Bar and column charts

Bar charts are widely used charts that let users compare discrete values associated to different categories or show how a value is distributed. Bar charts can either rely on vertical or horizontal bars.

Recommended for

  • Compare values of different categories (Bar plots)
  • Show how a given value is distributed (Histogram)
  • Show how parts of a whole compare to each other (Stacked)

Do / Don't

In case of a comparison, order the bars in an ascending or descending order to provide more meaning to your charts.

Bear in mind that charts are not decorative. Don’t use multiple colors to show the same metric.

Use square bars for easy reading and accurate measurement.

Don’t use round edges on bar charts. It may decrease readability and lead to accuracy errors.

Mind the length of labels to optimize readability: use horizontal bar plots when labels are quite long.

Try to put enough spacing between labels or use standard abbreviations for labels to facilitate reading.