis: This is also known as the X axis. You can present data or values on it.
  • Vertical Axis: This is also the Y axis. You can insert different group names on it.
  • Axis Categories: This part is where to decide your categories types and names. You should not put any numerical values here.
  • Axis Title: This part explains the meaning for the numbers on the X axis.
  • Legend: This is where you insert the labels for each of your data groups within one single bar.

bar chart edtails

Edit Your Bar Chart Structure

You can design or edit your bar charts elements with the easy point-and-click editor. This step assists you with easy modifications. You can insert data from your local files, add or delete a category, set numbers for data series, and decide your own appearance options. All of your values should be presented with not too many data categories, series numbers or data labels.

bar charts editor

You can also set Data Label Positions, Data Precision, Format, Category Interval, Axis Tick Numbers and Axis Label Orientations. Make sure that you set suitable data precision and category interval for your data.

appearance options

Edit or Add Additional Texts and Numbers

Adding more data values or texts are very useful and even necessary if you have large data sets. The key thing is you should always sort all of your values in clear order so readers can easily track your data. Inserting new values are simple, just refer to these tips.

  • 1: Left click the small icon and the Chart table will be shown.
  • 2: Type in your text or numbers on the Chart table. The corresponding texts, numbers and chart element details will be changed simultaneously.
  • Reminder: You can also load or export your own data tables.

edit bar chart details

More Free Bar Chart Templates

The following free chart examples and templates includes the main categories of charts for business and educational uses. Feel free to click on any of them to see more details.

doughout bar chart infographic bar chart items comparison chart
Doughnut Bar Chart Infographic Bar Charts Template Items Comparison Bar

Chart Software Recommendation

The Edraw chart maker provides a very easy way to make column, bar, pie, line, area, scatter, spider and gauges charts. It also contains built-in chart templates to helps you create many visually appealing charts and graphs whin just a few minutes. Furthermore, you can import data from local files, or one click set the category and series number, show or hide legend and axis, change the axis tick number and category interval etc.

chart maker user interface

Find More

Top 10 Types of Charts and Their Uses

Difference Between Line Chart and Scatter Chart

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How to Choose the Right Chart - A Complete Chart Comparison

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